Trammell Crow Residential
Specialty: Land entitlement, development, construction, acquisition and sale of living units with ground-floor retail
With 18,000 starts projected in 2008, Trammell Crow is the country’s largest apartment builder.
That puts the company’s Puget Sound office in a somewhat unique position, because everyone else seems to be building condos.
“The apartment market tends to be less fickle,” said Sean G. Hyatt, Trammell Crow’s local managing director. “You’re always chasing trends if you’re trying to build condos at the cutting edge.”
The company is watching the condo market, but for now, it will stick with apartments.
There may soon be a surplus of condos in the region, Hyatt said — and there’s definitely an apartment shortage. One thing there’s not a shortage of, however, is developers.
Maybe Hyatt’s biggest challenge right now is the area’s popularity in the real estate market. The Urban Land Institute has ranked Seattle second for apartments — right behind Manhattan, Hyatt said.
And Dupree + Scott recently reported that there are 92 developers in the tri-county area developing apartment projects with 20 units or more.
“That’s a phenomenally deep pool of competition,” Hyatt said.
And it breeds a kind of gold rush mentality, especially from the national developers who come to town not knowing the market.
”There’s a ‘buy now, figure it out later’ mentality,” Hyatt said.
In such a crowded market, Hyatt distinguishes himself by his knowledge of the nuances — such as how to deal with design-review boards.
“Somebody from Texas doesn’t get how a group of five citizens can tell you what your project is going to look like,” Hyatt said.
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