Deerfalls Properties

Specialty: Developer of multifamily residential complexes

Management: Jacques von Speyer, owner and president

Founded: 1999

Headquarters: Issaquah

Largest current project: Racquet Lane condominiums, Yakima

Image courtesy Deerfalls Properties
Racquet Lane is being billed as Yakima's first luxury condos. Opening is set for June 2006.

By developing multifamily properties in smaller communities, Deerfalls Properties seems to have found a niche relatively immune to market slumps.

When the four-person firm was founded in 1999, president Jacques von Speyer was eager to make his mark in big cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. When the market went south a year later, von Speyer reassessed his ventures and decided to focus on smaller properties in smaller communities, a move that has served him well.

The ‘little guys’

Deerfalls’ holdings include a 25-unit apartment complex in Bonney Lake, a similar-sized apartment complex in Enumclaw, and a 54-unit luxury condominium community under construction in Yakima.

“We’re little guys in the market,” said von Speyer. “We found a certain market the big guys don’t go after.”

The company’s tenants are typically small town, middle-class, blue-collar workers who aren’t affected by layoffs at Boeing or hiring spikes at Microsoft. As a result, von Speyer’s properties see very little turnover. Perks such as summer barbecues, holiday turkeys and high-end appliances may also contribute to the tenants’ stability.

More rental?

As interest rates rise, a small segment of the population turns to the rental market, said von Speyer, a trend he expects will continue. Demand for apartments will increase as more and more rental units are converted to condominiums and apartment availability decreases.

Racquet Lane is Deerfalls’ most recent project: a 54-unit luxury condominium complex in Yakima, the first of its kind in the city. Another developer has plans for an 18-hole golf course, 200 single-family homes and 100 condos nearby.

“In Yakima there is real opportunity for a developer to come in and be a market-maker,” said von Speyer. “That doesn’t happen very often.”

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