AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (the “Company,” which term, unless the context otherwise requires, refers to AvalonBay Communities, Inc. together with its subsidiaries) is a Maryland corporation that has elected to be treated as a real estate investment trust, (“REIT”), for federal income tax purposes. We engage in the development, redevelopment, acquisition, ownership and operation of multifamily communities in high barrier to entry markets of the United States. These barriers to entry generally include a difficult and lengthy entitlement process with local jurisdictions and dense urban or suburban areas where zoned and entitled land is in limited supply. Our markets are located in New England, the New York/New Jersey metro area, the Washington DC Metro area, the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northern and Southern California regions of the United States. We focus on these markets because we believe that over the long-term, a limited new supply of apartment homes and lower housing affordability in these markets will result in higher growth in cash flows relative to other markets.
We generally obtain ownership in an apartment community by developing a new community on vacant land or by acquiring an existing community. In selecting sites for development or acquisition, we favor locations that are near expanding employment centers and convenient to transportation, recreation areas, entertainment, shopping and dining.
Our consolidated real estate investments consist of the following reportable segments: Established Communities, Other Stabilized Communities and Development/Redevelopment Communities. Established Communities are generally operating communities that were owned and had stabilized occupancy and operating expenses as of the beginning of the prior year such that year-over-year comparisons are meaningful. Other Stabilized Communities are generally all other operating communities that have stabilized occupancy and operating expenses during the current year, but that had not achieved stabilization as of the beginning of the prior year such that year-over-year comparisons are not meaningful as well as communities that are planned for disposition during the current year. Development/Redevelopment Communities consist of communities that are under construction, communities where substantial redevelopment is in progress or is planned to begin during the current year and communities under lease-up.
Our principal financial goal is to increase long-term stockholder value through the development, acquisition, operation and, when appropriate, disposition of apartments in our markets. To help fulfill this goal, we regularly (i) monitor our investment allocation by geographic market and product type, (ii) develop, redevelop and acquire an interest in apartment communities in high barrier to entry markets with growing or high potential for demand and high for-sale housing costs, (iii) selectively sell apartment communities that no longer meet our long-term strategy or when opportunities are presented to realize a portion of the value created through our investment and redeploy the proceeds from those sales, and (iv) endeavor to maintain a capital structure that is aligned with our business risks with a view to maintaining continuous access to cost-effective capital. Our time-tested strategy is to be leaders in customer insight, market research and capital allocation, delivering a range of multifamily offerings tailored to serve the needs of the most attractive customer segments in the best-performing US submarkets. A substantial majority of our current communities are upscale, which generally command among the highest rents in their markets. However, we also pursue the ownership and operation of apartment communities that target a variety of customer segments and price points, consistent with our goal of offering a broad range of products and services.
Development Strategy. We select land for development and follow established procedures that we believe minimize both the cost and the risks of development. As one of the largest developers of multifamily rental apartment communities in high barrier to entry markets of the United States, we identify development opportunities through local market presence and access to local market information achieved through our regional offices. In addition to our principal executive office in Alexandria, Virginia, we also maintain regional offices, administrative offices or specialty offices in or near the following cities:
•Long Island, New York;
•Los Angeles, California;
•New York, New York;
•Newport Beach, California;
•San Francisco, California;
•San Jose, California;
•Virginia Beach, Virginia; and
•Woodbridge, New Jersey.
We will be moving our principal executive office to Arlington, Virginia by June 2010.
Redevelopment Strategy. When we undertake the redevelopment of a community, our goal is to renovate and/or rebuild an existing community so that our total investment is generally below replacement cost and the community is well positioned in the market to achieve attractive returns on our capital. We have established a dedicated group of associates and procedures to control both the cost and risks of redevelopment. Our redevelopment teams, which include key redevelopment, construction and property management personnel, monitor redevelopment progress. We believe we achieve significant cost savings by acting as our own general contractor. More importantly, this helps to ensure quality design and workmanship and a smooth and timely transition into the lease-up and restabilization phases.
Disposition Strategy. We sell assets that no longer meet our long-term strategy or when market conditions are favorable, and we redeploy the proceeds from those sales to develop, redevelop and acquire communities and to rebalance our portfolio across or within geographic regions. This also allows us to realize a portion of the value created through our investments and provides additional liquidity. We are then able to redeploy the net proceeds from our dispositions in lieu of raising that amount of capital externally. When we decide to sell a community, we solicit competing bids from unrelated parties for these individual assets and consider the sales price of each proposal.
Acquisition Strategy. Our core competencies in development and redevelopment discussed above allow us to be selective in the acquisitions we target. Acquisitions allow us to achieve rapid penetration into markets in which we desire an increased presence. Acquisitions (and dispositions) also help us achieve our desired product mix or rebalance our portfolio. In September 2008, we formed Fund II, which serves as the exclusive vehicle through which we acquire additional investments in apartment communities until the earlier of September 2011 or until 90% of its committed capital is invested, subject to limited exceptions. As of December 31, 2009, Fund II had acquired two communities.
Property Management Strategy. We seek to increase operating income through innovative, proactive property management that will result in higher revenue from communities while constraining operating expenses.
Financing Strategy. We maintain a capital structure that provides financial flexibility to ensure we can select cost effective capital market options that are well matched to our business risks. We estimate that our short-term liquidity needs will be met from cash on hand, borrowings under our $1,000,000,000 revolving variable rate unsecured credit facility (the “Credit Facility”), sales of current operating communities and/or issuance of additional debt or equity securities. A determination to engage in an equity or debt offering depends on a variety of factors such as general market and economic conditions, including interest rates, our short and long-term liquidity needs, the adequacy of our expected liquidity sources, the relative costs of debt and equity capital and growth opportunities
Other Strategies and Activities. While we emphasize equity real estate investments in rental apartment communities, we have the ability to invest in other types of real estate, mortgages (including participating or convertible mortgages), securities of other REITs or real estate operating companies, or securities of technology companies that relate to our real estate operations or of companies that provide services to us or our residents, in each case consistent with our qualification as a REIT. In addition, we own and lease retail space at our communities when either (i) the highest and best use of the space is for retail (e.g., street level in an urban area) or (ii) we believe the retail space will enhance the attractiveness of the community to residents.
As of January 31, 2010, we had 1,877 employees.