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U rb a n L u x R e a lty G ro u p

Founded 2001


U rb a n L u x U rb a n L u x
From its modest beginnings in 2001, URBAN LUX has focused on becoming the premier leasing services firm in Chicago's Luxury Apartment rental markets. Today, it holds that position of leadership. The principals of Urban Lux, with their passion for real estate, their love of this city, and a shared desire to be the significant players in a dynamic business segment, approach 2011 with enthusiasm and a dedication to service excellence. Combining the most talented and experienced associates with cutting-edge technology and a unique operational model has assured the firm of developing and maintaining a continuing advantage over its competitors. High standards, effective processes, and innovative technology have combined to enable Urban Lux to become the locator firm of choice among apartment seekers and apartment owners in Chicago. Urban Lux, as it continues to grow in size and in revenues, is dedicated to retaining the personalized service orientation of a boutique operation. Urban Lux will, during the coming year, increase the number of agents in the firm. Revenues are projected to double through increased sales and new initiatives. But the firm will not alter its successful business model of better agents, better technology and better services. This report outlines our approach to building our business and expanding our activities during the year ahead. Chicago is our home. Chicago apartment leasing will always be our primary focus. However, during 2011 we intend to use the platform we have developed to expand our business into additional market segments and additional geographic markets.

THE URBAN LUX STORY Abram Nelson formed Urban Lux in 2001 as an entrepreneurial enterprise dedicated to offering Chicagos downtown renters the ability to access the personal attention and advice of knowledgeable professionals in finding their perfect home in Chicagos urban center. In 2006, the focus was narrowed to rental services but the marketplace was expanded to encompass the nine luxury marketplaces in and near downtown Chicago. In 2007, the number of agents was increased, and the Urban Lux Way was developed: a series of programs, practices and processes that would ensure the firms ability to grow yet maintain the feel and the benefits of a boutique operator. In 2008, in anticipation of changes in the industry, Urban Lux began its ongoing investment in technology by developing a completely new website designed specifically for the rental locating business as well as its proprietary CRM program. Through continued focus on the operating methodology, sales increased over the previous years experience. In 2009, the firm opened its River North offices at the corner of Franklin and Huron Streets and again increased the number of its agents. Sales again grew over the previous year. In 2010, Urban Lux made the decision to expand the size of its offices and leased the remaining available space on the second floor of 230 West Huron, finishing the combined space in a style more akin to an edgy advertising firm than a traditional real estate office. The firm also made the decision to raise the standards for becoming or remaining an Urban Lux agent and began a new agent recruiting, training and support initiative. In response to a growing need to protect consumers and to reign in some less than responsible new locators, Urban Lux joined with three other established locator agencies to form the Apartment Locators Association. The Urban Lux website was completely redesigned and usability improved and plans developed for two additional web projects currently in development. Near the end of the year, Urban Lux developed and introduced its Concierge Program to twelve of the buildings in its markets. This program is designed to provide cooperating buildings with shared prospects and useful information about renter preferences and shopping behavior. The program will be expanded in 2011 to include approximately thirty buildings. During 2010, Urban Lux generated, through its website and Internet advertising, just over 8,000 individual leads. Of that number, about half were converted to contacts and of those 25% resulted in

rental applications. With the companys offices located in the hot River North area, the distribution of lease deals showed the highest concentration in this neighborhood. Shown below is the distribution of leases by market:

The markets with the highest number of transactions in calendar 2010 were River North, West Loop, Streeterville & the South Loop.

The year 2010 was more than another successful year at Urban Lux. It was a year of significant transition. Urban Lux is poised to use its successful operating platform to grow now and into the future.

BIOGRAPHIES With lifelong experience in sales, and applying a strong expertise in data-driven, long-term strategic planning, the Urban Lux Team will welcome any challenge, whether it is from the industry or the clients. Prior to forming Urban Lux, ABRAM NELSON did everything from trade derivatives on the floor of Chicago's Exchanges to Banking Management. Whether at Merrill Lynch or a Private Equity firm, his challenge was the same: to make a bigger impact each day. He as led corporate business development and new client initiatives, explored joint venture opportunities, managed diverse project portfolios, numerous market analysis studies as well as several product feasibility profiles.

Abe holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance & International Business. He

attended both Loyola University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madisons Graduate Schools of Business. He attended Lake Forest College, receiving Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Economics and International Relations with minors in Spanish and Politics. Abe is an active beekeeper, a scuba diver, horticulturalist, and an aspiring brew master.

MELISSA MOLINE holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a specialization in Public Relations from Michigan State University. She has experience in event planning and has been a master apartment and condominium leasing agent for over a decade. With an eye for detail, Melissas contribution to the Urban Lux team goes beyond her role directing web design and technology initiatives as she shares her passion for real estate and professional development with the firms agents on a daily basis. Although shed probably prefer to own a small wine shop in Oregon some day, she is quite at home in the hustle and bustle of Chicagos arts scene. RISHI KHOLSA attended Bentley University in Boston where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Finance. Originally from Sandusky, Ohio, Rishis interest in Real Estate began while he was an intern for a local developer. That early experience helped him land a position in Boston after graduation where he was involved in new home sales and managing the firms apartment portfolio. When not pursuing his passion for Real Estate, Rishi can be found running with his dog through the River North neighborhood, trying new restaurants or entertaining friends and family at home.

OULOOK & OPPORTUNITIES IN 2011 The year 2011 will be another year of record growth and activity for Urban Lux in its core apartment finding and leasing business. Most signs point to a recovery in the Chicago downtown apartment market. This recovery will result in tighter inventories and rental rate growth. In the past, as occupancies have risen, property managers have discontinued cooperating with locator firms. While there is a possibility of this occurring during the coming up-cycle, Urban Lux has made strategic moves to develop stronger ties with the owner/manager community. Additionally, the use of a locator has become more common in Chicago than it has been in the past. Since prospects sourced through locators have tended to be better renters than walk-in prospects, most owners will continue to work with locators.

Urban Lux has also developed many new processes for improving the likelihood of repeat business from its renter base, the initial effects of which are beginning to surface. As mentioned earlier, Urban Lux is increasing the number of agents in the firm over last year and these agents are expected, through the use of several process enhancements and newly developed business resources, to increase the average lease production per agent. It has always been our desire to not be the biggest firm, simply the best. In 2010, Urban Lux produced over 1,000 leases. In 2011, that number is expected to rise to two thousand leases, an increase of over 100%. Further, there will be an increase in the average transaction value from approximately $1,605 per transaction to $1,710 per transaction as a result of the ending of rent rate discounts and the beginning of rental rate increases. In 2011 there will be more emphasis placed on subletting opportunities, furnished rentals and shortterm housing placements. Urban Lux will be working to develop stronger corporate relationships as well as relationships with several universities in assisting with housing placements. In addition to the opportunities outlined above, Urban Lux provides additional services, several of which are anticipated to develop revenue during the 2011 year. While none of these business

segments are targeted for specific growth or development in the near term, Urban Lux will always capitalize on opportunities as they are presented. Among the anticipated activities in 2011 are the following: Commercial and Retail Leasing in the River North neighborhood Condominium and Home brokerage services Property Management and Maintenance Services Acquisition and brokerage services for commercial and condominium investors Contracted lease-ups in fractured or failed condominium projects Consulting services for developers and property owners Initial Due-diligence services for out-of-state investor groups


Urban Lux has five strategic objectives for the year ahead. First, the firm will work to maintain its position of dominance in the Chicago downtown markets. Next, it intends to launch a full service Urban Lux operation in Miami, Florida. Additionally, the real-time apartment-listing site that has been in planning for two years will be launched and a partner selected to market the CRM and Website templates that Urban Lux has invested in developing over the past several years. Finally, the firm will develop one or more strategic partnerships with firms in complimentary businesses to develop synergistic initiatives.

OBJECTIVE ONE: DOMINATE THE CHICAGO LUXURY MARKET In an industry that reinvents itself, it seems, every quarter, Urban Lux has grown by executing on four strategies it considers as constants: Differentiation, Growth, Marketing, and Initiatives. Urban Lux differentiates itself from the competition. Starting with first impression made upon a client or customer by the appearance of our offices or our agents, Urban Lux puts its best foot forward. Employing its unique methodology, the Urban Lux even turns a telephone call into an opportunity to be different, perhaps better, than the competition. Our initial needs analysis assures apartment seekers a well planned and time efficient search for that one apartment that best serves his or her needs and desires.

We grow not just to generate more revenue or profit but because we realize that business is an organic process and a business that isnt growing is dying. Recruiting the best possible agents and developing their skills and encouraging their professional development are considered among the highest of priorities at Urban Lux. The firm is committed to start no ones employment prior to their taking and passing the Apartment Leasing Agent course and exam. Growth at Urban Lux is not measured by the numbers of agents employed by the firm, but by the quality and longevity of those in place. Every agent, properly trained and supported will close more deals and earn more commissions from one year to the next. As with any of the firms competing for prospective rents, marketing is key to success. If the client doesnt know about the service or cannot locate the service provider, there simply will not be a transaction. Today, CraigsList is the number one source of traffic. Urban Lux has developed several

methods to improve the viability of listings on CraigsList and, just as importantly, is developing additional marketing sources for qualified clients. Just as the firm that doesnt grow risks dying, so does the firm that doesnt innovate. Urban is an innovator. Each quarter the firm rolls out one or more initiatives, sometimes tactical but more often strategic in nature. Recent initiatives, like the Concierge program or the Quarterly White Paper have been aimed at both increasing business and reinforcing the firms image as the leader and innovator in the industry.

OBJECTIVE TWO: EXPANSION TO MIAMI After years in development and planning, an initial contact was made in December with a property operator who may consider a partnership that will bring the Urban Lux brand and operating platform to Miami. This potential partner has several benefits to offer: Alternatively, the new operation can be opened as previously planned: from scratch. While this might, over time, be more profitable there is a distinct advantage to employing the partner model for the first expansion.

OBJECTIVE THREE: WEBSITE FOR NATIONWIDE APARTMENT LEASING The development rollout of the Urban Lux template for Chicago has begun and the soon to follow Inrentive site will not only expand the geographical scope for Urban Lux, but would benefit recruiting as well as agent retention. This site configuration will more closely compete with existing sites like and not with the existing personal locator services available through The site may serve as a barometer to determine which cities should be prioritized for an Urban Lux Locator Agency. The site will offer an opportunity to develop an income stream from renters who may not desire or require the personal services of an Urban Lux Associate and who will be renting an apartment through a similar web-based service.

OBJECTIVE FOUR: PLANNING FOR FUTURE EXPANSION The Urban Lux operating model has proven to be both durable and subject to modification as required by changes in the marketplace or in response to new opportunities. The model is reproducible and, with only slight modification, transportable to other marketplaces. While, the Chicago suburbs present an interesting potential opportunity very close to home, Miami has been a target market for several years and the current branding seems to be more relevant in markets with

downtown or in-town luxury apartment properties, like Atlanta, Washington D.C., Denver, Philadelphia, or Dallas. While monitoring and measuring the success of the Miami expansion and using information gained from the Inrentive roll out for prioritizing expansion choices, decisions will also be impacted on other factors. For instance, the presence of a potential partner in one or more of the cities that can facilitate the office development or an expression of interest by a possible franchisee could move a city higher up the list. Once city offices are open, there may be consideration given to a suburban version, branded differently and with a modified business model. For instance, the Chicago suburbs have been largely without a viable locator service since RELCON closed its operations several years ago. OBJECTIVE FIVE: SYNERGISTIC RELATIONSHIPS

Urban Lux will be exploring or strengthening relationships with firms engaged in what might be termed as complimentary businesses, like serviced apartments, furniture rentals and condominium preparation and maintenance services. In some instances these relationships may be local to Chicago while others may offer the opportunity for the partner to open new markets for Urban Lux. In some instances Urban Lux may import to Chicago concepts or services available in other cities but for which there is no current provider. Among the relationships being negotiated at this time and expected to be implemented in 2011 is the offering of Renters Liability or Renters Liability and Contents Insurance through Urban Lux, a convenience benefit to renters and landlords and a new income source for the company.

URBAN LUX MAY BE YOUR PREFERRED PARTNER: With a history of innovation, integrity and service, Urban Lux is positioned to be a preferred partner to property managers, to corporate HR departments, to apartment services providers, to condominium associations and other rental housing related enterprises. Whether its been done before, or more interestingly, if it hasnt, Urban Lux is interested in integrating new concepts and services into its Rental Lifestyle package.


URBAN LUX is Chicagos Premier Apartment Locating & Leasing Service


ABRAM NELSON / MELISSA MOLINE / RISHI KHOSLA 230 West Huron Street, Suite 2 West, Chicago, IL 60654 Office: 312.878.2777 Fax: 312878.2770 Email: Web: Illinois Real Estate Firm License: #481.011217