New construction can be full of energy and excitement, but a renovation and rebrand brings a completely different set of emotions and experiences. The Lofts at Uptown Altamonte has been a part of the Epoch portfolio for 13 years and has enjoyed great success, with consistently high occupancy, a robust resident retention rate and a stellar onsite team lead by one of Epoch’s most tenured Community Manager’s, Michelle Ervin.
When the opportunity came to sell or reinvest their share of The Lofts at Uptown, Epoch was eager to reinvest. With a new partner in place ready to make their mark, the decision to give The Lofts at Uptown the makeover it deserved was finalized. Originally developed in the early 2000’s, the property was ahead of its time, with larger floor plans, an impressive mid-rise style, an ample parking garage and an unbeatable location that only became more desirable as the area developed. Fast forward to 2019 and the competition grew as new communities were popping up all around the market. Although The Lofts at Uptown had a remarkable reputation and often times had past residents return, shiny new fixtures and finishes were becoming a challenge to compete with.
Working with several design partners, the team chose new exterior building paint colors, interior hallway paint colors and new interior hallway carpeting. In addition, all the apartment homes received upgraded wood-plank style flooring throughout the main living areas, white kitchen cabinets, granite countertops in the kitchen and baths, pendant lighting and a fresh coat of a neutral gray paint color throughout.
The community not only underwent a physical transformation, but also a brand rediscovery as part of the reintroduction to the market. A thorough discovery process lead to relevancy as well as being true to The Lofts at Uptown’s identity, as two main areas of focus for the rebranding efforts. Keeping the well-known name but developing a fresh new logo and vibrant color palette gave way to an everlasting campaign concept. This new campaign concept is brought to life through new collateral, stationary and a brand new custom developed website. As all the pieces come together, the new brand is expected to debut this fall.
We had the opportunity to have a short Q&A session with Michelle for an inside look at the typical day to day for a Community Manager onsite. As previously mentioned, Michelle is one of our most tenured employees, starting her career at Epoch Residential in 2001. It was a traditional classified ad for a Leasing Consultant position that initially peaked Michelle’s interest. Bentley Park at Timucuan, now known as Bell Timucuan Apartments is where she was introduced to the multifamily industry and began to make her mark as a Leasing Consultant. Over time, Michelle not only moved to various properties, she was also promoted to Leasing Manager, Assistant Manager, and ultimately to Community Manager.
A typical day for Michelle begins with opening her dashboard in Yardi, the property’s management system, where she can monitor the scheduled move ins and move outs, among many other tasks and activities. Of course, checking e-mails is at the top of the to-do list every morning as well. A daily meeting with the Maintenance Supervisor to discuss open work orders and a property walk also make up Michelle’s daily routine. She loves her job as the Community Manager because no day is the same, something new (and maybe a little chaotic) happens every day.
However, Michelle isn’t the only tenured Epoch employee at The Lofts at Uptown; Assistant Manager Cassandra Sheppard and Michelle have worked together at several Epoch communities for 16 years. A seasoned leasing team rounds out the staff onsite at The Lofts. So, what is Michelle’s secret to a great team? Her goal is for everyone to walk into work with a sense of pride and excellence as well as to promote an open line of communication and encourage trust! She likes to manage by sharing her knowledge and giving employees the tools and resources to accomplish things independently and most of all, have fun!
How did Michelle handle the renovation? The most challenging part of the renovation was keeping residents informed and most importantly, happy. It was a difficult time because several projects were being worked on simultaneously, causing a lot of dust, noise and discomfort for the residents. In addition, there were a lot of new faces onsite due to the multitude of contractors working on the renovation. Michelle has relied on email and text messaging for continuous communication to keep residents up to date and at ease. As the renovation wraps up and the new website is almost ready to launch, the residents and staff are looking forward to enjoying the enhancements that make them proud to call The Lofts home.