Category Descriptions

NAHB’s Multifamily Pillars of the Industry Awards program highlights creative development concepts, innovative financing strategies, great design and superior management and marketing in the apartment and condo marketplace.

2017 Multifamily Pillars Eligibility

Apartment and condo communities or marketing activities that pertain to a condo or rental apartment community that first became available for sale or for rent after Jan. 1, 2014, may enter.

Exclusions

Previous award winners are not eligible to apply in a category which they had won.

Exception: Multifamily Development Firm and Property Management Firm may enter again after a one-year waiting period.

Category Descriptions

Below are brief descriptions or characteristics used to identify projects in each category. Please note that the descriptions are kept short due to the creativity and variability across multifamily developments.


Developer Awards - Developer Awards encompass the full spectrum of market-rate and for-sale multifamily products ranging from garden, mid-rise and high-rise apartments and condos to adaptive reuse, student housing, mixed-use communities, green building concepts and more. Winning entries are automatically nominated for the Multifamily Community of the Year Award: the Multifamily Pillars Awards’ top honor.  

Best Garden Apartment Community (four stories or less)

A garden apartment complex is traditionally a cluster of low-rise buildings, no more than four stories, on a single parcel of land. Garden apartment complexes often feature exterior pathways and breezeways and open lawns or green space. A parking lot, or a series of small lots located throughout the complex, is common. Parking may be covered or uncovered.

Best Low-Rise Apartment Community (non-garden, five stories or less)

Low-rise non-garden style apartment complexes are traditionally one building or a small complex of buildings. The building often features elevators and units are accessed from interior hallways. Green space may be from an interior courtyard and parking is usually below ground.

Best Mid-Rise Apartment Community (six-nine stories)

Mid-rise apartment complexes are traditionally one building or a small complex of buildings. The buildings feature an elevator with units typically accessed from interior hallways. Nominees in this category will range from six to nine stories in height exclusive of any parking.

Best High-Rise Apartment Community (10+ stories)

High-rise apartment complexes are one-building developments that are 10 stories or greater. The buildings feature an elevator with units typically accessed from interior hallways. Nominees in this category will be 10 stories or greater in height exclusive of any parking.

Best Condominium Community

Condominium communities consist of units that are purchased and owned rather than rented. Best Condominium Community can feature either garden, low-rise or high-rise style buildings.

Best Student Housing Rental Apartment Community

Student housing communities are designed to accommodate the needs and lifestyle of college students. They are typically located in close proximity to a college or university and offer amenities that are specifically geared towards college students.

Best Military or Veterans Housing *NEW*

Military or veterans housing is housing that is created specifically for either active duty military members and their families or veterans who have served the United States during times of conflict. The housing can be either short-term, transitional, for-rent, or for-sale housing that serves this brave population.

Best 55+ Multifamily Community *NEW*

55+ multifamily communities are specifically designed to cater to the needs of boomers and beyond. Developments can be either apartment or condominium (garden, low-, mid-, or high-rise) and can be either market-rate housing or affordable.

Best Mixed-Use Community

A mixed-use community blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional and/or industrial uses. A mixed-use development seamlessly integrates the physical and functionality of those differing communities while providing pedestrian connections. Mixed-use development can take the form of a single building, a city block or entire neighborhoods.

Best Adaptive Reuse Community (from non-residential product to rental apartments)

Adaptive reuse communities are apartments which have been created from the re-purposing or reuse of an old site or building which was not originally built or designed to provide housing, such as warehouses, factories and schools.   

Best Repositioning of a Multifamily Asset

Best repositioning is looking for multifamily assets where the owner or property manager has successfully changed the position of the property in the marketplace; this is also often linked to adding value to the project. Repositioning often includes modifications to the physical appearance, the operations or the general attitude surrounding the property.

Best Example of Green Building Concepts

Green building concepts refers to both the structure and the use of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. Green building concepts often earn certifications such as NGBS or LEED.

Best Community Amenities (includes Clubhouse)

Community amenities are features of a building whose existence increase the value or desirability of that property. An amenity can be either tangible, such as a swimming pool, walking trails, or gym; or intangible, such as proximity to a local school or supermarket.


Affordable Awards - Affordable Awards encompass products ranging from Affordable Apartment Community, Acquisition/Rehabilitation, Creative Financing, Workforce Housing and more. Winning entries in the Affordable Award community categories are automatically nominated for the Multifamily Community of the Year Award: the Multifamily Pillars Awards’ top honor.  

Best Affordable Apartment Community (Up to 100 units)

Affordable apartment communities are defined as apartment developments where the residents earn no more than 60% of the average median income of the metropolitan statistical area. These apartment complexes are often developed with the use of Low Income Housing Tax Credits and/or other federal/state subsidies. Nominees in this category offer 100 units or less.  

Best Affordable Apartment Community (Over 100 units)

Affordable apartment communities are defined as apartment developments where the residents earn no more than 60% of the average median income of the metropolitan statistical area. These apartment complexes are often developed with the use of Low Income Housing Tax Credits and/or other federal/state subsidies. Nominees in this category offer 101 units or more.

Best Acquisition/Rehabilitation of an Affordable Apartment Community 

An acquisition/rehabilitation of an affordable project can refer to either a building that was previously apartment housing (under a different owner) or was something else entirely, such as a school or factory, and is now being repurposed for affordable housing. Nominees in this category will offer 100 units or less.

Best Resident Services at an Affordable Apartment Community

Resident services describes the services that your community offers to residents and their families to acquire additional education or training or to support their efforts to move into or advance in the workforce.


Firm Awards - Firm Awards identify the best multifamily development firms and best property management firms in the industry.

Multifamily Development Firm of the Year

Development firm entries are evaluated on the overall quality of projects that have been developed in the previous three years, innovative development strategies and practices, ability to overcome obstacles, and success in achieving the company’s vision and goals are criteria considered in judging.

Property Management Company of the Year

Property management entries are evaluated on significant achievements in property management in the previous three years; innovative management practices; success in achieving the goals of the property's owners, including financial performance, commitment to customer service, resident promotion and retention and commitment to employees through training, development and advancement opportunities.

Multifamily Builder of the Year *NEW*

This category is to recognize builders and general contractors that construct high quality multifamily dwellings. Candidates will be judged on the quality of their development(s). The nominee’s reputation, history of completing projects on time and history of completing projects on/under budget will be used in the evaluation as well. 


Marketing Awards - Marketing Awards draw attention to overall community marketing campaigns, product identity and corporate branding efforts that illustrate consistent messages and themes that reflect the core values of multifamily communities and development firms.

Best Interior Merchandising of a Leasing or Sales Center *NEW*

This category is meant to evaluate the interior design of the leasing (for apartment communities) or sales center (for condominium communities. This category will be evaluated on the quality, innovation and execution of the concept. The leasing or sales center will also be evaluated on the continuity of the marketing theme, the functionality of the floor plan and layout, the use of color, texture and materials, and the interior architecture art design.

Best Interior Merchandising of a Common Area

The common area of a multifamily space is judged in this category. The common area is evaluated on the marketing concept and if it addresses the property’s characteristics and architecture. This category will evaluate if the space is inviting, comfortable and functional. The use of color, textures, materials, furnishings and accessories will be used to evaluate the common area in this category. 

Best Interior Merchandising of a Model Unit

This category is used to evaluate the staging and interior design of a model unit either in an apartment community or condominium community. Entrants will be judged on how interior merchandising of the model unit relates to their target market, and if the space is inviting and comfortable yet functional.  The use of color, textures, furnishings and accessories will be used to gauge this space and how they complement the interior unit’s space.

Best Overall Leasing Campaign for a Multifamily Community

This category evaluates the overall marketing concept for the building and addresses measures of success, strategies, and consumer receptiveness.  Entrants in this category will be judged on the overall design and execution of the creative strategy, the continuity of the marketing theme, the layout and functionality of the space, and the impact to the leasing or sales made by the marketing plan.

Best Property Website

This category evaluates the user friendliness of the applicant’s property website, its flow and aesthetics. The website’s functioning at the time of judging will be used to evaluate the website along with the quality and continuity of graphics used.


Individual Awards - Individual Awards reward multifamily professionals with exceptional leadership in individual community and regional property management who provide unsurpassed resident services by maintaining attractive, supportive living and leasing environments that boost occupancy and lease-up rates.

Property Manager of the Year

Candidates for Property Manager of the Year will be judged on several different criteria, including their leadership abilities and how effective and innovative their management strategies and practices are. They will also be evaluated on their success in resident retention, employee retention and training, and their commitment to the multifamily industry.

Marketing Manager of the Year

The Marketing Manager of the Year will be evaluated on multiple criteria. Candidates will be judged on their marketing and management skills and the overall success of their marketing campaigns over the last three years. The Marketing Manager of the Year will also be evaluated on continuing education, trade group involvement, certifications, designations and other activities that promote property management excellence.

One to Watch *NEW*

One to Watch candidates are 45 or younger and are ones to watch in the multifamily industry.  They have shown strong leadership and growth in their career trajectories. One to watch candidates are considered to be leaders of tomorrow, will have shown a commitment to the multifamily industry, and will have made a significant impact on their organization through their hard work, diligence and leadership.