Case Studies

Avalon Laurel – AvalonBay Communities

Property investment with core values

Completed in December 2016, Avalon Laurel is a new construction garden apartment project in Laurel, Maryland. This luxury apartment complex features 344 units, offering one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Avalon Laurel is a project of AvalonBay Communities, an equity real estate investment trust (REIT) that maintains a longstanding track record of developing, redeveloping, acquiring and managing distinctive apartment homes in some of the best U.S. markets.

Avalon Laurel is a community comprised of 10 buildings that stand four stories tall and feature a wood-frame structure. Tenants have the option of choosing a one-, two- or three-bedroom unit that features a gourmet kitchen with quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances, as well as hard-surface plank flooring in kitchens and select living/ dining areas. Select apartments contain spacious walk-in closets, attached garages and private balconies. The community also offers two-bedroom townhouses.

With amenities that include — but are not limited to — a standalone clubhouse, state-of-the-art fitness center, resident lounge and game room and direct access garage parking, Avalon Laurel elevates the lifestyles of its occupants and offers easy access to the Capital Beltway, downtown Washington, D.C., downtown Baltimore and Montgomery County.

Getting the job done

Developing a community such as Avalon Laurel does not come without its challenges. Brian Packard of AvalonBay says that one of the obstacles presented in the construction of the community included site work. “There was a lot of clay on-site,” he shares. “We’ve had to manipulate the soil so we could achieve compaction for the roads. Also, although the site consists of 11 acres, the amount of people involved in construction made the site seem smaller than it actually is.”

While many general contractors have experienced a recent shortage in manpower, AvalonBay has been able to establish strong partnerships with subcontractors over the years, enabling the company to utilize the finest technicians and tradesmen for high-profile projects such as Avalon Laurel. “We’ve attracted some very good trade partners,” Packard elaborates. “We’re able to command their attention and really get what we need.”

With many agencies involved in the project and its location, AvalonBay experienced a lengthy process in obtaining permits from the state highway association. “The road that Avalon Laurel is on contains a portion that is maintained by the state highway,” Packard explains. “We had to obtain an access permit to get water to the site, as well as an access permit to widen the road at the entrance to the community. There weren’t any issues obtaining the permits, but it felt good to finally achieve them and begin construction.”

Acting as a general contractor during the construction phase of the community, AvalonBay did not self-perform any labor on the project, but did have several employees on-site managing the day-to-day operations. With its strong network of subcontractors, Avalon Bay still receives a minimum of three bids for every trade and remains selective. “Scheduling, quality, price and safety record all come into play when selecting who we partner with,” says Packard. “We tend to favor the folks that we have worked in the past, but we are always looking for new partners as well.”

A passion for the industry

Packard has been with Avalon Bay for 17 years. Starting with the company as an accountant, he always knew he wanted to go back into the construction field. With a background in the industry, working numerous construction jobs in high school, Packard studied accounting at the University of West Virginia. “I’ve always had a passion for the construction industry,” he says. “After two years as an accountant with AvalonBay I made the transition to that side of the business and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

AvalonBay began as Avalon Properties in 1990 and became a publicly traded firm in 1995. In 1998, the company merged with Bay Apartment Communities Inc. and became AvalonBay Communities.

As an REIT, AvalonBay owns and invests for the long term, allowing the company to consider the full life-cycle impact of its decisions. As an integrated company with more than 3,000 employees, AvalonBay manages divisions such as in-house development, construction management, property management and finance capabilities. The company’s culture remains grounded in its core values

Published on: September 13, 2016

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