With smart apartment technology taking over as a must-have amenity for multifamily communities across the country, numerous groups are analyzing the investment, deciding which platform to utilize for short and long-term strategy, and how this impacts their marketing approach to millennials and GenZ.
IOTAS is providing all the smart technology for 500 unit Class A High rise in Chicago, The Paragon. Murphy Development Group with CIM Group is spearheading this initiative as they continue to focus on generating development opportunities in the multifamily, hospitality and office sectors across the country.
We were able to catch up with Chris Horney, Managing Director of Murphy Development to discuss smart technology and their new multifamily high rise in Chicago, The Paragon.
Can you tell me about your role at Murphy Development?
I joined Murphy Development Group in 2013 and currently serve as the division’s Managing Director. My primary responsibility is for the execution of all developments for MDG. In addition, I manage the underwriting of new deals and the structuring of financing for our assets.
What types of projects have you been focused on?
MDG has worked within all asset types in this cycle, primarily in hospitality, but also residential, office, and retail. We purposefully stay flexible on product type, as the development cycle favors different products at different stages of the cycle.
How is Murphy Development differentiating itself in the market?
MDG prides itself on completing deals that many other development firms couldn’t, due to the complexity of the deal or the complexity of construction. We have the experience that allows us to see and build opportunity that otherwise wasn’t there. That experience has led us to deals with the Cleveland Clinic, as well as several adaptive reuse projects, including our most challenging project to date, the rehabilitation, and renovation of Old Cook County Hospital into hotel, office, and retail.
Can you describe your research experience and decision process regarding smart apartment technology in selecting IOTAS?
Because the space is so new, our process has been organic. Our team members have been researching the technology individually for their own homes or other smaller projects and we came across IOTAS at a Bisnow event. After reviewing other options, we felt like IOTAS gave us the best flexibility and performance and sent the same message that we have been crafting for our other amenities and features in the building. We were not originally providing 100% smart units but as the project progressed, and the budget was available, we knew it was a significant upgrade that would set the project apart in a very competitive rental market in downtown Chicago.
How do you believe Chicago will take to The Paragon?
We are excited about bringing a first-class building to the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, which until very recently, had sub-par rental product. The Paragon Chicago will have best-in-class amenities and a fantastic unit finish that will include the most up-to-date smart home technology available.
What are your expectations for The Paragon?
We will provide a home to renters that delivers on our promise of being a Beacon of Possibilities. Whether that means you’re a work-from-home, single, 26-year-old who just moved to Chicago or a 45-year-old executive with a family, we will provide purposeful rental living in a neighborhood that’s on the rise.
How are you positioning smart technology in your marketing outreach?
We’re including smart technology as an integral part of a comprehensive message that includes our co-working space, our high-speed internet (gig speeds), and various other amenities. We’re targeting adventurous renters who seek harmony between their work and personal lives. The Paragon Chicago provides rental living with amenities that provide both comfort and style while fostering a collaborative community.
How will you be gauging ROI with this investment?
Gauging ROI is difficult because we’re providing the service in every unit. In many ways, it will be anecdotal, but we view this as something that will become a standard and thus saving us money long-term by doing it upfront.
What are your expectations for smart technology for multifamily in general as well as for Murphy Development specifically?
In Class A buildings, smart technology will quickly become an expectation in the overall package delivered to tenants. We believe that the IOTAS platform is a real trend in today’s world and that the multifamily space will be leading this technological advance instead of following.