Man on a multifamily mission

Author: Wendy Broffman
Published: September 2015

Aimco chairman and CEO Terry Considine is a man on a mission. "Not all jobs are missions, but providing a place where people can safely refresh and reconnect is satisfying in a way that my other businesses are not," he said.

Considine has held a variety of leadership positions in the business and political arenas and continues to run several companies, while still devoting time to philanthropic activities.

He was drawn to the multifamily industry while studying law at Harvard University in the late 1960s, when he established a REIT under the sponsorship of the Boston firm Cabot, Cabot and Forbes.

After the real estate crash of 1974, he formed the eponymous Considine Company, later known as The Cairn Company, and grew that business into one of the nation's largest property management firms.

In 1981, his interest in affairs of state led him to Colorado, where he entered the political sphere through his father-in-law, Howard "Bo" Callaway, the state's chairman of the Republican Party and served as US senator for his district from 1987 to 1992.

In 1987, Considine acquired a 75 percent interest in Denver-based apartment management firm McDermott, Stein and Ira Marketing Management (MSI), where he met Steve Ira, who would became one of Aimco's founders.

After assuming the MSI name and with Ira as president, the firm purchased Florida-based Property Asset Management (PAM) in 1988 and again took on the name of its latest acquisition.

PAM then merged with its largest client, Los Angeles-based fee manager PDI, Inc., run by Peter Kompaniez and Robert Lacey. The four men formed Aimco in 1994, raising nearly $170 million in the IPO and allocating some of the funds toward the purchase of 37 communities totaling 10,000 units spread across the Sunbelt states of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and Florida. Aimco focused on Class B properties, believing renters who could afford to live in Class A communities would opt to buy their own homes once rents became competitive with the price of a mortgage.

Aimco predominantly grew through mergers and acquisitions, the most important of which was the purchase of NHP, Inc., a developer/manager of affordable housing projects partially funded with low income housing tax credits. Other acquisitions included the 200-apartment community Foxchase Apartments, Chicago-based Ambassador Apartments and the property management division of Insignia Financial Group, based in South Carolina.

By 1998, Aimco was the nation's largest owner and manager of apartments with a market capitalization of nearly $3 billion.

Following the attacks on 9/11, Aimco aggressively continued to buy and sell assets. It purchased privately-owned Los Angeles-based Casden Properties in 2002, gaining 17,000 units in the deal. That same year, Aimco acquired the 4,000-unit Flatley portfolio of properties based in the Boston area.

After the real estate market crash of 2008, Aimco began a sweeping transformation of its business.

"The world is never static and Aimco is never at a fixed point. The reduction of the number of our properties is largely behind us now, but our business is always a question of being opportunistic and when opportunities present themselves we will pursue them," Considine told MHP in September.

He is extremely proud of Aimco's culture of personal responsibility and accountability for outcomes. "Work is an important part of life and it shouldn't be drudgery just to pay the bills. Our business is to provide the safe and tranquil homes our residents need to form relationships and connect with families and friends. In doing so, it's pretty easy to see that we are just abut the luckiest people that ever were," said Considine.

Meanwhile, Considine's family remains the center of his non-business life, including a relationship with a person he quips has been scientifically identified as the best 14-month-old granddaughter ever.

"She is visiting this week and this morning we spent an hour climbing stairs, emailing together and reading," he said.

Lucky, indeed.