Hillwood expands multifamily division
Hillwood Properties, the Fort Worth, Texas-based development firm owned by Ross Perot Jr., revealed a long-term strategy Tuesday to grow its multifamily subsidiary, which focuses on investment and development. Hillwood, best known for its sprawling 17,000-acre mixed-used development in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, plans to build 3,000 multifamily units at the site over the next 10 years, said Mark McHenry, an industry veteran tapped to lead the the effort. The AllianceTexas development already has zoning in place for more than 5,000 units, Hillwood said, putting it in control of more than 50% of the multifamily entitlements in the North Fort Worth submarket. McHenry previously led the Southwest regional multifamily development for Atlanta-based Lane Co. His background includes leading regional multifamily development operations for public and private firms including JPI and United Dominion Realty Trust. He fills a position that had been vacant for awhile as a result of the housing downturn. Hillwood said the pace of new development activity and specific product types and amenities will be market-driven. It anticipates the potential to deliver a new phase of multifamily development every 12 to 18 months. The firm completed its first-ever multifamily project, Monterra Village, in 2008. The luxury townhome and apartment community was the first 100% smoke-free property in the DFW area. McHenry told HousingWire a 260-unit expansion of Monterra Village is planned, and another project is expected to break ground in about 12 months. Longer term, Hillwood said it may expand its multifamily initiatives in other markets. McHenry said that likely means entering other major Texas markets initially and then potentially into the nation's Southwest region. While it isn't looking for investment partners on its initial projects, the company may consider partnering with large institutional investors at a later date, McHenry said. Multifamily continues to heat up nationally. Fannie Mae issuance of securities backed by multifamily properties rose 45% in 2011, with the government-sponsored enterprise issuing $23.8 billion of MBS, up from $16.4 billion in 2010. The number of multifamily units completed in December rose 51.5% from the prior month and 47% from the year earlier although multifamily starts for December were down. Hillwood announced beefed up the multifamily division with additional staff. Stephanie Isham has joined the team as property manager for Monterra Village. Isham previously served in senior property manager roles with Lincoln Property Co. and Riverstone Residential Group. Christine Adeeb and Amy Perez, leasing consultants at Monterra Village, have been hired as full-time Hillwood associates. The company's Hillwood Communities residential division has delivered 8,000 single-family homes in the Alliance/North Fort Worth market. Hillwood Communities has 16 active single-family residential communities throughout the country and one in Costa Rica. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.