Urbane apartments are fun, funky, eclectic, well thought-out. People visiting us out for the first time typically come in knowing that we're a little different, but we're amazed at how many times we hear the same thing from them: "Wow, this is so much more than I expected!" ...We love that. It's exactly the reaction we want.
Urbane apartments come with modern design features and boutique-style amenities. We're talking hardwood floors, loft-style rolling doors, black-on-black appliances, a choice of wall colors and carpeting. ceramic, metal, granite ... you might even find vessel sinks and dual shower heads. We're welcoming a new generation of residents who have high expectations. We meet those expectations ... and then some.
HE WANTED IT ...
Like many who are born with an entrepreneurial spirit, Eric Brown was itchy in his corporate career. His specialty was development and construction--specifically, he built more than 17,000 apartment homes for the largest apartment management company in the Midwest, in places like metro Detroit, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Wowed by the new urban lofts going up in these cities, he began to notice the lack of similarly hip options for renters, particularly in southeastern Michigan. In 2003, he set out to change that.
HE GOT IT ...
Brown created Infill Inc., the investment and management machine behind Urbane, and quickly amassed a strong pool of talent. A tired apartment community on Maple Road in Troy was purchased and renovated, and people took to it. The following year, a dilapidated two-story building on Fairmont Street in Royal Oak was transformed from a half-occupied, squatter-plagued building into a charismatic, twenty-first century community--completely new apartments received brand-new hardwood floors, black-on-black appliances, loft-style sliding doors, and modern lighting.
By the time the third property, located just a throw from Fairmont, began to be transformed, metro Detroiters were beginning to take notice. Flexible living spaces allowed (and still do!) residents to customize their spaces into offices or guest rooms, select units were jazzed up with granite countertops and above-counter vessel sinks, and residents began to have the option of choosing the color of their walls and carpeting. So much more than just four white walls were offered, and people loved the customized spaces and attention to detail not offered in other apartments in the area. Occupancy rates soared.
In early 2006, two significant opportunities presented themselves--a much neglected property on Crooks Road, just south of 14 Mile, and the historic four-story building on Washington and Sixth Street in the heart of downtown Royal Oak were acquired. The award-winning architectural firm AZD Associates of Birmingham, Michigan, came on board, and a spunky new marketing and design team brought Urbane's youthful energy and uniqueness to its collateral and website.
... AND THEN SOME
Features and amenities considered truly "more than you expect" began to become standard-- free wireless internet was offered at nearly all the properties, a zen garden was conceived, boutique-style service began to take shape, and community partnerships took hold. A completely revamped, leading-edge website was developed, allowing for electronic applications, rent payments, and maintenance requests. Urbane's concierge service, coming in fourth quarter 2006, will enable residents to schedule pet or plant care while on vacation, arrange for dry cleaning pick-up or delivery, and much more.
The company's success is allowing an important focus on something deeply important to Brown and his team: developing a strong sense of community and environmental sustainability, or green building. A resident recycling program is in the works, the company's use of green construction products is being expanded, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-approved principles are being pursued.