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IRVINE, CA-Western National Property Management has named Thomas K. Shelton as the new president of Western National Property Management, which manages a portfolio of 20,000 of its own and third-party units in Southern California and other western markets. Shelton, who formerly served as regional partner of Charleston, SC-based Greystar Real Estate Partners, tells GlobeSt.com that Western National, which is the multifamily management arm of Western National Group, aims to grow its portfolio of managed units by about 20% to 25% per year, or roughly 4,000 to 5,000 units.

Shelton fills a position that was left vacant about six months ago when Steve Donohue left the company. The new president of Western National Property Management says that the Irvine-based firm views this as an opportune time to grow its property management operations because the current market has created “an increased focus on property operations and trying to grow revenues while trimming expenses” on the part of apartment owners.

Shelton, who is relocating to Southern California from Phoenix, tells GlobeSt.com that the firm will capitalize on its existing presence in Southern and Northern California and also will look to expand in the Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas markets via the relationships Shelton has developed in those markets over the past 25 years. “We also know that Western National has existing clients that have assets in those markets, and there has never been the focus on expanding the third-party business to those markets that there will be now,” Shelton says.

Of the 20,000 units that it manages, Western National owns about two-thirds and manages the remainder for other owners. The company expects the growth in its third-party units under management to come from a number of sources: Owners who have been managing their own units but realize that they need a professional manager, owners that have relied on other third-party managers and are looking for a change, and existing clients of Western National that acquire or develop new units. In times like these, Shelton observes, property owners look for higher quality managers as well as firms that can provide a full range of services, such as underwriting and acquisition assistance, financial analysis, consulting, due diligence, property management, renovation and rehabilitation, maintenance, landscaping and other services.

Shelton adds that Western National sees “a strong niche opportunity for a strong regional players” like his new firm in competition against large national property management companies. “We have an ability to know the real estate and the people better,” he says. “We’re focused on the performance of the real estate, not just on buying and profitability, which is what tends to happen when you reach a certain size.”

Before joining Western National, Shelton served as a regional partner of Greystar, where he supervised a portfolio of 26,000 units throughout the Western US. He also previously served as regional vice president of Insignia Residential Group, held senior vice president positions at Koll Management Services and Phoenix-based CBS Investment Realty, and is a past president of the National Apartment Association.

Western National Group is a 45-year-old multifamily acquisition, development, construction and property management firm. Western National Group is the second largest owner of multifamily housing in Orange County, after the Irvine Co., and is the umbrella over three separate entities: Western National Realty Advisors, the development and acquisition arm of the firm; Western National Property Management and Western National Contractors, the construction arm.

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