The IREM Innovator Award recognizes a real estate management company for the successful implementation of a new, original, creative, or advanced program or initiative that has made an impact on the real estate management profession. This may include any technology, customer service, marketing, or sustainability program or initiative that has transformed the company as a whole, a team within the company, or the tenant, resident, or client experience.
This year, at the IREM Global Summit held in Dallas, Texas, this month, RangeWater was chosen as the 2022 Innovator of the Year.
As developers scramble to capture market share, they have to get creative and create communities and spaces that are unique from the competition.
One savvy team within RangeWater realized that they had a blank canvas to play with: the available space in the common areas and outside amenities. They could use these areas to draw interest in their communities by installing public art. They could also nurture artists’ careers that were being deeply impacted financially by the pandemic.
RangeWater Real Estate, therefore, created a new artist-in-residence program. The business goal was to attract residents, and the result has been on par with today’s blue-chip art market — intense tenant interest and skyrocketing property values.
The societal goal was to create beautiful communities that could be enjoyed inside and out, not just by residents but local citizens, all while supporting up-and-coming artists.
RangeWater’s investment has paid off both in terms of rapid lease-ups and rising property values, as well as exposure for the artists.
“While we take great pride in our best-in-class features and amenities, we see boundless potential in what we can offer our tenants,” says Tracy Bowers, executive managing director of RangeWater Real Estate. “By investing in experiential art, we’re able to tap into the culture of the growing creative class and provide a truly compelling and immersive experience that adds a special element to living in a RangeWater community. And, we’ve seen a meaningful return on our investment with rapid lease-ups so we’re delighted that while we’re supporting artists, it also makes good business sense.”
RangeWater’s artist-in-residence program provides artists – ranging from visual, augmented reality, culinary and architectural – with a place to live and payment in exchange for site-specific art that connects the developments with the community.
The program kicked off at the start of the pandemic when in-person interactions were put on pause. A team of creatives within the company sought to create impactful activations that would attract potential tenants and connect with current residents, creating a stronger community. In addition, they hoped to expand the canvas for artists to showcase their works on a large and highly accessible scale.
Beginning with its Skylark development in Atlanta, RangeWater tapped Eric9, Lacey Longino, and Megan Mosholder to install art in this garden-style community. Today, the art is a landmark for passersby walking along the city’s Atlanta BeltLine Trail, which is under development with the ultimate goal to connect 45 Atlanta neighborhoods – the art was featured in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about art not to miss on the iconic trail.
Based on the success at The Skylark, RangeWater set its sights on The Samford Glenn in Auburn, Alabama, where the art team selected the local artist RC Hagans to create a visual stream of altered consciousness, transforming a hallway into a “portal of experience.”
Back in Atlanta, four more projects are in play. At The Battery Atlanta, the Atlanta Braves development, The Spectator’s “A Seat At The Table,” presents an immersive dining experience. A collaboration between Chef Chad H. and Maya Wade combines a live cooking demonstration with video/animated projections for a multi-sensory dining experience.
Also along the Atlanta BeltLine trail, at Maverick, artist Courtney Brooks installed the “Journey of a Black Girl,” a site-specific fiber art piece as well as a mural of a bird inspired by its logo. In addition, they’re planning to install a sculpture by Petie Parker.
In Flowery Branch, Georgia, artist Eryn Eddy created “Folksong,” a series of master classes in writing and the importance of journaling that residents can attend. In addition, Jeremy Wayne Dean installed a 432 megahertz resonance that taps into the vibrational frequency of nature.
Finally, at The Vivian in Atlanta, also along the Atlanta BeltLine, the artist Peter Lombardi will build a pocket park as a learning space to host environmental seminars. Participating artists are also invited to commit six hours per month to teach art in local schools.
“It’s a great way to close the loop between our community values, our company values, and the lived experience,” says Steven Shores, RangeWater Chairman, and CEO.