Longtime apartment developer Jack DeBoer is laying the groundwork to significantly grow his WaterWalk International brand of apartments through a new partnership with Los Angeles-based Oakwood, a national leader in furnished housing and service apartments.
The new brand is called Oakwood WaterWalk.
“It’s going to absolutely explode in terms of growth,” says WaterWalk executive vice president Mimi Rogers.
DeBoer started the brand, his fifth national apartment brand, not quite five years ago.
He’s been in talks with Oakwood for almost half a year.
Oakwood will manage each of the WaterWalk properties — so far that includes properties in Wichita, Denver, Dallas, San Antonio, Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., and the Kansas City area — and handle sales and marketing as well.
WaterWalk will continue to handle franchising.
“The potential here is limitless, and we are absolutely thrilled to be part of this relationship,” says Christine Moore, vice president of global marketing for Oakwood.
WaterWalk has half a dozen properties, three under construction and about a dozen more in the works. The extended-stay brand particularly targets corporate clients for projects, training and relocation.
Oakwood, whose parent company is Singapore-based Mapletree Investments, has 3,200 employees globally, manages almost 70 properties and has nearly 300,000 guests a year.
WaterWalk employees will now be Oakwood employees.
Oakwood “can control the service environment,” Rogers says.
Moore says Oakwood will now be able to give customers options for staying in more markets. She says adding WaterWalk’s strengths to Oakwood “is tremendous for us.”
“WaterWalk is taking the lead on that development side of the business,” Moore says.
“We would love to see it grow. We anticipate it will grow.”
DeBoer has started and sold four other national apartment brands through the years — Residence Inn, Summerfield Suites, Candlewood Suites and Value Place/WoodSpring Suites.
“He’s amazing,” Rogers says. “He’s a true visionary and legend in the industry.”