SUBSCRIBER CONTENT: Aug 15, 2017, 3:57pm PDTMost everyone agrees the Sacramento region needs more multifamily projects, but getting them financed is tricky.
Most everyone agrees the Sacramento region needs more multifamily projects, but getting them financed is tricky. Jonny Harmer, the new chief financial officer at Roseville-based and prominent multifamily developer USA Properties Fund Inc., is going to be tackling that issue directly.
What brought you to USA Properties Fund?
“I was living in Costa Mesa, but I was born in Roseville. I moved away in first grade, but I had great memories from living here. In February, USA Properties reached out to me through LinkedIn. My response was, “My elementary school is two miles from your headquarters.” From the conversations we had, it seemed like a fantastic organization with good people. Everything about the opportunity, all added in, told me it was time to start a new adventure.”
Coming on board, what’s the lay of the land in your eyes?
“There are challenges, but opportunities. The challenge is finding deals that pencil out and cities that welcome us on the affordable housing side. With the housing challenges the state has, there’s also a real opportunity to improve people’s lives.”
Why is financing so hard for multifamily projects?
“The challenge is that the time it takes is so long to get through entitlements and approvals, and time equals risk for investors. Their most critical question is, how soon will I get my money, and how much of it will I get? It’s tough to find the right investors to take those risks.”
Is there a magic bullet out there to improve the situation?
“There’s really not. What we bring to the table is experience. If there’s a bullet, it’s the reputation we have with the firms we partner with. To the extent you can rely on reputation and rely on experience, it doesn’t make it easy, but it allows us to negotiate our way past challenges in the market.”
What makes you want to come into the office?
“No. 1, it’s the people here. No. 2, it’s the opportunity to really make a difference in people’s lives. Being able to provide a comfortable and affordable place to live, that matters. I love that USA is partnered with LifeSTEPS to help makes lives better for the residents, showing them how to improve their economic and social situation. One thing I would say is that as a corporation, we value that here, and you see people put their money where their mouth is.”
Chief financial officer, USA Properties Fund Inc.
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting, Brigham Young University
Career: Controller, InsideOut Development LLC, 1997-1999; senior tax consultant, Ernst & Young, 1999-2003; manager, Meredith & Associates CPA, 2003-2005; CFO, Meridian Development LLC, 2005-2008; CFO, Core Realty Holdings, 2008-2011; CFO, CV Holdings Inc., 2011-2017.
Personal: Married to Lynnelle with five children ranging in ages from 7 to 15.
Something people would be surprised to learn about you: “I have my private pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings.”
Meet April Atkinson, executive vice president, USA Properties Fund Inc.
Oct 19, 2016, 6:55am PDT
Ben van der Meer Staff WriterSacramento Business Journal
Roseville-based USA Properties Fund Inc. is best known as an affordable housing builder. But with the overall multifamily market on fire, the company is moving back into market-rate projects as well. The company hired April Atkinson in August to oversee its property management operations. She had a similar role during her 16 years at Irvine Co., a real estate development firm based in Newport Beach.
What’s your assessment of the situation in multifamily as you come on board?
“I’m definitely learning a lot. I come from a market-rate developer, and I’m learning what the core is here. I’ve been very impressed. What I see so far here is that the market is strong, rents are strong, and definite demand for new development has appeared.”
What do you see as the biggest hurdle to ramping up new multifamily development?
“Some of the hurdles are just moving through the challenges in cities. Getting through those hurdles, I know you have to have relationships with the right people.”
What about funding and financing projects?
“I think the concern for most developers is that interest rates are low, but there’s been some tightening, so that’s a challenge.”
As a company, what goals are you trying to hit?
“Our core will remain senior and affordable housing. Market-rate housing will continue to grow, and I think we’d like to grow in all those areas through both acquisition and development.”
In the immediate future, what does your company have on tap?
“Our project Landing at College Square in South Sacramento should be ready for move-in by mid-October. Leasing that up will definitely be a focus through the fall. Beyond that, I definitely have a lot (of information) to gather right now. I spend a lot of time out at properties we have, and I’ve been really impressed with the team and also the services they provide on-site for residents.”
How can we build more affordable housing, which everyone acknowledges is needed?
“In many of my meetings while I was with Irvine in the Bay Area, that topic came up. There needs to be more focus on how to allow developers to do that work. Do I have the answer? Not today, but I’m going to join organizations here to learn more and participate in that discussion.
“The other concern is that in five or 10 years, there are going to be programs for funding that are ending at the state level. That’s going to be a challenge.”
Education: MBA, Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management
Professional: Worked at the Irvine Co. from 2000-2016. Her roles included general manager, regional manager, senior director and vice president of community management.
Personal:“I have been married for 25 years and have three children, ages 24, 21 and 11. We recently sold our home in Los Gatos and will be moving our family to Granite Bay.”
Something colleagues would be surprised to learn about you:“I am addicted to HGTV and enjoy remodeling.”
Senior housing project to replace medical offices next to Valley Fair
Apr 20, 2016, 5:38am PDT Updated Apr 20, 2016, 7:05am PDT
Nathan Donato-Weinstein Real Estate Reporter Silicon Valley Business Journal
Roseville-based USA Properties Fund has closed on a 1.8-acre site in Santa Clara steps from Westfield Valley Fair mall, where it's slated to begin construction soon on a new apartment complex for seniors.
The multifamily developer paid $12.1 million for the parcel at 100 N. Winchester Blvd., home to a 65,000-square-foot office building filled with mostly medical tenants, according to title records. The sale closed this month.
The office building at 100 N. Winchester will be replaced by a new project designed by… more
USA Properties Fund didn't return multiple phone calls and emails seeking an interview. But the company's website contains information on the project, which it's calling Santana Terrace.
The project will include 92 units of housing that will rent "starting from the mid $2,000s," the website states. There will be two, four-story elevator-served buildings. Amenities will include fitness and yoga rooms, courtyards with spas and barbecue areas, a media room and a rooftop garden.
The market-rate project will include 69 one-bedrooms and 22 two-bedrooms. Dahlin Group is the architect, and leasing is slated to start in spring 2018.
The market-rate senior-housing segment is expected to grow in the years ahead as Baby Boomers age. Such projects are built with accessibility in mind, featuring single-story units and on-site amenities.
In Foster City, Lennar is building Foster Square, a sprawling 15-acre community that will include 200 market-rate, age-restricted for-sale units; 150 senior assisted living units, and 66 affordable senior units. Atria Senior Living and Mid-Peninsula Housing are also involved.
Farther south, Pulte is approved for a massive 1,017-unit "Sun City" project of single-family homes. The project, called San Juan Oaks, would be built just outside the city of Hollister.
USA Properties Fund has two other projects in the South Bay. They are Mayfair Court in San Jose and Terracina in Morgan Hill. The company has developed or rehabilitated more than 12,000 units of family and senior apartments in 90 communities in California and Nevada. The company traditionally worked in the affordable segment, but is now doing more market-rate projects as well.
Feb 23, 2016
USA PROPERTIES FUND INC. CELEBRATES 35th ANNIVERSARY OF PROVIDING MUCH-NEEDED HOUSING TO FAMILIES, SENIORS
Industry leader enters market-rate communities, embraces aging-in-place, energy-efficient efforts
ROSEVILLE — USA Properties Fund Inc. is celebrating its 35th anniversary of helping meet the demand for quality housing for families and seniors that often revitalize communities and neighborhoods with much-needed projects.
The Roseville-based company has become an “outstanding leader” and “visionary builder,” with award-winning communities, forward-looking efforts such as energy-efficient technology and a fund to improve the lives of low-income residents with higher education and youth sports scholarships.
“We believe in building communities not just projects and providing homes for families,” said USA Properties Fund President Geoff Brown, whose father started the company in 1981.
J.B. Brown, an entrepreneurial businessman who had extensive experience developing affordable communities and single-family homes as an executive with Calmark Properties, founded USA Properties in Santa Monica.
“I tried to talk my father out of it,” recalls Brown, then a senior at Willamette University in Oregon. “As a 20 years old, I played devil’s advocate and challenged his wisdom. I look back and laugh, given what the company has become.”
Today, USA Properties is one of the largest affordable community developer-builder-managers in the West, with more than 85 communities and 12,500 units in California and Nevada. The company has recently expanded into market-rate communities, with a soon-to-be completed project in South Sacramento and others in the works
Much of the fast-paced growth – more than 10,000 units – has come under the leadership of Geoff Brown, who joined the company in 1989 and was named president in 1997. His father passed away in 2001, the 20th anniversary of USA Properties.
“Beginning with my father, our commitment has always been to provide quality housing options that improve communities and neighborhoods,” said Brown, who helped move the then seven-employee company to Roseville in 1993.
“One of the best decisions was to move the company,” said Brown, who now oversees a 400-employee company. Five years later, the company built an 8,500-square-foot office. “That was one of our pivotal moments.”
Two Sacramento-area projects about the same time – Terracina, an affordable family community on Stockton Boulevard in Elk Grove, and Vintage Oaks in Citrus Heights, the company’s first senior community – were also “pivotal moments” for the future of USA Properties, Brown said.
The affordable communities paved the way for other successful projects in the Sacramento region and statewide, from La Mesa in Southern California to Reno-Sparks, Nevada. The company acquires builds, develops and manages communities.
“USA Properties Fund has been a major contributor in the Sacramento region for many years, helping to respond to the need for affordable housing, which far exceeds the supply,” said La Shelle Dozier, Executive Director of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA). “The company has been successful because they understand the market, and are very strategic about creating and preserving communities that ensure a better quality of life for residents.”
SHRA has helped finance 19 USA Properties communities with a combined 2,600 units in the Sacramento region, including Terracina Elk Grove for.
“USA Properties is an outstanding leader in the creation of quality, affordable homes for California communities,” said Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium.
Geoff Brown, a longtime advocate of affordable communities, was named a Housing Hall of Fame Honoree by the consortium in 2015. “Bringing together world-class design, sustainability and services, USA Properties developments are places that Californians can be proud to call home,” Pearl said
But getting approval and funding for the housing requires hard work and considerable patience.
“It can take several years to put together the right financing package for affordable housing, but USA Properties has the tenacity and willingness to creatively work through the details and consider a variety of financing options until the project makes sense,” Dozier said .
USA Properties’ business partners – including local governments, housing agencies such as SHRA, investors and subcontractors — are critical for the projects.
“Without their partnership and support, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are now,” said Brown, who also applauds the efforts of the company’s principals and employees. “They all play an important role.”
Many business partners, including Wells Fargo, US Bank, and employees donate to the JB Brown Fund, an effort between USA Properties and LifeSTEPS, a social services provider at many USA Properties’ communities. The grassroots organization, which has raised almost $600,000 during the first five years, helps residents attend college, deal with financial hardships and participate in youth sports.
“It really started with my father, who knew social programs were integral to a community’s success,” Brown said. “We’ve evolved with LifeSTEPS, helping families and seniors.”
USA Properties has embraced other efforts that improve the quality of the apartment communities and the quality of life for residents. The latest effort is a focus on developing aging-in-place communities.
“It’s consistent with our mission,” Brown said of aging-in-place efforts for seniors, where residents can remain in their homes. USA Properties is one of the nation’s 20-largest providers of senior housing. “We always want to serve their needs.”
USA Properties is also committed to energy-efficient technology, including solar-panel systems. About one-fourth of the companies including all recent projects –have solar panels.
“Any company looking to grow better be innovative,” Brown said. “We always want to stay ahead of the curve.”
About USA Properties Fund Inc.
USA Properties Fund Inc. (USA), a California corporation, is a privately owned real estate development organization specializing in the creation of outstanding apartment communities. Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Roseville, USA Properties Fund provides a full range of capabilities for community development, including financing, development, construction services, rehabilitation and property management. Our values, leadership and team structure reflect our success with the development/construction and acquisition/rehabilitation of more than 12,500 units of family and senior apartment communities in 95 communities throughout California and Nevada. For more information, please visit www.usapropfund.com.
USA PROPERTIES FUND BEGINS CONSTRUCTION ON AFFORDABLE SENIOR COMMUNITY IN ALISO VIEJO, GROUNDBREAKING CELEBRATION AUG. 4
Vintage Aliso offers 202 apartments with numerous high-quality amenities, close to shopping
ALISO VIEJO – USA Properties Fund Inc., one of the largest affordable community developer-owner-managers in the West, in partnership with Foundation for Affordable Housing, a Laguna Beach-based nonprofit organization, will begin construction on a much-needed affordable senior community in Aliso Viejo, a city in southern Orange County.
The partnership recently acquired the four-acre parcel from the Capistrano Unified School District. Located at 2C Liberty near the southwest corner of Aliso Viejo Parkway and Liberty, Vintage Aliso will be close to shopping centers, a public park, a county library branch and within a half-mile of public transit, an always important issue for seniors.
SACRAMENTO – Next Move is excited to announce the grand reopening of the Next Move Family Shelter Campus, an emergency homeless shelter on Parker Avenue, after major renovations were made to accommodate more needy families.
“The renovations made here in such a short time are astounding. It speaks volumes to the commitment and dedication of our community partners to help Sacramento families in need,” said Carolyn Brodt, President and CEO of Next Move Sacramento. "The new upgrades to the shelter will allow us to serve more families and provide them with a stable and thriving environment every night.”
In addition to new family and living quarters, the shelter will add three classrooms, a commercial kitchen, a dining room, a computer lab and new space for the Head Start Program.
Construction was funded through a $1 million State of California EHAP CD grant, an additional $1 million donation from Goodwill, the coordination of USA Properties Fund to provide $500,000 worth of in-kind donations through its valued trade partners and Next Move’s contribution of $300,000 through fundraisers and private donations.
“HomeAid’s building team and community partners stepped up and today our community is better for the exceptional efforts of these groups,” said Beth Kang, Executive Director of HomeAid Sacramento, which helped secure grant funding and coordinate builders.
A recent survey by Sacramento Steps Forward found there are 2,538 homeless people in Sacramento County. One third live without any shelter. The number of homeless families increased by nearly one third from 2009 to 2013.
“USA Properties Fund is proud to have partnered with Next Move and HomeAid Sacramento in the transformation of the Parker Avenue Campus. We are excited to add 30 beds to this facility. As an affordable housing provider, USA understands and supports the need for transitional housing and is concerned with those who have been displaced,” said Michael McCleery, Senior Vice President of USA Properties Fund. “USA Properties Fund thanks our committed industry partners who have given so much in completion of this project. Without their dedication and community spirit, the project would not be feasible.”
The shelter opened its doors on Parker Avenue in 1974 and provided emergency housing for 25 people in six rooms. A 1986 expansion more than doubled the number of rooms and allowed the shelter to host 55 individuals each night.
“With additional capacity, Next Move can better serve a critical need in our community and keep more families together. Goodwill is proud to help make it happen,” said Joseph Mendez, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada.
With the new and renovated buildings, 30 new beds will allow Next Move to house a total of 85 people each night.
The shelter is one of two facilities in the Sacramento area that allows entire families to stay together in one room.
ROSEVILLE—Darren Bobrowsky has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Finance and Principal of USA Properties Fund Inc., one of the largest affordable community developer-owner-managers in the West.
Bobrowsky joined USA Properties Fund as Director of Finance in 2010. The Roseville-based company has added 17 communities and almost 2,000 units during the past five years.
“We’ve enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years, and Darren has definitely played a major role in those efforts,” said Geoff Brown, President of USA Properties Fund. “As a senior executive and principal, he will help develop the vision and lead USA Properties.”
The fast-growing company has announced several new communities, including the development of market-rate properties.
“USA Properties is focused on some major projects that will shape our long-term future,” Bobrowsky said. “I’m proud to be part of a company that is expanding its efforts and entering new areas.”
Before joining USA Properties, Bobrowsky was Vice President of Acquisitions for Capital Valley Investments. He is also a former Director of Development Services for the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA), where he was involved in the development of more than 10,000 affordable housing units — with a combined cost exceeding $1 billion.
Bobrowsky earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Real Estate and Land Use Affairs) from California State University, Sacramento.
May 15, 2015
USA PROPERTIES FUND PRESIDENT GEOFF BROWN NAMED HOUSING HALL OF FAME HONOREE BY CALIFORNIA HOUSING CONSORTIUM
ROSEVILLE, Calif. – USA Properties Fund Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Brown, a longtime advocate and developer of affordable communities, has been named a Housing Hall of Fame Honoree by the California Housing Consortium.
Brown oversees a company with about 85 affordable communities and 12,000-plus units, from La Mesa in Southern California to the Bay Area and the Sacramento region in Northern California.
“I’m very honored and humbled by the award, which has been given to some of the true leaders of the affordable community industry,” said Brown, who joined USA Properties in 1989 and was named president and CEO in 1997. “This honor belongs to everyone at our company and our partners who are committed to building affordable, high-quality and safe communities for low-income residents.”
Brown’s father, J.B. Brown, founded the company in Santa Monica in 1981 and later moved USA Properties – and its then seven employees -- to Roseville in 1993.
Under Brown’s leadership, the company has added 10,000 units and about 300 employees. In addition, USA Properties Fund has become an industry leader in green building design and practices, including the installation of solar-panel systems in numerous projects statewide.
And the company has established the JB Brown Fund, a charitable organization that provides financial assistance to residents in USA Properties’ communities. The JB Brown Fund has raised more than $300,000 since founded in 2011, with about $116,000 in scholarships awarded to residents attending two- and four-year colleges and universities.
“We’re committed to building communities, not just apartments,” Brown said. “We want to help our residents achieve their dreams and deal with financial hardships.”
Brown will be honored May 13 during the California Housing Consortium’s Policy Forum & Housing Hall of Fame Awards in Santa Monica.
The Agoura Hills-based consortium is a non-partisan advocate for the production and preservation of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income Californians. The California Housing Consortium represents the development, building, financial and public sector.
“The California Housing Consortium’s Hall of Fame honors those individuals and companies that have made a profound impact in the affordable housing field,” said Ray Pearl, Executive Director of the California Housing Consortium. “When seeking our private-sector honoree this year, Geoff Brown and USA Properties Fund, Inc. rose to the top because of their leadership in the production and preservation of affordable housing. CHC also wishes to thank Geoff for all of his contributions to our organization’s advocacy efforts in Sacramento through the years. Geoff and USA Properties are fine examples of what it truly means to give back to the community.”