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.
2019 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, 2016, may enter.
- Previous award winners are not eligible to apply in a category they have won.
- Exception: Multifamily Development Firm and Property Management Firm may enter again after a one-year waiting period.
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 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, and parking may be covered.
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 building features 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 comprise 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 toward college students.
Best Military or Veterans Housing
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
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 that have been created from the re-purposing or reuse of an old site or building that was not originally built or designed to provide housing, such as warehouses, factories and schools.
Best Repositioning/Redevelopment of a Multifamily Community
Best repositioning/redevelopment is looking for multifamily assets where the owner or property manager has successfully changed the position of the property in the marketplace; this is often linked to adding value to the project. Repositioning can include redevelopment of a portion, or all, of the project, modifications to the physical appearance, the operations, or the general attitude surrounding the property. The project should already exist and can be repositioned/redeveloped by the original owner or acquired through purchase.
Best in Green Market-Rate Multifamily Community
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 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Best Community Amenities
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 encompass products ranging from Affordable Apartment Community to Acquisition/Rehabilitation, Workforce Housing and more. Winning entries in the Affordable Award 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. Note: If the project does not utilize the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, it can also be considered for Best Workforce Housing.
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. Note: If the project does not utilize the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, it can also be considered for Best Workforce Housing.
Best Workforce Housing Community
Workforce housing communities are defined as any type of multifamily development (for-sale or rental) whose residents earn income that is no more than 120% of the area median income of the metropolitan statistical area. These communities are often targeted at the “essential” workers of a community such as police officers, firefighters, teachers and nurses. These communities are not recipients of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.
Best Supportive Services at an Affordable Apartment Community
Supportive services describe the service program(s) that your community offers to residents, and their families, which assist them in their day-to-day lives. Supportive services can pertain to education, employment, vocational, health care, veteran, childcare and more.
Firm Awards identify the best multifamily development firms, market-rate and affordable property management firms, and general contractor builders 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 Firm of the Year
Property management entries are evaluated on significant achievements in property management in the previous three years. Judges will evaluate innovative management practices and 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. Applicants in this category focus specifically on the management of market-rate communities; however, their portfolio can contain a mix of market and affordable communities. Managers of strictly affordable communities should apply to Affordable Property Management Firm of the Year.
Affordable Property Management Firm of the Year
Affordable Property Management entries are evaluated on significant achievements in property management in the previous three years. Judges will evaluate innovative management practices and 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. Applicants in this category focus specifically on the management of affordable housing communities.
Multifamily Builder of the Year
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 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
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 in the evaluation.
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 its target market, and if the space is inviting and comfortable yet functional. The use of color, textures, furnishings and accessories — and how they complement the interior unit’s space — will be used to gauge this 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.
This award acknowledges rising stars in the multifamily industry. Finalists and winners are considered the leaders of tomorrow and have already made a significant impact on their organization through their hard work, diligence and leadership.
One to Watch
One to Watch candidates are 45 or younger. 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 organizations through their hard work, diligence and leadership.