Founder and chairman, StuartCo
Apartment developer/owner Stuart Nolan launched Bloomington-based StuartCo in 1970 and has developed more than 7,000 apartment units. Today, he manages 5,000 units and still owns and manages the first property he ever developed.
He's seen dramatic changes in the industry, from skyrocketing construction costs and increasing governmental regulations to more upscale developments and more acceptance of renting as a lifestyle.
He's now developing two high-end projects. One is the $42 million, 234-unit Genesee Apartments & Townhomes, part of Bloomington-based United Properties' Penn & American redevelopment in Bloomington. The other is the $17 million, 124-unit View at Long Lake in New Brighton. Both will open this summer.
QWhat's key to your success?
AWe develop or buy for our own account to hold for the long term. I've still got a couple of properties from 40 years ago.
QWhat do you think about non-apartment developers jumping on the apartment-development bandwagon?
AThey're going where the opportunities are, and you can't blame them. Most of them are smart enough to involve somebody from the residential market to help them. It's just like if I went to build an office building. It would be foolish without engaging the knowledge and experience of somebody who knows more about that than I do.
QWhy is Bloomington a strong apartment market?
AVery little new product has been built there. We're on the north side at Penn and American Boulevard, so it's a very walkable community. We've got Southtown, Target and restaurants all within a few blocks' walk. It's an older part of town that's well-located; it just needed redevelopment.
QWhat attracted you to New Brighton?
AThe city cleared an old industrial area and put in all new infrastructure and parceled it off. We felt that the northern suburbs have been neglected. There are a lot of great companies on the north side of town, but not much in the way of new development.