Makowsky Ringel Greenberg LLC
In the ever-changing real estate world, where many buyers and developers constantly acquire and turn over properties to make a quick profit, Makowsky Ringel Greenberg LLC (MRG) has been a steadfast, integrated builder, trusted developer and property management firm in the Memphis, Tennessee, market fostering longstanding client relationships. “The majority of what we’re involved in is for the long term,” says Jim Ringel, chief operating officer and co-principal of MRG. “There are companies out there that buy a property and immediately sell it. Our ownership and involvement often spans 20, 30 and sometimes even 40 years and more than one generation, which creates a level of stability and trust in our firm’s capabilities and commitment. We’re not constantly putting things on and off the market — we have a stable, more consistent portfolio.”
Since 1967, when the firm was founded by Ringel’s father, Nick Ringel, and his partner Jerome Makowsky, MRG has been making its name in the multifamily-apartment market in greater Memphis. Formerly known as Professional Management Associates, MRG developed and renovated thousands of apartment units across Memphis and northern Mississippi before eventually expanding into other commercial real estate avenues.
In 2000, after years of growing the business from the ground up, the first generation owners of MRG stepped down, allowing the second generation to take the reins. As second generation, Ringel grew up working for MRG part time. “When I was in high school I did landscaping jobs and I cleaned pools at various properties,” he recounts. “In college, I was an assistant property manager. I went on to study advertising and got my MBA. I moved back to Memphis and joined full time — and now I’ve been with MRG for 25 years.” Today, Ringel oversees the company’s operations, along with his partners, Michael Greenberg, CEO, and Gary Makowsky, son of Jerome Makowsky and chief development officer of MRG.
Direct development involvement
Today MRG has a diversified portfolio that includes more than 1 million square feet of commercial properties. “We’re a highly vertically integrated firm — we manage properties and we put together ownership groups and we also develop multifamily and commercial properties from scratch,” says Ringel. “We started out in apartments and the multifamily market and that still makes up about 75 percent of what we do, but our commercial portfolio is growing.”
Soup to nuts, MRG handles all facets of development. “From concept development all the way through working with architects and construction — we have our own construction division, Makowsky Construction Company — and on to brokerage and facility management,” says Ringel. “We’re hands-on in all aspects of development and we’re very involved in the investments we make, even from a third-party management standpoint.”
MRG understands the real estate market is constantly changing; buyer and renter demand is never the same. This is why the company strives to respond to market opportunities in ways in which it can best serve the needs of investors and clients. “Through our brokerage and property management capabilities, we’ve developed a level of control that allows us to increase profits for investors,” says Ringel.
Seeing value in extending its expertise into third-party management services, MRG added this facet to the company’s suite of services. Today MRG serves equity partnerships, institutional investors, corporate and residential tenants with 200 employees. The company has 45 properties and more than 6,000 apartment units under its owner-management throughout the greater Memphis metropolitan area.
MRG’s latest development is the $28 million, 250-unit luxury apartment community — The Signature at Schilling Farms, located in Collierville, Tennessee. “This community is in a suburb of Memphis,” says Ringel. “We just completed this development in July 2015 and the community is already more than 95 percent occupied.”
Creating successful property management strategies
MRG strives to create and maintain desirable living and work environments that attract and retain tenants, ensuring high occupancy rates. The company’s trained team of property managers take a proactive approach to marketing and leasing, monitoring properties, identifying sustainable and cost-effective facilities management solutions, as well as staying in close communication with owners, tenants and vendors.
As a result, MRG’s occupancy rates are not only highly competitive, but also well above industry average. “Our occupancy rates are driven by our ability to retain residents and on average our turnover rates are about 10 percent less than the national and regional average,” says Ringel.
Even in a down real estate market through the recession, MRG was able to drive occupancy rates up. In early 2008, a group of investors purchased residential properties in Midtown Memphis, before the near collapse of the financial market and stagnant economy that would follow. The group purchased 145 units spread between three apartments and a number of rental homes.
With low occupancy rates, the group turned to MRG, which was already managing one of the apartment properties. MRG repositioned the properties, naming the units Overton Place Communities and giving each property its own name: the Gardens at Overton Place, Victorians at Overton Place and Studios at Overton Place. Through MRG’s expert management and marketing, the investors saw occupancy rise by more than 20 percent from 2008 to 2010, resulting in a positive 69 percent revenue change.
MRG has driven this type of change at other properties across Memphis, but Ringel says it’s more than the bottom dollar that matters in these relationships. “Seeing our method work for customers and their success and satisfaction is the most rewarding part of this business,” he says. “We have the ability to see potential where others might see nothing. Being involved from beginning to end and seeing a development come to life is also very rewarding.”
Specializing in all aspects of acquisition, development, construction and management of multifamily and commercial properties, Makowsky Ringel Greenberg LLC continues to maximize returns and provide attractive living and working environments throughout Memphis.
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