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Boutique developers are small and nimble enough to push boundaries in ways that larger developers can’t, and as a result, they are playing an integral role in pioneering innovation in new development. Modular housing and technology implementation like automated parking were some of the examples that experts on the Mixed-Use Panel: Successful Designs for Live/Work/Play discussion at RealShare Apartments gave last week. The panel discussion was led by moderator Adam Artunian, VP at John Burns Real Estate Consulting; Daniel Gehman, studio director at Humphreys & Partners, Architects; and Simon Aftalion, development director at Markwood Enterprises.

“Boutique firms take on new practices with open arms, because we have to, and we are pushing the boundaries in a risk adverse way,” said Aftalion. Gehman agreed, adding that he is seeing more activity from boutique firms. “The exciting thing is that they will look at properties that bigger firms will pass over. They also bring patient capital and legacy properties,” he said on the panel, adding that they have different avenues of getting land sites than larger REITs and institutions and that they try new things that the larger players can’t because they are untested. “The boutique players break new ground, and it eventually gets incorporated into what everyone else is doing,” he said.

Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Borland is a freelance writer and editor living whose work has appeared in such publications as Travel + Leisure, Angeleno and Riviera Orange County.

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