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RISMEDIA, Oct. 31, 2008-Women are the number one decision makers when it comes to what to buy and where to live, and one real estate investment firm is paying attention.

The Connor Group in Dayton, owner and operator of 14,000 apartment units, is listening to what women want in an apartment with its significant unit upgrades and amenities programs. The company is spending nearly $20 million dollars in 2008 to upgrade 3,000 units in six markets.

A unit is considered “upgraded” if it has new:

Counter tops
Nickel Fixtures

“We did focus groups with women to select appliances and colors, knowing a majority of the time, women are the decision makers on where to live,” said Larry Connor, managing partner for The Connor Group.

According to Connor, the company did a test project with cherry cabinets and black appliances; then quickly switched to natural-colored cabinets and stainless steel appliances based on feedback from the focus group.

The company is also paying close attention to what amenities it offers to appeal to women. Depending on the market and resident feedback, the company is reviewing volleyball and tennis court usage, fitness equipment and business centers with free wireless. All properties have a pool and tanning beds.

“More people are staying in apartment communities longer because of the housing market,” Connor said. “We want to keep our residents happy and comfortable long-term with new, upgraded units and great amenities at their property.”

The Connor Group started in Dayton with three acquisitions in 1992 and now has 14,000 units in six markets.

Markets include: Atlanta (13 properties), Raleigh, North Carolina (3), Dayton (7), Cincinnati (12), Columbus (7) and Dallas (9). The company plans to grow to 21,000 over the next five years. In 2008, The Connor Group has acquired 10 communities and sold five.

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