BELIEVE IN DOING THE RIGHT THING.
THE EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2013 - MULTI HOUSING NEWS
Best Marketing & Lease Up Program AURARIA STUDENT LOFTS - DENVER, CO BY CARDINAL GROUP MANAGEMENT
AURARIA STUDENT LOFTS (THE “COMMUNITY”) is a 125-unit, 438-bed institutional-quality student housing community located in Denver, CO. The Community leases its units in a “per-bed” fashion with each unit housing between two and four occupants, each with their own furnished bedroom, as well as a shared and furnished common living space. The Community caters to students at the Auraria Campus, historically a commuter campus located two blocks away in downtown Denver. The Auraria Campus is home to three higher-education institutions with a combined enrollment of over 51,000 students: Metro State College of Denver, University of Colorado – Denver, and the Community College of Denver. The Community combines the experience of college life with the unique setting of city living. Residents enjoy premium access to many of Denver’s most popular restaurants, bars, nightclubs and coffee shops that make up Denver’s 23 square block “LoDo” (Lower Downtown) Historic District.
IN ORDER TO PROPERLY TELL THIS STORY it’s important to understand the property’s troubled past at the time Cardinal took over management. Below are well documented challenges that were ingrained in the reputational landscape of the property prior to Cardinal Group’s involvement: • Drug dealing, • Robberies & assaults, and • Constant, public defamation of the community.
HISTORICAL OCCUPANCY Cardinal Group started managing the asset in July of 2011 and the building was 60% occupied.
THE GOAL 100% occupancy, in 7 months’ time (January 2012 – July 2012) under a new brand.
“once upon a time.. ” THE IDEAS
A full scale marketing campaign was launched, which included:
• • • • • •
Renaming & rebranding Strongest web presence in the market (traditional, mobile, social media, iPad) Traditional marketing avenues with professional design integrity Grass root/guerilla marketing campaigns (i.e. “Tealios” the mascot) Resident life events Clean, concise, student-minded collateral Referral & renewal programs The “Outrageous Giveaway Game”
Poor market reputation – “Are you crazy!? I would never live there” mentality to overcome. No common area amenities and no sense of “community.” New name – no market recognition. Removing the “bad apples” – an emphasis on screening criteria in order to fill it up with qualified residents. A construction zone from January 2012 – April 2012 – during prime leasing season.
the turnaround. REPUTATION & LEASING / THE NEW AURARIA STUDENT LOFTS / MARKETING & LEASING / THE NEW & IMPROVED LEASING EXPERIENCE /
reputation leasing - THE BRAND BEFORE -
- THE BRAND AFTER -
FIRST STEPS Given the propertyâ€™s history, the lease up was more than just colorful ads and traditional marketing efforts; it was a proactive campaign, that forced us to create, demand, and identify our desired resident campaign. We did not have the ability to sit on our hands and ride our reputation to the finish line. Rather, it was full scale marketing war that required the collective effort between operations, leasing and marketing. Screening standards (background and credit) were immediately put into place. This might be counterintuitive when trying to sign 438 leases, but we had to accomplish two things simultaneously: lease up and completely change the perception & reputation. The marketing and rebranding campaign started in early December 2011; The Inn at Auraria became Auraria Student Lofts and renderings of the planned lobby improvements were released to existing and future residents. ASLâ€™s mascot, Tealios, was introduced to the market, interacting with the students on-campus. This was the first of many critical step to escaping the reputational deficiencies of The Inn at Auraria.
Lobby Improvements – “Prison to Plush”
Façade Improvements – “Blah! to Bling!”
before and after
INTERNET PRESENCE WEBSITE We wanted to ensure our web presence gave a lasting and notable impression. With bold images of the community, an ergonomic design and user-friendly navigation our new website accomplished just that. In order to meet the needs of our students and their parents it was important to deliver clear, concise information that empowered them to make a leasing decision. The prospectâ€™s ability to inquire, apply and sign electronically in one location transformed the leasing experience and grew the ASL brand.
INTERNET PRESENCE mobile website
Given todayâ€™s students reliance on smart phones, a strong mobile presence is essential. What is often missing from the mobile experience is a user-friendly, intuitive platform. Cardinal Group executed this goal. For example, our mobile site allows its users to easily share the site with friends, schedule a tour, view pricing and floor plans, and allows residents to pay rent!
the iPad guest card
With 438 leases to sign, we needed efficiency across the board. iPad apps were designed for Leasing Team Members to quickly and efficiently track leads, present floor plans and show pictures using a medium that would resonate with students. Therefore, Cardinal Group developed an iPad Guest Card that integrates with our Property Management Software so the Leasing Team did not need to spend endless hours entering thousands of guest cards into the system.
NEW COLLATERAL WAS DEVELOPED. Our goal was to create professional, simple collateral -conveniently sized, yet informative.
RENEWAL PROGRAM OUR SIGNATURE RENEWAL PROGRAM, THE OUTRAGEOUS GIVEAWAY GAME, HIGHLY INCENTIVIZES RESIDENTS WITH A VARIETY OF DESIRABLE PRIZES. THE PROGRAM IS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE URGENCY IN OUR RESIDENTS, AS THE EARLIER THEY SIGN, THEY BETTER CHANCE THEY HAVE TO WIN BIG!
STREET TEAM IPADS
EQUIPPED WITH BRANDED SHIRTS, IPADS & COLLATERAL
OUR STREET TEAMS
swept through our market’s college campuses with one goal in mind – spread the word about Auraria to every single student. Our leasing team then immediately sent additional information while the Street Teams left behind simple, catchy, fits-in-your-pocket collateral for later reference by the future resident.
REFERRAL PROGRAM AN AGGRESSIVE REFERRAL PROGRAM and “Pick a Key and Live for Free” was created to incentivize residents to refer their friends and classmates. The program offered up to $3,200 in cash, a flat screen TV for the unit, free rent and a 16GB Apple iPad for referring others to sign leases. In addition, each referral had the opportunity to pick a key from a bucket and possibly win free rent for a year – yes, we had a winner!
ONE OF OUR ELATED ‘PICK A KEY, LIVE FOR FREE’ WINNERS
the outrageous giveaway game
“OGG” HOW IT WORKED: RESIDENTS ACCUMULATED TICKETS ONE OF THREE WAYS:
(1) SIGNING A LEASE, (2) REFERRING THEIR FRIENDS AND CLASSMATES TO AURARIA, AND (3) RENEWING THEIR LEASE. THE MORE GAME TICKETS, THE MORE CASINO CHIPS RECEIVED FOR THE START OF THE OGG’S CASINO NIGHT AT SPILL IN DOWNTOWN DENVER. THE MORE CHIPS, THE BETTER CHANCE OF WINNING ONE OF OUR “OUTRAGEOUS” PRIZES. PRIZES INCLUDED: APPLE MACBOOK PRO COMPUTER, 16 GB IPAD, 2 BRONCOS TICKETS ON THE 50-YARD LINE, EPIC ANNUAL SKI PASSES, 42” FLAT SCREEN TV, XBOX KINEC, MOUNTAIN BIKE, AND GIFT CARDS TO REI.
ROOT BEER PONG LUAU
BREAKFAST & CARTOONS
RESIDENT LIFE We view our Resident Life Team as a “resident insurance policy” who are tasked with the overall happiness of the community. Their responsibilities include: planning events, resident outreach, maintenance request followups. Our group of Community Assistants (“CAs”) are energetic, young and talented. Additionally, our CA’s produced videos promoting the community and special resident events and posted them on YouTube and our Facebook page. They’ve helped create a sense of community at ASL on-site and online.
PIZZA POWER TOWER
CLICK TO VIEW VIDEOS
Acknowledging the power of social media, a video campaign was launched. Video gives us the ability to portray a day in the life of Aurania Student Lofts. The best way to demonstrate this point is for you to view for yourself:
the â€œblack cardâ€?
Our on-site team worked with various local vendors to give residents deals at local hotspots. If the residents are unsure of which local vendors are participants, they can simply visit the website to find a list of all participating vendors. Membership has its privileges!
leasing & marketing. AURARIA STUDENT LOFTS’ MASCOT “TEALIOS” The mysterious and fearless mascot known around the Auraria Campus. Tealios has been on the front lines helping spread the word and signing leases at our community in addition to making students and residents smile for the past year. Tealios was tasked with promoting events, accompanying on-campus street teams, attending University-sponsored events, and providing Auraria with a sense of identity.
The community created accounts on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, allowing immediate communication between residents and our on-site team. Facebook quickly elevated to over 600 followers within one-year of launch. Our Facebook page serves as a virtual community bulletin board and has become a fun, informative and reliable resource for residents. Our YouTube account, with over 5,200 views, allows us to demonstrate why living at Auraria is the best choice for students on the Auraria campus.
THE NEW & IMPROVED LEASING EXPERIENCE
OPEN WELCOMING SPACE
HIGHLY VISIBLE FROM LOBBY
INTERACTIVE PROJECTOR SCREEN “FUNCTIONAL ART”
NET OPERATING INCOME
NOI $2,500,000 $2,000,000 $1,500,000 $1,000,000 $500,000 $
UNDER CARDINAL MANAGEMENT: • • • •
NOI HAS GONE FROM $815K TO $2.05M (1 52% INCREASE). REVENUE IS UP OVER 30% EXPENSES ARE DOWN 27%. OCCUPANCY WAS 60% AT ACQUISITION, AND THIS YEAR ASL WAS LEASED UP TO 100% WITH A WAITING LIST. OF THE 3 STUDENT HOUSING COMMUNITIES IN THE MARKET, ONLY ASL REACHED 100%. • ASL IS CURRENTLY AT 98% PRE-LEASED FOR NEXT SCHOOL YEAR, VERSUS 60% LAST YEAR, AND 18% IN 2011.
• FACEBOOK LIKES LAST YEAR WENT FROM 0 TO OVER 640 SINCE THE REBRANDING, WITH A WEEKLY REACH OF OVER 8,000! • YOUTUBE VIEWS HAVE TOTALED OVER 5,200 • OVER 39,000 TOTAL WEBSITE VIEWS! • 2,585 TOTAL MOBILE WEBSITE VIEWS WITH AN AVERAGE DURATION OF THESE VIEWS LASTING 2 MINUTES AND 35 SECONDS, WHICH PRODUCED 98 TOTAL TOURS FROM THE TIME IT WAS INTRODUCED IN APRIL 2012. • ASL HAS TRULY BECOME THE PLACE TO LIVE FOR STUDENTS IN DENVER.
ABOUT US MANAGEMENT
Cardinal Group Management (“CGM”) is a full service real estate management firm. CGM has a specialized platform that allows them to handle all facets of real estate management throughout the United States. This includes: entitlement, development, construction management, property management, accounting, and creative leasing & marketing. CGM leverages their culture, unique company structure and high regard of technology to deliver superior results and reporting to its clients.
Cardinal Group Investments (“CGI”) is a real estate investment and asset management firm specializing in opportunistic and valueadded investments throughout the United States. CGI combines a highly analytical approach with thorough research and reporting systems to deliver results and transparency to its investors and clients.
PORTFOLIO Cardinal Group is headquartered in Denver, CO and has an office in San Francisco, CA with ongoing projects currently in seven states. The company currently: Owns and manages 22 student housing properties consisting of more than 4,100 beds. Owns and/or operates ~750 units of conventional urban apartments Advises on a $3 billion (at full build-out) mixed-use urban redevelopment in Denver, CO.
For more information
CONTACT DEL DE WINDT, CEO CARDINAL GROUP MANAGEMENT (303) 407-4502 DEL@CARDINALGROUP.COM