Trion Properties isexpanding its business into ground-up development. The firm, whichtypically invests in value-add multifamily, has completed its firstnew construction project, a 28-unit apartment complex in CulverCity called 5012 Apartments.

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"Value-add multifamily will always be our core business, but wehave always wanted to get into ground-up development to grow ourbusiness," Max Sharkansky, a principal at TrionProperties, tells GlobeSt.com. "We bought this land site a fewyears ago. It was on a street where we already owned a building,and we saw the transition in that pocket with that building. As wewere improving the property and improving the units, we saw that wewere getting really strong residents, and we felt really good aboutbuying a development site there."

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Culver City has evolved rapidly this cycle, and Trion has hadsuccess with other investments in the market, making it ideal fortheir first ground-up development. "We bought two more developmentsites in that area. One is shovel ready, and the second iscurrently going through entitlements," says Sharkansky. "We arealso under contract on a third site that is scheduled to close inApril—but we'll see how that goes."

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The property is rich with tech amenities, including Amazonpackage lockers, Nest thermostats, ButterflyMX smart video intercomsystem and Sonos smart speakers. "Renters in that market tend to beyounger and work in the healthcare and tech industry," saysSharkansky. "That demographic likes technology-forward assets. Thatis a huge selling point and makes the community that much morefunctional."

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The amenities no doubt help to amplify rents compared to nearbycompetitors, but by how much is unknown. Instead, Sharkansky saysthat these amenities help to secure new residents. "It is hard toquantify the rent increase, but we definitely get better velocity,"he says. It turns someone from a maybe into a yes."

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Trion is delivering the project 55% pre-leased, which is arelief in the current market. "Where we stand right now—and thingsmight change when we get into early April—we are getting leasingactivity," says Sharkansky. "We are doing video calls, and it hasworked. Some of our onsite managers have been able to sign leasesonline after a video tour of the property. They might not move inApril 1, but April 15 to May 1 is a popular time to make a movegiven what is happening in the country."

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For now, Trion is preparing for obstacles ahead. "We are in amode where we are trying to get occupancy as high as possible sothat we can get collections as high as possible," says Sharkansky."Come April and May, collection loss is inevitable."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.