Maximus on the Importance of Building Strong Communities

The way we approach multifamily real estate is being revolutionized. Housing development consists of much more than constructing buildings and filling them with tenants. At Maximus, we understand that we are shaping dynamic spaces when it comes to these places that people call home. We are pursuing a forward-thinking era that considers the intricate networks that connect us, from psychology-oriented design choices to native sustainability solutions. At the heart of it all, our approach is people-oriented, meeting local needs with local solutions. When considered from our point of view, we are no longer building homes from brick and mortar — we are building communities from connection and collaboration.

Our Community Relations Management & Brand Execution team (CRMG) at Maximus consists of an extraordinary group of people that spearhead this community-oriented building initiative. The team’s director Avneesh Nigam refers to CRMG as “the sharp end of the spear.” 

Formally launched in June 2020, this department of Maximus has been the brainchild of COO Fred Knapp. According to Nigam, Knapp sought to offer unique lifestyle experiences and hospitality services to residents, which led to the creation of this brand new department. On meeting the evolving needs of residents, Nigam remarked, “We are actively moving beyond the commodity and elevating our service experiences for our residents to create and curate a sense of place, belonging, and community that allows our residents to find comfort and excitement in the place they call home.”

Prior to working on this team, Director Avneesh Nigam has started his own businesses in real estate development (residential and commercial), property management, healthcare and co-working. Most recently, he led the community partnership and sales team for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, allowing him to be firmly placed at the intersection of business and community-based organizations.

Parkmerced’s partnership with Booster offers contactless, locally-priced, carbon emission-reduced gas delivery to residents.

Much of the on-the-ground work that CRMG does involves connecting communities with local businesses. “This is integral to the development of creating activations, satisfying the needs of our residents and supporting the livelihood of our business community.” Just a few of Maximus’ many partnerships with local Bay Area businesses include on-demand laundry services with Rinse, COVID-19 testing with Curative, automated manicure services with Clockwork, mobile gas delivery with Booster, grocery delivery with Cheetah, furniture rental with Oliver Space, Napa Valley wine discounts and long-term parking deals for airport travel needs.

“We actively approach our local organizations to create a pathway to promote their businesses to our residents. At a time of COVID-19 restrictions, we look at this as providing the product [or] service to our residents and at the same time allowing for a local business to potentially have an additional revenue stream,” said Nigam.

The team is also jump-starting Maximus’ local art initiatives in partnership with local creative agency Building 180. Projects so far have included the mural for The Arballo Collection’s Sunset Deck that overlooks Lake Merced and the interactive art installation Sygyzy at Juan Bautista Circle at Parkmerced.

Parkmerced’s Sygyzy light installation.

So what is CRMG’s secret to exceptional community-building? The answer is that there is no single, magical solution — it’s meticulous and interpersonal work. Nigam explained, “We follow a journey map of our resident that begins from the signing of the lease and remains during their residence in our community.” The team engages with residents through in-person meetings, phone calls, email communication and interaction during virtual and in-person programming. Consistent follow-up is the keystone of building a relationship of clear communication with a community. 

CRMG’s departmental evolution has also been transformed by 2020’s unprecedented circumstances. A current priority of Nigam’s team is to carve out comfortable, spatially-aware outdoor spaces to address changing residential demands in the pandemic. Nigam discussed the new circumstances his team has to work in: “Residents have gone from being home about 25% of the time to mostly being home 100% of the time.” To address dramatically changing needs, CRMG offers robust Community Life websites and newsletters for each property with information on ongoing partnerships and calendars of both virtual and in-person programming. 

Maximus has had to be more creative in curating programming that retained a sense of community while also adhering to health and safety guidelines. The Parkmerced community recently kicked off their weekly scheduled Music in the Park series, inviting local artists to perform rotationally across 40+ courtyards in their 152 acres of community living space. “It’s actually been the best way to get to know our residents in an organic manner one courtyard at a time. Residents have the choice of bringing their own blanket or chair and enjoy the live instrumental music or simply open their window,” commented Nigam. 

Parkmerced’s Music in the Park series.

Community-building is the core action of what we wish to accomplish at Maximus. Our CRMG team seeks to elevate the world through service. They do so through empathizing and demonstrating stewardship throughout the fabric of the businesses.

“This is a natural step for Maximus to further embrace the humanity of our community. Real estate is partly a relationship-based industry, and the impact of human connection that can uplift our being and provide a sense of place and togetherness goes a long way for us as people and the business,” said Nigam.