2021 turned out to be an incredible year. As it began, we were all concerned about what the future would bring. It seemed we had survived the worst of the pandemic, adapted to working remotely, and retooled much of our operations, especially sales, to a virtual world. We were optimistic about the future vaccines and the end of the pandemic. As 2021 progressed, the incredible development of the vaccines and the warm summer months brought a renewed sense of hope for a return to normal. In reality, it turned into a new normal. This new normal included variants that brought back Covid fears and renewed business uncertainty exacerbated by supply chain woes and challenged delivery schedules.
A highlight for me was the return of our main office employees to the office. Camaraderie, teamwork, and relationships were refreshed after a year of working apart. Based on our success with virtual community openings, we continued our focus on creating new digital tools and online appointments that resulted in record sales in 2021. We ended the year with our biggest backlog ever. We also refinanced one of our multifamily communities and broke ground on another mixed-income multifamily partnership.
EYA was recognized as a “Top Place to Work” by The Washington Post. We onboarded more than 20 new colleagues across all departments and nearly doubled our construction team. Our acquisitions and development team identified new projects and advanced our pipeline through virtual community meetings and public hearings. The construction team continued to execute diligently in spite of numerous supply chain and Covid related challenges. McLean Quinn was promoted to President and CEO, we hired Rafael Muñiz as COO and promoted Aakash Thakkar to Chief Acquisitions Officer as part of our leadership team evolution to create a sustainable future. Overall, we accomplished more in 2021 than ever before despite the relentless challenges of the Covid pandemic. Most importantly, we did it all while exemplifying our core values of integrity, determination, excellence, innovation, and collaboration. We are extremely proud of 2021.
2021 By The Numbers
EYA Expands Executive Leadership Team, Hires Chief Operating Officer to Support Strategic Growth
This year, EYA introduced a leadership transition plan naming Bob Youngentob as Executive Chairman, McLean Quinn as President and CEO, Aakash Thakkar as Chief Acquisitions Officer, and Frank Connors as Chief Risk Officer. Milli Arakawa continues to lead in her role as Chief Financial Officer and Rafael Muñiz has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer. Frank and Bob will maintain active roles in EYA’s day-to-day operations and investment decisions.
Strategic Development Focus
EYA has eight actively selling townhome communities in DC, MD, and NVA with plans to deliver 340 new homes in 2022.
We continue to focus on townhouse and mixed-use projects that provide:
Opportunities for life within walking distance, including amenities and transit
Environmentally sustainable infill development
Geographic diversity within the DMV
Range of product and price points
Attainable housing opportunities
EYA’s core expertise is achieving complex entitlements and creating value for land sellers, municipalities, and the communities in which we build. We focus on ensuring land uses that are compatible with their surroundings and address market demand. We have successful experience rezoning commercial and institutional properties into high-quality residential communities, and we continue to target similar redevelopment opportunities.
While the entitlement and development of townhomes is a central pillar of EYA’s business, over the past several years we have created a high-performance multifamily rental platform. We have completed approximately 600 multifamily rental units and have over 2,000 additional multifamily units under construction and in our pipeline. In 2021, we were delighted to welcome Caren Garfield as Vice President, Multifamily Development. Caren brings experience and strategic focus to EYA's best-in-class boutique multifamily division.
Looking ahead to 2022, EYA strives to be resilient and tackle every challenge with a “can-do attitude.” While there are many unknowns ahead, one thing is certain, we have the best people, a positive outlook, and new business practices that will propel us forward to future success in creating neighborhoods and homes that positively impact the Washington region. We love what we do and are incredibly grateful for the amazing partners who help make it possible.
New hires enhance EYA’s expertise in multifamily development, mixed-use master planning, and public private partnerships. As EYA, LLC (EYA) celebrates its 30th year as Washington’s leading developer of urban and transit-oriented properties, the company has expanded its commitment to multifamily development by adding Caren Garfield and Jim Reed to the team.
This year marks a big milestone for EYA as the company is celebrating 30 years of creating distinctive new neighborhoods across the greater Washington area. Since 1992, EYA and its affiliated development companies have been building new homes that celebrate the best of modern design and urban lifestyles. We have welcomed more than 7,000 homeowners to over 45 new neighborhoods across Washington, DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia where our residents enjoy the best of life within walking distance®.
Last week, we were honored to host DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and other local dignitaries at our Riggs Park Place community in celebration of EYA's partnership with the City to create this brand new neighborhood. The ribbon cutting event not only celebrated our first homeowner move-ins, but also the successful transformation of an underutilized piece of land into a vibrant new residential neighborhood.
On Sunday, we were delighted to host a grand opening event for the brand new community playground at Michigan Park. Community members gathered to meet both long-time residents and new neighbors while children enjoyed the new playground equipment. Local dignitaries, including DC Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio and ANC representatives Colleen Costello and Emily Lucio, officially opened the new playground with a warm welcome and ribbon cutting.