Local Market Expert Flourishing (Memphis Business Journal)

From the start, Mark Fogelman knew what it took to be successful.

“I was greatly influenced by my father’s achievements and his overall passion and entrepreneurial approach to the business,” says Fogelman, who worked for the family business during summer breaks.

His father, Avron Fogelman, was a titan of Memphis business throughout the 1980s.

You’ve likely driven the eastern stretch of I-240 that bears his name or visited the Fogelman School of Business and Economics at The University of Memphis.

Sports fans will remember the elder Fogelman as the one-time owner of the Kansas City Royals, who won their only World Series in 1985 under his ownership.

More hard core fans may remember his baseball, soccer or basketball teams, the Memphis Chicks, Memphis Rogues and Memphis Tams.

Mark Fogelman joined his brother, Rick Fogelman, current CEO of Fogelman Management Group, and his father in the business in 1994.

Now, the Fogelman family business manages more than 20,000 apartment units in 245 cities across 13 states, making it one of the largest privately owned apartment operators in the industry.

In Memphis alone, Fogelman manages 14 properties totaling more than 4,000 units, or approximately 20 percent of its total portfolio.

“Our niche is primarily newer vintage communities, although we do manage a variety of properties as part of investments or client relationships that date back more than 25 years in some instances,” Mark Fogelman says. “Our niche in Memphis has been to fulfill the role of ‘local market experts’ to our many partners and clients who have chosen to invest in Memphis, although they are based as far away as New York and California. We continuously promote the benefits of Memphis as an investment option to many out-of-town real estate groups.”

Still, he believes that in the Southeast, Atlanta, Nashville and Birmingham are the strongest overall apartment markets.

Currently, Fogelman has 3,000 units in Nashville and Atlanta and two properties in Birmingham, with a plan to break ground on another development soon.

For Fogelman, one very important factor outweighs all others when evaluating a property.

“Location is always the most important factor, as this can never be changed,” he says. “Beyond that, ‘curb appeal’ and cleanliness in order to ensure a strong customer experience.”

Location is something that can turn a mediocre property into an exceptional one, but Fogelman says amenities like granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and garden tubs, as well as fitness facilities that are comparable to what you would find at a fitness center, are what separate the luxury properties from the pack.

In his 20-year career in apartment property management, he has seen some huge market swings, but unlike some other types of real estate, the recession was actually a positive for the apartment industry and Fogelman Management.

“Our residents began to greatly value the flexibility of a 12-month lease versus the long-term commitment and stringent terms of a mortgage,” says Fogelman. “We are finding that our customers today greatly value mobility, and as newer and nicer apartment communities are being built, many traditional homeowners are now choosing to rent.”

But if he was forced to chose to live in one of his own properties in Memphis, what would Fogelman choose?

“I would most likely choose to live in either The Edge, in East Memphis, or Metro 67 Downtown,” he says.