Toll Brothers Apartment Living and its Northeast region team develop luxury multifamily offerings from Fairfield County, Connecticut, to New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. It’s a region with markets that have no shortage of competitors wanting to impress consumers with quality finishes and amenities. But the team has emerged as a leader in that space because of not only its offerings but also its unique approach to development and serving residents.
“It’s not only the design of the unit, the finishes, and the amenity space but how we operate our buildings with our maintenance staff, our building managers, and our leasing staff,” says Bradley Thompson, the director of development and construction.
Thompson, who came to the company in 2019, is charged with leading internal and external project teams through entitlement, permitting, construction, and lease-up development phases. “It’s a holistic approach of making sure we’re providing the best in-class design, service, and product.”
To do that, the Northeast team spends a lot of time trying to understand its target demographics and designing around those needs by leaning on data, feedback, and market trends to drive decisions. Those efforts have prompted choices to eliminate recycled air in response to resident concerns amid the spread of COVID-19. They’ve also prompted teams to adopt smaller appliance packages to make way for in-unit amenity space with USB plug-ins, outlets, countertops, and backdrops appropriate for Zoom calls as remote work opportunities became prominent.
As the team develops those kinds of features, there’s a critical synergy that takes place between development and operations staff that creates a continuous feedback loop, ensuring projects provide the kind of lifestyle residents are looking for.
“We are always checking in with our property management, our operations, and our lease-up teams about the saliant points our tenant base is looking at,” Bradley explains. “What are the things they’re saying when they’re going through a tour or in an operating asset? What gets used? It’s trying to make sure we have all the data to be able to provide what tenants need in these projects.
“And there’s not one person in our region who’s doing all of it,” he continues. “We’re a collection of really talented, unique, driven people in this company, and we really rely on that to get these things done. I’m proud to be part of it.”
Those aren’t the only traits that make the Northeast team standout. Just last year, the apartment living division was ranked as the 11th leading developer in the country and this year, it was bumped up to 6th. The team also stands on the shoulders of Toll Brother’s storied homebuilding division and has the unique opportunity of expanding the company’s legacy to new markets—including in its own backyard in Philadelphia.
There, you will find a shining example of the team’s ability to fulfill its market promises: Broad & Noble. It’s a 344-unit, mixed-use rental apartment community located in a historically significant area, slated to open fall 2023. It’s a 10-minute walk from city hall and the Center City financial corridor. It’s also neighbors to the former Philadelphia Inquirer building, which is now the police department, and to data centers that give internet access to people thousands of miles away.
The community will feature 16,176 square feet of amenity space and 10,440 square feet of street level retail. Some features include a fitness center; music, media, and podcast rooms; conservatory and private dining rooms; a yoga and cycling studio; a sky lounge; and a 2,500-square-foot rooftop deck.
The entire development is emblematic of different generations of architecture, blending the modern and the old.
“We wanted to inculcate ourselves into the neighborhood to look like something that had been here for a while and that it’s part of the neighborhood’s fabric,” Thompson says. “But at the same time, the modern parts of the building [are] identifying with what the community wants to be. It has grit and sass. It’s a place where a lot of artists frequent and host workshops. The whole development is intended to display this evolution.”
Thompson, who previously worked at Roseland Residential Trust as director of development for its Philadelphia portfolio, has been in development and construction since the 1990s.
“Bradley is a responsive and knowledgeable leader who understands our industry and the importance of making informed and expeditious decisions,” says Paul McDonald, president of McDonald Building Company. “The built environment has changed post-COVID. We’re forced to make decisions earlier in the development process than in previous years. Having an ‘educated consumer’ as your owner with years of experience allows us [to] tackle the issues affecting our industry to ensure success. With Bradley at the helm, we are confident the MBC and Toll Brothers partnership will result in a tremendously successful project.”
Thompson says that most development shops fit into two categories, but Toll Brothers Apartment Living has carved out a lane of its own.
“There’s almost two camps: one where the developer is into every detail, pushing costs at every turn, and another that’s more laissez-faire and is more of an interested third-party bystander,” he explains. “At Toll Brothers, we try to be involved in major concept design decisions but at the same time, we make sure we’re not stifling our design team’s creativity. We look for partners who value our input and our involvement. We want to be collaborative and make sure we’re providing the best value we can.”
McDonald Building Company’s success hinges on our ability to blend our construction expertise with a superior work ethic and trustworthy commitment to exceeding the owners’ expectations. For each project, we ensure each team is able to establish common goals upfront that allow each partner to perform at their best. Our “can do” attitude, combined with the experience and skills of our team members, helps empower us to consistently deliver outstanding results.
McDonald Building Company extends its services to projects in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, and Maryland/DC Metro and currently employs 50-plus full-time employees.