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Multifamily developer expands to commercial projects

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Dive Brief:

  • Responding to the surging demand for warehouse, logistics and distribution space across the U.S., Scottsdale, Arizona-based Alliance Residential Company has launched a new commercial-focused platform.
  • The company expects to use the same approach to building the industrial platform as it did its residential model, founded in 2001 and now operating in 26 cities. It will recruit experts who know the industrial development marketplace in their specific regions to grow the new company organically, CEO Cyrus Bahrami told Construction Dive.
  • The Alliance Industrial Company launch will afford the firm greater flexibility as it determines which land parcels to acquire. Because expansion of logistics and distribution often occurs in the same areas as residential growth, Alliance could choose to acquire parcels and subdivide them between residential and industrial, Bahrami said.

Dive Insight:

In the current hot housing market, it’s not unusual for commercial builders to tap into the growing demand for residential work, but Alliance is doing the opposite by moving from residential work into commercial. It’s no secret e-commerce as a percentage of national retail sales continues growing at a tremendous rate. According to eMarketer, e-commerce sales are expected to more than double from 11% in 2019 to 23.6% in 2025.

“There’s a huge demand for logistical warehouse and distribution space that backstops the e-commerce product,” Bahrami said. “That’s why we’re getting in.”

Screenshot 2021 07 19 8.00.41 Am

Cyrus Bahrami

Permission granted by Alliance Industrial Company

 

Alliance Residential is focused on the development, construction and acquisition of residential communities across 17 states and 33 metropolitan markets. Alliance develops high-end Broadstone multifamily communities, Holden senior housing communities, and workforce housing properties through its Prose brand.

Alliance Industrial will draw on the experience and expertise of its residential counterpart, where Bahrami will continue to serve as a senior partner. Bahrami plans to leverage the established company’s longstanding relationships and capital markets track record, along with its national infrastructure, to build the new commercial offering. 

There is “a huge synergy” of potential investment partners from the residential side that can be tapped for the new endeavor, Bahrami said, including partners that currently work with Alliance Residential. “The secret sauce of investing is investing with the right people,” he said. 

There are additional upsides to the warehouse sector, he added. For instance, industrial development is not as complex as is residential construction, Bahrami said. Up to 50 different trades may be involved in the multifamily workforce housing projects for which the company is known. By contrast, industrial projects typically require only eight to 12 trade partners.

In addition, Alliance Residential builds many of its apartment communities on the outskirts of fast-growing Sunbelt cities, where many warehouses and distribution centers are being developed.

“When we look at a parcel of land, we can look at it from both perspectives, multifamily and industrial,” Bahrami said.

For instance, the company might buy a parcel larger than would be required for either an apartment community or a warehouse, deciding after careful consideration to allocate 75% of the land to industrial and the remaining quarter to residential. “When you get more vertically integrated, you can do that,” Bahrami said, adding that its commercial projects will start in Texas, and then move to the Southwest and Southeast.

“Texas is an ideal market to launch and establish Alliance Industrial,” said Alliance Industrial managing director of Texas Chad Parrish said. “With the in-migration of population, major transportation and logistics hubs in the region, and a pro-business environment, Alliance Industrial looks to move quickly to meet the ever-increasing industrial demand.”

Challenges, opportunities

The new undertaking will not be without hurdles, Bahrami said, among them recruiting seasoned construction pros, an undertaking that will require time. “The beauty is we have a great platform with a terrific track record, and that appeals to the types of professionals we will be seeking,” he said. 

He added Alliance views industrial development as a hedge against less-than-ideal residential development conditions. Multifamily starts, affected by COVID-19 challenges, supply chain delays and material price increases, are down 12.5% year over year nationwide

What would Bahrami like to see the new platform achieve in the next half decade?

“I’d like to see us where we are on the residential side, in terms of rolling into a lot of geographic markets across the country,” he said. “We want to continue to grow on the residential side where it makes sense, and on the industrial side leverage off that residential growth. 

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