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HERNDON, VA-Older Americans are some of the least Internet-savvy users, but one property management firm hopes to change all of that.

Clark Realty Management, a subsidiary of Clark Enterprises in Bethesda, MD was formed in January to take a bite out of the property management business. Clark is already a huge force in the commercial real estate and construction businesses.

The firm has gotten off to a good start, recently landing the management assignment for Kendrick Court, a 139-unit senior housing community here. And to differentiate itself from some of the other major property management firms in the region, CRM hopes to make extensive use of technology in new ways, including the Internet. “The proliferation of the Internet and the invention of Web-based applications have created a unique opportunity to reinvent property management operations,” says Stephanie Shum Anderson. Anderson is responsible for managing the new technology and e-business initiative at Clark Realty.

Kendrick Court will serve as a test case for the company, which should come as no surprise. The property was developed by Clark Realty Capital and built and completed by Clark Realty Builders in December 1998. CRM is using a Web-based property-management software package that tracks leasing, management and forecasting for the property. The management firm has also created an Intranet, not just for internal communication among employees, but also in hopes of eliminating many paper-based systems.

Finally, CRM is testing its Internet-based e-concierge service on the Web. Tenants can use the Web site to get information about community events, review and pay accounts online, and submit service requests to the facilities managers.

While most experts agree that seniors today tend to lack Internet savvy, as baby boomers retire and seek senior-living facilities like Kendrick, things may change. But Clark has moved to help the uninitiated, by including a computer center with Internet access among its offerings at the community.

Multifamily housing has been increasing its efforts to integrate technology. New developments routinely include computer centers, and increasingly new apartment; townhouse and senior-living communities are wiring each unit for high-speed Internet access.

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