Just last month, the last resident moved into the final open villa home on the newly expanded Woodlands at Furman campus in Greenville, SC. This was a big accomplishment for Director of Sales and Marketing Angela Hecker and her team, as they had worked tirelessly during the pandemic to maintain those depositors and work with them virtually to make their final customizations.
“When COVID started, we quickly worked to engage these depositors via FaceTime and Zoom because we had deadlines for them to make their final selections for finishes and we just weren’t sure how the pandemic would impact supply chains for things like appliances and other materials,” Hecker explained.
Although successful in the end, the journey to villa completion and fill-up wasn’t always easy. Because each of the 28 new villas – ranging from 2,300 to 2,880 sq. ft. - was built as depositors reserved them, there wasn’t a true “model home” to show in the beginning. Thankfully, the prime location of these villas off of the Furman University golf course helped to spread the word.
“As each home started going up, we had people from the golf course asking about them and commenting on how nice they looked,” Hecker stated.
These villa homes are just a part of The Woodlands’ $40M+ campus expansion. A 13,000 sq. ft. community village building opens on December 1, 2020, while a new 44-unit apartment building will be completed in June 2021.
“Through our partnership with Furman University, residents had access to things like the pool and gym at the university,” Hecker said. “In December, we’ll be able to offer our own pool and gym, in addition to a yoga lawn, activities room, day spa, massage therapist, stylist, and more. This building will connect directly to our main apartment complex.”
When expanding or redeveloping existing communities, many teams worry about the disruption and annoyance that construction will cause to current residents.
“We began construction on the 44 new apartments in March 2020, which of course was right when COVID started, so residents are actually entertained watching the construction and seeing how it progresses,” Hecker laughed. “I guess you could say we have a gift for spinning a bad situation into something positive!”
Pre-sales for the 44 new apartments began in July 2019, when Hecker and her team combed their waitlist, dropped targeted mailings, and hosted intimate lunch and learns to spend quality time with each potential depositor. That strategy worked, and all 44 apartments were sold by March 2020.
“Even with uncertainty caused by the pandemic, people are still exciting knowing all the new services and buildings that are coming, and that’s helped us maintain all of our depositors and actually grow our waitlist to 75,” Hecker commented.
The promise of luxury, resident-focused services isn’t the only reason depositors are holding firm. Hecker and her team have worked to build a virtual engagement program for depositors, keeping them excited and looking forward to moving into their new home. Last month, they held a few Zoom happy hours for depositors, introducing them to campus leadership and letting them get to know their new neighbors, allowing them to find common ground and build relationships before they even move in.
“Next week, they’ll meet with our Golden Girls, who help them to prepare for and manage their moves and get them thinking about downsizing,” Hecker described. “It’s all about planting those little seeds that reassure them that they’re making the right decision, even if they can’t physically see it yet.”
Between adapting strategies on the fly, implementing creative ideas, and working within the ever-changing protocols and procedures, Hecker and her team are more grateful than ever to have Greystone as a partner.
“It’s always been collaborative from day one, and the Greystone team continues to encourage us and keep us inspired,” Hecker mused. “If we want to thrive, we just have to keep going and growing.”