Ovation Development Corporation
Ovation Development Corporation (ODC) has been in business since 1997. Founded by the owners of a large homebuilder, ODC has since grown into a major general contractor for the multifamily market in southern Nevada. ODC’s sister company, Ovation Property Management Corporation (OPM), takes over when the developments are complete and currently manages 18 communities – totaling 5,305 units – in the Las Vegas Valley. Together, the design, construction and management team has earned a reputation for providing a high quality lifestyle for residents.
Alan Molasky, owner and CEO of ODC and OPM, maintains a hands-on approach today. Molasky derives inspiration from high-end and luxury homes, applying many of the same design themes and features to apartments, condos and senior housing. The result has been a mix of affordable and market-rate housing for a broad demographic that offers both form and function as a community.
Lorri Murphy, vice president of real estate development, works closely with Molasky and Reinier Santana, president of ODC. Together, the leadership team oversees a staff of 20 people involved in development. In addition to the three or four field supervisors and laborers on each project, the staff includes: design, purchasing, entitlement processing and accounting professionals who tackle drafting services, managing supplies and subcontractors, as well as maintaining a schedule and acting as a liaison between the developer and the community.
A Changing Business Model
ODC’s developments have long been considered Las Vegas’ premiere apartment communities. During the economic downturn, much of the company’s business was geared toward low-income housing and senior housing, including a number of tax credit projects ranging in size from 75 to 182 units.
However, as the market recovers, ODC has a number of market-rate housing projects in the planning stages scheduled to begin production in mid-2014 and 2015. Regardless of income restrictions, Molasky and his team are proud to provide luxury amenities at any rate. The crew utilizes value-engineering techniques and architectural input to improve the style and appearance of these properties.
As part of a changing business model, ODC has adopted a goal of turning over one tax credit project each year. The team recently completed and opened up a 75-unit senior housing development marketed as Minuet. The development is extremely successful and is currently 100 percent occupied. Murphy explains that the community was fully leased prior to opening its doors. Another similar project with 142 units, Acapella, is doing just as well.
The team is currently in the midst of its third tax credit project, a 100-unit senior housing development preparing its marketing campaign. Continuing with the musical theme, the community will be named Tempo.
“We already have over 100 names on our waiting list,” Murphy explains. “That project should be completed in the second quarter of 2014.”
ODC has closed on its fourth project in this category, which will be a 182-unit property. “These are all in the Las Vegas area,” Murphy elaborates, “Within 20 miles of each other. These projects are in the same vein, all active, independent senior communities. Residents have open access to a pool, a spa and community rooms, including exercise, media and computer rooms, along with a full kitchen for community events.”
She goes on to note that a service coordinator for each property develops and implements activities and services for seniors. In addition, each tax credit project utilizes green technologies, including energy star appliances, low voc paint and flooring, as well as photovoltaic panels. ODC’s newest tax credit projects will also seek LEED certification.
Murphy enjoys the majority of her work, but it seems this niche stands out. “Senior communities are a very rewarding part of our business,” she continues. “The residents are always very appreciative and it is the highlight of our day to visit. There is a good community feel at our developments and sometimes we get press attention, especially when political figures come to visit.”
The Business Evolves
During the downturn, ODC was able to stay ahead by sticking to a sustainable niche. “We also took advantage of slower times to become more efficient,” Murphy notes. “We have gotten leaner in office and field staff and have come up with the best practices that have allowed us to do more with less.”
With a small staff, the team relies heavily on subcontractors. “We like working with people we know, but we do go out to bid every time anyway,” Murphy explains. “Every once in a while our existing subs can’t give us a competitive price, so we like to develop relationships with new subs, as well. This is also an advantage when we have a lot of projects going at the same time. We don’t want to overload anybody.”
With the help of long-term strategic partners, ODC is prepared to grow in the recovery. “Things are definitely improving in our area,” Murphy elaborates. “Our renewal rental rates went up first, now new rental rates are going up, as well. Our occupancy rates are firming up. We have gotten to the point where more of these projects are viable. We look around and see a lot of pent-up demand, with people doubling up in housing and apartments, or parents living with their children. We have been able to slowly, not dramatically, increase rent and keep occupancy up. We have quite a few projects on the board.”
Now that the market has improved, the team is able to build market-rate housing, as well. ODC currently has two planned market-rate communities, not restricted to low-income families or seniors. These communities are still in the midst of permitting, but ODC plans to start construction in 2014’s second quarter. The company has a total of four projects planned to begin construction in 2014, which will bring up revenue significantly.
For the time being, ODC is not looking to expand its geographic footprint beyond the Las Vegas area. By staying local, the crew will be able to continue controlling costs and quality, while maintaining a local presence in the community. Regardless of how, or where, the company grows, the focus remains the same. Ovation Development Corporation remains committed to doing the right thing, moving ahead with a strong sense of quality and integrity.
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