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CHICAGO-Locally-based Jupiter Communities LLC has brought on Mike Biggs to work as COO as part of its larger strategic growth plan. Biggs brings 30 years of experience to his new position, which will involve overseeing management and growth of the multifamily property management firm’s national portfolio. Biggs’ background at firms including Lincoln Property Trust, Trammel Crow Co., and Camden Property Trust, spanned acquisitions, operations, repositioning and new construction.

Biggs says he began talks with Kellie DeVilbiss, president of Jupiter Communities, to take on this role about a year ago. “The plan was to grow this company nationwide, and this scenario came to fruition when RAIT Financial Trust, out of Philadelphia, bought controlling interest in Jupiter Communities in May of this year,” Biggs tells GlobeSt.com. “Once that was accomplished, the platform was prepared to grow, so I came on to expand into the areas Jupiter was already in and seek out additional opportunities.”

Chicago-based Jupiter already has offices in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado and Arizona, and will initially focus on growing its roots there. The firm expects to take over seven properties in those areas in the next month. Biggs says one of the most substantial expansions Jupiter will undertake next is moving into the Texas market by opening a Dallas office, where he will be based.

“Having been through the crash of the 1980s in the southwest in Texas, this is a more difficult recession this time around from a real estate standpoint,” Biggs says. “Any time there’s a situation like this there’s great opportunity, and it’s a perfect opportunity to jump into distressed markets because we have the years of experience to see how we get out of this scenario. We have great access to capital and can look at these distressed situations and see opportunities for us and our clients, and come up with solutions for people and grow the company.”

Biggs formerly served as president of the Houston Apartment Association, and for ten years on the Executive Committee of the Texas Apartment Association. He is now an officer in the Chicagoland Apartment Association. He graduated in 1973 from the University of Texas at Austin and is CPM designated through the institute of Real Estate Management.

“I have the public experience, which dovetailed with the RAIT scenario, as well as experience working in the southwest, and this is an opportunity to build another company, profit from those opportunities and get back to Texas,” Biggs says. “We’re in a growth mode and want to increase the number of properties we operate in all the core markets we’re involved in and grow anywhere else it makes sense. Even though times are tough, there’s opportunity; you just have to look at it and see it that way.”

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