Stirling & Level Homes Developing Arabella at Dutchtown Townhomes in Ascension Parish

Arabella Aerial Rendering


Through a joint venture with Level Homes, Stirling announces the development of Arabella at Dutchtown Townhomes in Geismar, Louisiana. This project marks Stirling’s continued strategy of, build-to-rent development.

Stirling and Level Homes recently closed on the acquisition of 7.51 acres of property and plan to develop 48 units along with a leasing office and clubhouse. The new development will consist of 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom high-quality, single-family townhomes expressly built for the rental market. The Architectural Studio leads the project design team, and the builder is Level Homes. Construction will begin on the first townhomes later this month, and the development is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.

Through the joint venture, Stirling will be responsible for development, horizontal land improvements, and amenities, in addition to asset management and accounting oversight of the project. Level Homes will be responsible for all vertical building improvements. BH Management will handle daily onsite management and leasing.

“The population of Ascension Parish has grown significantly over the past ten years and is projected to continue, and we believe this is an ideal product type for this market on a site that is extremely well located within the market,” said Townsend Underhill, President of Development with Stirling. “Stirling is excited to continue its commitment to deliver high quality Build to Rent communities. “

“Level Homes is excited to be a part of the Arabella development adjacent to our Belle Savanne, for-sale community. Our company has an extensive track record of developing high-quality, master-planned communities throughout Southeast Louisiana. We look forward to creating value-driven homes and a unique residential experience for the Prairieville area,” said Todd Waguespack, Managing Partner with Level Homes.

This product type is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. housing market as build-to-rent properties continue to be attractive to seniors, singles, and families alike—as it offers renters the conveniences of homeownership without the financial and maintenance burdens that come with it.

For more information on Stirling’s development services, contact John Woodard, Director of Development and Asset Management, at or (504) 523-4481.

Stirling Properties’ Commercial Advisors Among Top Industry Producers In the Greater New Orleans Area

Stirling Properties commercial real estate advisors were recently honored for outstanding industry achievements and transactions during the New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® (NOMAR) Commercial Investment Division’s (CID) Annual Achievement Awards ceremony.

Rhonda Sharkawy, Senior Retail Leasing & Development Advisor, was awarded top Retail Broker of the Year for the greater New Orleans area with a total sales and leasing volume of more than $44.1 million in 2021.

Gaines Seaman, Senior Advisor, was named top Office Broker of the Year with a sales and leasing volume of more than $11.4 million in 2021. He also received honors for top Office Lease of the Year.

Saban Sellers, Investment Advisor-Multifamily, was named top Multi Family Broker of the Year with a sales and leasing volume of more than $31.1 million in 2021. Sellers also received honors for top Multi Family Sale of the Year.

Melissa Warren, CCIM, Senior Advisor, and Carly Plotkin, Advisor, with Stirling Properties, were among Silver Production Award recipients for obtaining total commercial credit sales and leasing from $2.5 – $4.9 million. Bradley Cook, CCIM, Advisor, and Ryan Murphy, CCIM, Senior Advisor, received the Gold Production Award for commercial credit sales and leasing from $5 – $9.9 million. Gaines Seaman received the Platinum Production Award for credit volume from $10-14.9 million. Rhonda Sharkawy and Saban Sellers were awarded Diamond Production Awards for total commercial sales and leasing volume over $15 million.

A huge congratulations to Melissa Warren, CCIM for being selected by NOMAR to serve as the 2022 CID President. Beth Cristina, ALC, Senior Advisor with Stirling Properties, is also serving as the 2022 Director for the Louisiana Association of REALTORS.® Cristina was invited to present the Service to the Industry Award during the annual awards ceremony.

With 53 advisors and nine offices spanning the Gulf South region, Stirling Properties’ advisory team specializes in all aspects of commercial real estate, including retail, office, industrial, healthcare and multifamily sectors. In 2021, our commercial advisors completed 774 transactions totaling over $643.9 million.

So, what’s coming next for lenders and borrowers of CRE?

Lender Solutions

Commercial real estate today is extremely dynamic. Under “normal” circumstances, that is a positive thing, but in the context of the events over the last four months, dynamic is detrimental. There has been much discussion about accelerated uses of technology in the industry and how it will impact retail, office, hospitality, multi-family and industrial real estate sectors. We hear a lot about PPP funds, rent deferrals, omnichannel strategies, decentralized supply chains, working from home and creating healthy environments for employees and customers.

One issue, though, that to this point has been largely missed is the relationship between lenders and borrowers. Over the next few years, there will unquestionably be fallout from the aforementioned discussions that will ultimately put stress on the relationship between lender and borrower in the commercial real estate space. So, what’s coming, and how do we address it? 

To look at the future, the first step is to understand the underlying issues of where we are today. In this Covid-19 landscape, the stress on businesses has significantly impacted landlords across the board. Forced closures by governing authorities, diminished foot traffic in retail, vacant hotels, lower utilization of office space and disrupted supply chains are all examples of issues that tenants have faced throughout the commercial real estate sector. Even in multi-family where tenancy has remained high, and rent collections stayed strong, there is a fear that once the stimulus provided by the Federal Government is no longer a factor, collections could become a massive issue. 

The effects on lenders and borrowers will be felt across the board. If tenants can’t pay rent, which, in turn forces landlords to either seek relief from their lender or not perform on loan requirements, what happens next? For the few borrowers with deep enough pockets, they could attempt to pay penalties or cover debt service themselves, but at the expense of wiping away a lifetime of work and cash reserves. Furthermore, there is no guaranty that in six months or a year down the line, there will be enough tenants paying rent to stabilize the property and sustainably cover debt payments. Some tenants have continued to stay afloat, but how long can they hold on operating at reduced capacity, unable to get stable shipments of supplies or workers. And, how long can a landlord continue to float the debt service from reserves before they are gone altogether? 

So far, most landlords and tenants have recognized their unique predicament and have tried diligently to work together to bridge the gap for survival. Still, as time goes on, this will become less tenable, and there will be fallout. The same issues will inevitably arise between the lender and borrower. We already see this in the CMBS segment of our market, where both sides have less leeway to work through cash flow issues. That said, the real stress has yet to be realized across the industry.

As the crisis continues—regardless of the pace of recovery—more commercial properties will certainly be impacted in both the short- and long-term. We anticipate a significant increase in distressed properties, which will go into servicing or foreclosure. As a result, investors and property owners will be left to sort through the chaos.

At Stirling Properties, we have begun working with lenders, servicers and property owners to strategize solutions for potential problems that continue to grow as loans rollover, values decrease and properties default. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the issues, our Lender Solutions Program can help. 

We have created a platform that, regardless of the type of lender or borrower issues, can help to alleviate the stress. Stirling Properties has a proven track record of success working with all commercial property types to develop a plan and achieve the end goal. Whether it is to stabilize an asset for the current borrower, manage a property and process through foreclosure, or ultimately find the right purchaser through asset disposition, we have the experts to achieve the desired results. 

If you are an investor, property owner or lender who needs assistance with valuation, asset and property management, development or disposition services, please reach out to us. Our experienced commercial advisors are knowledgeable in various property types and market segments.

Our Lender Solutions Program can help you determine the next steps. For more information, contact Chris Abadie at (985) 246-3721 or

July 8, 2020|Blog, Commercial, Hospitality, Industrial, Multifamily, office, Retail|

President’s Message: Now What?

crystal ball

As we move beyond the initial shock and awe of the Coronavirus crisis, we in the commercial real estate industry begin considering “Now What?”

The pace of change in our business was moving at lightning speed even before the pandemic, with shifts in consumer and workplace behaviors, integration of technology, changing demographics. The pandemic only served to accelerate those changes to warp speed.

What will those impacts be? While none of us know exactly the long-term effects of this unprecedented situation (my crystal ball is still a bit foggy), those able to adjust and respond to the new landscape will find opportunities.

So, here are some of my observations as I sit here contemplating what’s to come.


  • Open-air shopping centers primarily anchored by essential retailers like grocery, pharmacy and dollar stores are the winners and emerging stronger than ever. Enclosed malls, particularly B and C class with department store anchors, have seen an acceleration of their struggles.
  • Online shopping surged during the pandemic and is still going strong, triggering increased behavioral trends such as BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in-store), curbside pick-up and delivery options—a direction we were headed in before.
  • We will see an equilibrium point in e-commerce, and successful retailers will figure out how to marry online sales with storefronts and fulfillment centers. Those retailers that can successfully integrate online and brick and mortar will be the winners.
  • Retailers will accelerate the depth and breadth of data mining of their customer base to drive more business into physical stores and improve upon convenience factors and delivery options.
  • Creative restaurant operators will continue to find ways to expand take-out and delivery through innovative marketing, such as partnering with community associations for delivery options/pick-up stations within individual neighborhoods.
  • Food kitchens offering delivery of various selections of meal options, like Asian, Italian, burgers, and salads all under one roof, will become increasingly more popular.

Supply chain and logistics

  • Already one of the fastest-growing sectors before COVID was the distribution and logistics property type. Retailers, as well as many companies that depend upon the import of goods, saw a disruption in their supply chains during the pandemic, creating months-long backlogs of soft goods (remember toilet paper!), clothing, appliances, medical supplies (PPEs!), and even outdoor/sports equipment (bikes!).
  • Businesses are going to diversify and expand their sourcing of goods and supplies, so as not to be dependent on one primary source, decreasing their risks of future interruption.
  • The bright side is that we expect increased demand for manufacturing, storage and distribution facilities in the U.S., presenting more opportunities for development, as well as backfilling large blocks of space. This continuing trend bodes especially well here in the Gulf South region, where we have excellent logistical infrastructure in place, such as ports, air, rail and interstate systems.


  • The workplace landscape was already evolving pre-COVID; now, we see new, different twists on those existing trends.
  • All companies will be pressed to reevaluate their long-term office needs and contemplate space decisions, with the health and safety of employees being paramount.
  • Some permanent changes we can expect to continue in the office environment are distancing requirements, enhanced sanitation, reduced touchpoints, incorporation of more outdoor spaces, increased use of technology in place of meetings, and the adoption of more hybrid work environments balancing remote and in-office personnel.
  • One winner in the office real estate sector will be the low-rise or garden office park setting, which will allow companies to control their environment, design safe floor plans and office layout for employees, and avoid dense, high-rise settings with crowded elevators.
  • Some companies will be willing to pay more to get what they want, spurring an increase in demand for certain office types and opportunities for adaptive reuse and conversion of old retail space into office.


  • Market turmoil usually creates opportunities to buy and sell. Those creative people who can sort through the challenges and prospects will be successful.
  • Investor and property owners need to understand what will come out on the other side of this as more troubled, distressed and foreclosed properties inevitably hit the market—and more so, how do we value them? More thought will need to be given to analyze the risks and opportunities accurately.
  • At Stirling Properties, we have begun working with local lenders to help strategize solutions for potential problems that continue to grow as loans rollover, values decrease and properties default.

The COVID-19 crisis has undoubtedly changed the commercial real estate industry and our businesses. Still, those who can adapt and evolve will be successful, especially if they have the right people in place to effectively see and execute.

Here at Stirling Properties, our team of skilled, experienced, professional advisors is well poised to assist our clients and investors in wading through these murky waters.

My crystal ball can’t precisely predict what will happen next. However, as it relates to Stirling Properties’ ability to weather this storm through our diversity, expansion of services for our clients, and extraordinary talent, the future is pretty clear.

June 15, 2020|Blog, Industrial, Multifamily, office, President's Message, Retail|

Exciting Residential Improvements Coming to River Chase & Fremaux Town Center Multifamily Properties

Stirling Properties announces exciting new residential improvements planned for the Retreat at River Chase in Covington and Retreat at Fremaux Town Center in Slidell’s multifamily apartment communities. The $1 million upgrades will be spread across both properties with an emphasis on enhanced residential amenities and revitalized common spaces.

The Retreat at River Chase in Covington, Louisiana

Retreat at River Chase in Covington, Louisiana

Construction work has begun on the installation of state-of-the-art seafood and grill stations. Large pavilions will be erected and equipped with grills, seafood boil space, and granite counter tops with built-in waste receptacles for discarded seafood shells. The space will also include lounge areas with fire pits and yard games. The pool area will be upgraded to include a more resort-style setting with furniture, landscaping and pull-down projection screens to watch sporting events. All amenities will be accessible for residents of the properties on a first come, first served basis.

Additionally, parcel pending lockers, also known as “smart” lockers, will be installed in central areas of the facilities to collect delivered packages and e-commerce orders for residents. A property manager will receive all deliveries, assign the packages to an individual lockbox that alerts tenants of the delivery and provides a digital access code for easy, convenient retrieval. The lockers are designed to eliminate clutter due to the overwhelming amount of daily delivered packages to residential properties and to provide an extra layer of security for parcels otherwise left unattended on doorsteps. 

Work has already commenced on the projects, and anticipated completion is planned for the end of March.

The Retreat at Fremaux Town Center in Slidell, Louisiana

Retreat at Fremaux Town Center in Slidell, Louisiana

Justin Landry, Vice President of Finance for Stirling Properties, noted that the demand for high-quality apartment properties continues to be strong, especially in high population growth areas such as St. Tammany Parish and the Northshore region of New Orleans. However, demographic shifts and technological advancements are affecting housing, and tenant expectations are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the multifamily residential market sector—they want luxury living, ample amenities, open and active public spaces, all at affordable prices.

“The Retreat at River Chase and Retreat at Fremaux Town Center are both strategically located in mixed-use developments that encompass the prevalent live, work, play environment that has grown in popularity, especially among the large millennial demographics,” said Landry. “These new residential amenities will enhance the community connectivity of our existing properties and make them much more attractive in the market as new multifamily options come online every day.”

The Retreat at River Chase (formerly Springs at River Chase) is a 296-unit luxury apartment community located within the 253-acre River Chase mixed-use development at Interstate 12 and LA Hwy. 21 in Covington, Louisiana. The Retreat at Fremaux Town Center (formerly Springs at Fremaux Town Center) is also a 296-unit multifamily community located within the Fremaux Town Center mixed-use project at Interstate 10 and Fremaux Avenue in Slidell, Louisiana. Stirling Properties’ residential portfolio includes 1800 multifamily units totaling more than 1.5 million square feet of properties throughout South Louisiana.

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