2Hopkins First Apartment Community to Add Refrigerated Lockers

2Hopkins First Apartment Community to Add Refrigerated Lockers

Baltimore-based Community Teams With Silicon Valley-based Smiota to Add Cutting-Edge Amenity

BALTIMORE – Aug. 22, 2017 – LIVEbe, a premier apartment developer and operator dedicated to delivering distinct apartment homes within connected communities, has announced the addition of refrigerated lockers to its 2Hopkins apartment community in Downtown Baltimore.

The luxury high-rise, featuring 183 apartment homes, is the first apartment community in the U.S. to implement the Smiota PoD refrigerated lockers. Produced by Smiota, Inc., the lockers serve as a premier service amenity, allowing residents to utilize food delivery services and have round-the-clock access to their shipments via smartphone.

“There has been an uptick in demand for food-delivery services, and we’ve closely observed the trends of companies such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh and Instacart,” said Elaine De Lude, vice president of LIVEbe. “2Hopkins is using an innovative solution to conquer a real challenge, and we believe this is a state-of-the-art amenity that will provide a true benefit to our residents.”

Eight refrigerated and 62 dry package lockers from Smiota, all controlled by Smiota’s Locker Operating System and an intuitive unified interface, were installed at 2Hopkins in early August. The refrigerated lockers are designed to accept fresh produce without insulated packaging, offer chill to frozen temperatures and customizable colors that can match the interior design of any community.

With 2Hopkins situated in the heart of downtown, residents do not have seamless access to nearby grocery stores and many choose a vehicle-free lifestyle. The refrigerated lockers eliminate many of these challenges. Another common obstacle with food-delivery services is wavering product and courier availability, which makes it difficult to produce accurate delivery time windows. With refrigerated lockers, residents don’t have to be home for delivery drivers to secure and safely store food that needs to be refrigerated.

“There is a much bigger time window for delivery since the resident can order online and the couriers can deliver fresh produce, milk and eggs directly into refrigerated Smiota PoD,” said Waheed Rasheed, cofounder and chief marketing officer for Smiota. “Residents get the convenience of not waiting at home for the delivery and couriers save time by aggregating all orders and delivering once. The lockers also provide an ecofriendly method of storage, as Styrofoam and dry-ice packaging aren’t needed to keep the goods fresh, thus reducing waste.”

With ecommerce projected to surge 125 percent in the next 5 years and surpass $4 trillion in annual revenue by 2020, on-demand food delivery will play a big role in the ever-growing trend. By 2020, more than 50 billion packages will be delivered annually, and apartment communities will account for a hefty portion of that total.

The National Multifamily Housing Council recently revealed that package management solutions are the No. 1 sought-after amenity beyond location.

“We’re super excited because this really fits the level of service we’re aiming to provide our residents,” said Jennifer Rucker, vice president of operations for LIVEbe. “It also breaks the mold of multifamily developments where many insist things can only be done a certain way.”

2Hopkins already is among the most amenity-rich communities in the area. The community features stunning views of the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows, 21st-floor resident lounge and fitness center, yoga studio, state-of-the-art bike storage and repair area, pet spa with large and small dog areas, a community host/concierge, garage parking and resident-curated events. The penthouse level features remote controlled blinds and special corridor designer finishes.

About LIVEbe

Headquartered in Rockville, Md., LIVEbe was founded in 2016 and is helmed by multifamily veterans Elaine De Lude and Jennifer Rucker. LIVEbe is the multi-family division of Berman Enterprises and was established with a specific focus on fostering a sense of community by offering an unparalleled living experience for residents and employing LIVEAmbassadors who are forward thinking and passionate about providing exceptional customer service.  

About Berman Enterprises

Berman Enterprises is a multi-generational real estate and investment company founded on the principles of honesty, integrity, hard work, hands-on management, community and philanthropy. Employing a conservative financial strategy, Berman Enterprises has experienced sustained growth since brothers Melvin J. Berman and I. Wolford Berman founded the company in 1952.

Today, the Company and its affiliates own and manage more than 9 million square feet of commercial office, retail, industrial/flex and residential properties in Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.  The Company also owns several hundred acres of developable land representing thousands of units of residential and hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial and retail development potential.

About Smiota

Located in Pleasanton, California, Smiota Inc. provides a cloud based platform, locker operating system, applications and services that facilitate secure exchange of physical goods across all industries and walks of life. Smiota platform provides complete chain of custody, security, convenience, real-time analytics, and reporting.  These features and more are available as secure APIs (Application Program Interface) for partners and third-party developers to use with their own custom solutions. PODs for refrigerated and dry packages, Mailroom automation app, package room automation, recipient presence apps and many other applications are already running Smiota operating system on Smiota platform. Visit www.smiota.com for details or contact Waheed Rasheed at wrasheed@smiota.com.

Media contact

Elaine De Lude
240-621-3200
edelude@LIVEbe.com

LIVEbe Makes Commitment to Downtown Baltimore

LIVEbe Makes Commitment to Downtown Baltimore

2Hopkins Community Donates to Baltimore’s Rebuild Together, Hosts Photo Contest

BALTIMORE – July 21, 2017 – LIVEbe, a new, premier apartment developer and operator dedicated to delivering distinct apartment homes within connected communities, made a financial contribution to the Baltimore Chapter of Rebuild Together on Thursday as part of its Beauty in Baltimore contest.

LIVEbe, which recently joined Downtown Baltimore with the development of 2Hopkins, a 183-unit, high-rise apartment community centrally located in downtown, honored contest winner Bill King at a recognition event Thursday at 2 Hopkins Plaza. King won the Instagram contest that featured more than 600 entries.

Contest participants submitted photos from within the city to Instagram with the hashtag #BeautyInBmore. The winner received a monetary prize and LIVEbe matched the amount with a donation to the Baltimore chapter of Rebuild Together. 

“We’re all in for Baltimore, and judging by the photo contests, the city’s residents are as well,” said Elaine De Lude, vice president of LIVEbe. “They not only seem to feel the vibe of the city, but also strive to become a part of it and take immense pride in the rebuilding effort. At 2Hopkins, we are committed to being an important part of that pulse and a good neighbor that truly encourages a sense of community.”

The recognition event included free drinks, live music from Janine Wilson and featured 100 posters of the best photos from the contest. LIVEbe announced contest winners and runners-up between songs and set breaks, and a background slideshow continually rotated through the multitude of submitted images.

2Hopkins is located in an area amidst a complete revitalization. Extremely resident-friendly and aiming to offer a quintessential downtown Baltimore experience, 2Hopkins is one of the most cutting-edge communities in the area. It is the first residential property on the East Coast to implement refrigerated lockers as part of a top-of-the-line amenity package. That includes stunning views of the city from the floor-to-ceiling windows, a pet spa with large and small dog areas, a community host/concierge and garage parking. The penthouse level features remote controlled blinds and special corridor designer finishes.

As part of its effort to highlight a sense of community, 2Hopkins will fund resident-curated events, such as book clubs, wine tasting and fitness groups. The community is also a growing social hub, with kickball leagues and additional communal activities sprouting up on a daily basis.

The Beauty in Baltimore contest was another step in cultivating a sense of pride for the downtown corridor. King’s winning photo depicted a bicyclist riding at night at a waterfront park with the city in the background. Runners-up were Chris Cunningham, Antoinette M. Bynum and Brian George.

“Innovative redevelopment projects like 2Hopkins really have this neighborhood going," said King, a City Center resident who is president of the City Center Residents Association. “It’s part of an effort to convert Baltimore's most iconic and historic office buildings into state-of-the-art residences, which has brought a modern flair to the old central business district. The Beauty in Baltimore contest was an awesome idea and a great opportunity to explore the beauty all around us in this city, both old and new."   

About LIVEbe

Headquartered in Rockville, Md., LIVEbe was founded in 2016 and is helmed by multifamily veterans Elaine De Lude and Jennifer Rucker. LIVEbe is the multi-family division of Berman Enterprises and was established with a specific focus on fostering a sense of community by offering an unparalleled living experience for residents and employing LIVEAmbassadors who are forward thinking and passionate about providing exceptional customer service. 

 About Berman Enterprises

Berman Enterprises is a multi-generational real estate and investment company founded on the principles of honesty, integrity, hard work, hands-on management, community and philanthropy. Employing a conservative financial strategy, Berman Enterprises has experienced sustained growth since brothers Melvin J. Berman and I. Wolford Berman founded the company in 1952.

Today, the Company and its affiliates own and manage more than 9 million square feet of commercial office, retail, industrial/flex and residential properties in Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.  The Company also owns several hundred acres of developable land representing thousands of units of residential and hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial and retail development potential.

Media contact

Elaine De Lude
240-621-3200
edelude@livebe.com

'Charles Center change-up': A sneak peek of the renovated 2Hopkins Plaza

'Charles Center change-up': A sneak peek of the renovated 2Hopkins Plaza

From Baltimore Business Journal by Melody Simmons

The lobby holds modern fixtures, bronze and marble accented structures, tan concrete pillars and floor-to-ceiling windows. In the world of the ongoing downtown Baltimore metamorphosis, it's a unique and minimalist statement with a tinge of local history.

At 2Hopkins Plaza, a $50 million conversion of the former PNC Bank building into 183-luxury apartments and revamped office space for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is nearing completion with the first wave of tenants already moved in.

"It's the old meets the new," said Karl Barney, the community director of the property who will manage the 22-story building and glass pavilion outside once it fully opens in September. "It's a Charles Center change-up."

The Brutalist-style building is a landmark with a striking cubic exterior that some love and others hate. It was nearly totally vacant when the property was bought at auction for $5.1 million by Rockville-based Berman Enterprises in 2015, but soon will be a busy hub once again. The property was first listed in 2014.

2Hopkins was first built in 1969 for the Mercantile Deposit and Trust Co., which later sold to PNC Bank. The downtown landmark was conceived as a key part of Baltimore's downtown renaissance at Charles Center under the direction of former Mayor William Donald Schaefer, which regenerated the city's hub and later led to redevelopment of the inner harbor and, later, points east.

Today, the Hopkins Plaza area is getting a total re-do with a newly renovated outdoor plaza and elaborate steel fountain outside near the federal office building that is located next door.

Inside the redevelopment, the new studio, one-and two-bedroom apartments at 2Hopkins are located on floors 11-21. They have been retrofitted into former bank office space after the building was totally gutted a year and a half ago. Today, the corridors boast wide, carpeted walkways and hold a series of 8-foot front doors on each floor. Modern light fixtures and bronze-framed windows offer a glimpse of the city's skyline from the elevator bank area on each floor. Rents range from $1,224 to $2,500 per month.

All units have modern kitchens and bathrooms, wood floors and ceiling fans. There are close to 300 parking spaces in an underground garage and amenities include a rooftop gym, community room and a possible rooftop pool are in the works. Two indoor dog parks — one for large dogs, one for small dogs — will be installed in the basement next to a dog spa. A restaurant is being planned for the former bank lobby located off of the main lobby on the ground level.

The top three levels at 2 Hopkins are considered the penthouse with upgrades that include electric UVA-protected window shades and blue-tooth-capacity shower heads (to stream music into your daily splash) and views of the city that include a bird's eye into home plate at Oriole Park and the step-ladder signature of the Pandora building nearby. One couple from North Carolina pre-leased a corner penthouse two-bedroom unit from photographs, Berman said.

"We have taken the historical element, updated it and kept true to Charles Center," Barney said during a tour. "We're here to stay and we're trying to build something substantial to last over time."

On Tuesday, Barney used a large picture book "The Living City" to help show off the history of Hopkins Plaza. He said he is amazed at the modern "Jackie Kennedy" style and history of the structure that soon could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places based on an application recently filed with the U.S. Department of the Interior by new owners Berman Enterprises.

Nearby, there is a pile of rubble where the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre once stood. The structure next door was razed two years ago to make way for a new development that may proceed once a legal fight ends between developer Howard Brown and a parking garage owner.

The 2 Hopkins apartments will fully open in mid to late September when a red neon sign lights up the 21st floor identifying the project, Barney said.

By then the Corps of Army Engineers will be closer to moving 600 workers into their new digs in 143,000 square feet of space on floors 1-10 under a 15-year lease.

"We are very excited about this building," said Adam Berman, a vice president with Berman Enterprises, a Rockville developer. The company also purchased 10 Hopkins in the plaza during the October auction. Berman Enterprises used historic tax credits and high-performance market rate tax credits "to make the numbers work," he said.

"We believe in the area," Berman added, of the project, the company's first in Baltimore.

The smaller pavilion building located outside 2Hopkins at 10 Hopkins Plaza totals 24,000 square feet and Berman executives are exploring a possible grocery store for the site like Trader Joe's, Barney said.

Barney pointed out that the building's outer skin of solid concrete was poured onsite by workers and erected piecemeal with scaffolding. The project in the 1970s was hailed as a new benchmark of the downtown renaissance as the ultra-modern structure designed by local legend Charles Brickbauer along with partner Warren Peterson took hold on the skyline.

The redevelopment was designed by BCT Architects and Phyllis Hartman of HDG Interior Architects.

"When we visited it and toured it, we realized it's an up-and-coming neighborhood, just steps from the Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Federal Hill," Berman said Tuesday. "And there is parking underneath. Then we went inside and saw floor-to-ceiling windows and we started thinking about residential conversion. Looking at the other apartments on the market nearby, we can offer things that nobody else can."

Glen Oaks Apartments wins accolades

Glen Oaks Apartments wins accolades

The "ApartmentRatings Top Rated" award recognizes approximately 5% of communities listed on ApartmentRatings and acknowledges those with outstanding resident satisfaction. 

Glen Oaks received the award based off of reviews and the following criterium:

  • Community received a recommend score of 70% or higher
  • Community has at least 10 reviews in total
  • Community received 5 reviews from the award year

Physical awards were sent to the property for them to showcase their dedication to the resident experience.

Elaine De Lude featured in PMA Bulletin

Elaine De Lude featured in PMA Bulletin

Industry publication, Property Managers Association Bulletin asked LIVEbe's own Elaine De Lude:

Question of the Month: How do you keep your team members motivated to deliver the best service possible to your residents?

Elaine De Lude
Vice President, LIVEbe Communities

We hire for the best attitude. We look for individuals who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do and who demonstrate a pattern of continuous improvement and initiative.

These LIVEbe ambassadors are typically self-motivated and respond well to recognition and praise. Remember to recognize the small achievements/milestones as well as the larger achievements/milestones. All are equally important.

At LIVEbe Communities Jennifer Rucker and I are trying to create an environment where our LIVEbe ambassadors are excited to come to work, make a difference in their workplace and create special experiences for our customers. We try to make each LIVEbe ambassador feel welcomed on their first day by creating positive first impressions and keeping up their enthusiasm from the start. Jennifer and I constantly seek out opportunities to create positive experiences for our associates. We believe that this translates into not just great service, but also a commitment to a higher level of hospitality.

Jennifer Rucker Featured in PMA Bulletin

Jennifer Rucker Featured in PMA Bulletin

Industry publication, Property Managers Association Bulletin asked LIVEbe's own Jennifer Rucker:

Question of the Month: What do you do to encourage Lease Renewals at your Community?

Jennifer Rucker
Vice President of Operations, LIVEbe Communities

Renewals reflect the quality of service an organization provides to its customers. At LIVEbe, our goal is to meet and exceed residents’ expectations by creating opportunities to surprise and delight our customers. By hiring associates who are passionate about doing the right thing ­– providing out-of-the-ordinary customer service and creating a truly connected community – we are able to reduce resident turnover and, as a result, increase the number of resident renewals.

When a resident moves in to one of our communities, they become a community member, not just a resident. We believe in empowering passionate LIVEbe Ambassadors to provide community members with an unparalleled living experience with a specific focus on fostering a strong sense of community. LIVEbe strives to create strong, connected communities that support members’ personal and professional development. We want to encourage community members to live in a way that promotes and supports interconnectivity, sense of belonging and strong, healthy relationships. This is a key factor that drives lease renewals.

Former Obama Adviser Jake Fingert Joins LIVEbe sister company Camber Creek

Former Obama Adviser Jake Fingert Joins LIVEbe sister company Camber Creek

VENTURE CAPITAL

Polina Marinova

Mar 21, 2017

After a three-year stint serving the Obama Administration, Jake Fingert is starting a new chapter: venture capital. The former White House senior policy adviser for infrastructure has joined real estate-focused venture capital firm Camber Creek as a partner.

At the White House, Fingert served on the National Economic Council and managed the Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide plan to increase infrastructure investment through collaborations with the private sector. He also led the White House “Smart Cities” program, which aims to infuse new technology in U.S. cities.

Prior to joining the Obama team, Fingert held an executive position at the General Services Administration where he managed a 375-million-square-foot real estate portfolio and the government’s real estate acquisitions program.

Fingert says the White House taught him to “think like a skeptic but act like an entrepreneur.” In other words, he was trained “to dig deep and understand people’s motivations” before moving forward with a new initiative.

Camber Creek took note and spent 2016 recruiting Fingert to join their firm, which invests primarily in real estate tech companies. Fingert’s network and connections with government officials made him an attractive candidate.

“A lot of the action you’re able to take at the White House is by calling people up and saying, ‘Hey we’re interested in getting this done, will you help,’” Fingert says. “In venture capital, the same is true -- we tap into the network aggressively to understand people’s perspective on the market and the company.”

Although venture capital may seem like an unexpected next step for someone like Fingert, it’s not uncommon. Josh Miller, the White House's first director of product, joined Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital as an “entrepreneur-in-residence” last month. And let’s not forget that former treasury secretary Tim Geithner joined private equity firm Warburg-Pincus back in 2013.

Obama’s administration has been particularly venture-friendly. The former president appointed famed Kleiner Perkins VC John Doerr to his economic advisory board, launched the Startup America campaign, and Obama himself hinted he might be interested in becoming a VC.

“The venture ecosystem has been such a valuable source of innovation in this country,” Fingert says. “It’s only natural that you continue to see more and more collaboration between future administrations and the venture community.”

Source: Fortune

More Multifamily Units, Affordable Housing Underway in Baltimore

More Multifamily Units, Affordable Housing Underway in Baltimore

New apartments are coming to downtown Baltimore and the Station North Arts and Entertainment District this year as the latest example of the city's growing multifamily market.

Ernst Valery said he expects the Nelson Kohl Apartments in Station North to begin leasing in November and December. His firm, SA+A Development, is building 103 apartments with a yoga studio, an art gallery and a Milk & Honey Market. Valery and his wife operate the café and market, which closed its Mount Vernon location to move to the new spot. The developer will allocate up to 20 units to artists, who will receive discounts on their rent and have their work showcased in common areas and the gallery. The regular rents will range between $1K and $1,800/month for studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments.

SA+A has also formed a joint venture with Stratford Capital Group to renovate two affordable senior housing apartment buildings in Baltimore. Located in West Baltimore's Harlem Park neighborhood, the 151-unit St. James Terrace Apartments will wrap up a $25M renovation in about a year. The building will undergo a complete overhaul, with new elevators, kitchens, plumbing and electrical systems.

"It'll be very involved because the building hasn't been renovated in 40-plus years," Valery said. The $16M renovation of the 107-unit Park Height Apartments will finish in 12 to 15 months, with new roofing, energy-efficient windows, carpeting, appliances and cabinets. Valery will discuss his multifamily projects at Bisnow's 7th Annual State of the Market panel March 30 at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore.

Berman Enterprises' conversion of 2 Hopkins Plaza into an apartment building is moving forward. The first units will be move-in ready in July, said Elaine Delude, vice president of the Rockville developer's new apartment management division LIVEbe. The 183 apartments will occupy floors 11 to 21 with studios, one- and two-bedroom units above 330 parking spots. Apartments will rent for between $1,300 and $2,600/month. What makes the project unique compared to other multifamily dwellings, Delude said, is the first 10 floors will hold offices for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which signed a 15-year lease. The federal government will occupy 143K SF starting in 2018.

Located in the heart of downtown, 2 Hopkins is across the street from Royal Farms Arena and two blocks from the Inner Harbor. It faces a central courtyard that will hopefully be reinvigorated with events, Delude said. The apartments' features include floor-to-ceiling windows that offer city views, quartz countertops and recessed lighting. Amenities include a hotel-style concierge service, a resident lounge, a dog run area, telecommuting spaces and a bike repair station. The property management firm also hopes to make connections among residents. For example, LIVEbe might connect a resident who wants to learn about the area's history with someone who is knowledgeable about that. "What can we do to make a connected community?" De Lude said. The division manages two other Berman properties: the 463-unit Glen Oaks Apartments in Greenbelt and the 278-unit the Remy in Lanham.

One reason Baltimore is flush with so many new multifamily developments is because developers are taking advantage of the city's residential tax credit, Ballard Spahr managing partner Jon Laria said. Baltimore is currently weighing whether to extend that credit for another 10 years. "It's essential to maintain the momentum on market-rate residential," Laria said. City leaders are also trying to make the city more friendly to alternative methods of transportation. Laria, who will also speak at Bisnow's State of the Market, is chairman of Baltimore's Bicycle Advisory Commission. The city launched a bike-share program last year and recently announced an expansion of the original plan, with a total of 465 bikes in 50 stations. The goal is to also create a network of bike lanes. "The city has been trying to play catch over the last couple of years to have an alternate mode of transportation," Laria said.

Source: Biznow