Special report: 3 keys to unlocking ESG potential in real estate
Grubb Properties takes a unique approach to real estate, with a strategic focus on essential housing that makes it an industry leader.
Grubb Properties’ leading solution to the nationwide housing crisis is its Link Apartments℠ product, which focuses on smart design and resident amenities to provide an opportunity for city living at a lower cost. There are currently 19 Link Apartments℠ communities stabilized or under construction in 11 cities across the country, totaling 4,935 multi-family units.
As a vertically integrated real estate fund manager and developer, Grubb Properties acquires, develops and manages these communities to ensure quality throughout the life cycle of each community. When developing Link Apartments℠, the focus is on two key differentiators: location and price. Grubb Properties selects urban locations near community amenities, public transit options, and major countercyclical employment hubs such as universities and medical centers. It also aims for affordable rents for residents earning 60-140% of the region’s median income.
Grubb Properties achieves these prices in its target locations – where virtually no other multifamily product is developed in a similar price segment – by creating value through innovative site acquisition, shared parking, tax incentives, grants and other proven methods. For example, Grubb Properties focuses on six types of highly effective floor plans in its communities. The industry standard often includes more than 25 types of units, which can add cost and an inefficient work process that takes more time.
Grubb Properties sees sustainability and ESG as an investment tool that can reduce the recurring cost of utilities for its residents while protecting the environment and improving the communities in which it operates. The company’s focus on essential housing has environmental stewardship and efficiency embedded in its DNA.
To meet the needs of those who earn between 60% and 140% of the region’s median income, Grubb Properties is constantly looking for ways to make its communities more profitable, efficient and clean. Because Grubb Properties owns and operates its properties for at least 10 years, it avoids shortcuts that may seem daunting in the short term but don’t hold up in the long term.
Through creative and progressive building and unit design, Link Apartments℠ are built from the ground up for efficiency. Working with six fundamental floor plans is beneficial from the construction side, the project management side, and the resident experience side. For example, each apartment maximizes its space, offering apartments that “live bigger” than the nominal square footage might imply.
6 innovations to know
As a vertically integrated fund manager, Grubb Properties can design innovations whose effects resonate throughout its strategy, its portfolio and the life cycle of each asset. Here are its six most impactful innovations:
Years of experience has allowed Grubb Properties to ensure that floor plans offer efficient luxury with consumer-focused amenities and smart technology. This attention to detail, along with adaptive and efficient heating/cooling systems, ENERGY STAR® appliances, smart leak sensors to minimize water waste and LED lighting, also ensure that utility costs are lower. minimized. In fact, Link Apartments℠ residents’ energy bills are on average 15% lower than they would be in comparable properties, and their water bills are 23% lower. Energy costs for common areas (17%) and water costs (23%) are also lower.
On its worksites, Grubb Properties is sensitive to environmental concerns, in particular the preservation of biodiversity, the minimization of the impact on soils and the mitigation of pollution on brownfield sites. Regionally appropriate, drought-resistant, and pollinator-friendly landscaping is consistently implemented, along with designs that mitigate risk and damage from location-specific weather and natural disasters.
ESG in motion
With sites near greenways and other established transit options, residents of Link Apartments℠ can easily reduce their car use. Grubb Properties provides state-of-the-art bike centers in all of its communities and encourages the use of electric vehicles by providing EV chargers.
As part of property-level environmental monitoring, internal and external reviews of utility data and maintenance practices ensure that high-performance building efficiency is maintained over the life of the asset. Strategies include systematic retro-commissioning, preventative maintenance, and regular internal and external benchmarking of utilities year over year. Additionally, Grubb Properties’ property managers undergo regular ESG training and self-assessments, and utility consumption is a topic included in each property manager’s annual assessment.