Insights

The FORT Podcast: Laird Sparks – Sr. Managing Director, Development at Greystar

Laird Sparks is a Senior Managing Director for Greystar Development and Construction Services, with responsibility for multifamily development in the Central North Region.

He joined Greystar in 1998, holding various positions across multiple disciplines prior to joining the development team. Laird has been involved in all aspects of the Greystar business, including third-party property management, development, renovation, acquisitions, refinance and dispositions, and the asset management of approximately 20,000 apartment units with a capitalized value of approximately $2.5 billion.

On this episode, Chris and Laird discuss the behemoth that is Greystar, their work in Texas, conventional multifamily age-restricted developments, the explosion of Single-Family Rentals, student housing, Industrial, and much more. Enjoy!

(03:56) –  Laird’s Career Story and How Greystar Has Evolved Since Being There in 1998

(05:47) – How is Greystar set up from the national level to the regional level?

(06:53) –  What does your office do and what’s your role?

(07:37) – What’s changed about development over the past 14 years?

(09:35) – Are there amenities that are becoming obsolete?

(10:41) – Did you primarily do deals in the core during this cycle?

(11:37) – What markets do you play in?

(12:46) – Are entitlements in suburban markets tougher to get?

(14:25) – What are the differences between urban and suburban facilities?

(15:48) – Workforce Housing

(16:56) – Is there anything from a cost perspective on the horizon that excites you?

(20:24) –  What makes up the bulk of cost increases?

(21:07) – What are the factors in labor cost increases?

(22:09) – What’s driving the massive jump in rents since Covid?

(24:53) – Are we anywhere close to meeting demand in apartment developments for DFW?

(25:37) –  How much do property taxes impact deals?

(27:02) –  Is there anything different about this cycle from the others you’ve experienced?

(28:56) – Are there any permanent changes you’re making in your products in light of the pandemic?

(30:19) – Why is SFR so hot right now?

(34:00) – Is there anyone doing luxury SFR?

(36:35) – SFR Tenant Demographics

(37:17) – Leasing Factors

(37:49) – How are capital markets looking at SFR?

(39:36) – Is there talk about not taking the merchant developer route with SFR’s?

(42:33) –  How do you define age-restricted deals?

(47:13) –  Student Housing

(49:38) – Senior vs. Student Demand in Regards To Capital Markets

(51:47) – Thoughts on Industrial

(56:01) – Is the data you have across different asset classes helpful or is it pretty siloed?

(58:55) – How is Texas positioned vs. the rest of the country?

(1:00:37) –  Getting a Deal Done in CA vs. TX

(1:02:45) – What metrics matter most to you when underwriting a deal?

(1:04:41) – Have the basis point spreads between what you’re building to and what you’re exiting on changed drastically?

(1:06:30) – How are 10-year hold deals structured if you’re underwriting a Merchant Development deal? 

(1:08:20) – Thoughts on Opportunity Zones

(1:10:03) – Property Management

(1:15:52) – Is there anything that keeps you up at night or risks in the market?

(1:17:41) – Has Social Media been a major player in making the developer a ‘villain’?

(1:22:09) – Is crowdsourcing the future?

The FORT is produced by Johnny Peterson & Straight Up Podcasts

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