LOS ANGELES—At the annual Marcus & Millichap Southern California Multifamily Forum, developers on the “Anything But 90210” panel, which discussed emerging markets in California, explained that often, they looked for projects with a “story.” Jim Andersen, SVP at Trammell Crow Co.; Mark Crawford, principal at Crawford Park Financial; Bill Montgomery, president of acquisitions and investment at Sares-Regis Group; Chad Sanderson, principal of business development and acquisitions at Bascom Group; Kevin Wilch, business development executive at Sears Holding Co.; and Joel Zide, principal at Mashcole Property Management Inc. sat on the expert panel to discuss the up-an-coming geographic markets on which they are finding the most projects.

“We are always looking for the best institutional story,” said Andersen on the panel, noting that infrastructure, neighborhood and proximity to public transit are among the key characteristics. “Lenders are getting more sophisticated about what property characteristics drive higher rents.” He used the example of a recent lender asking about the walkability score of a property, and getting excited to hear that it was high.

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