Developers say going green just as vital indoors as outdoors

Eric Cohen, left, and Douglas Eisner, managing directors of the Calida Group, pose in the company’s offices Thursday, July 21, 2016. Eisner holds his dog Penelope, a 3-year-old Cavalier Spaniel-poodle mix.

The Calida Group

• Address: 10777 W. Twain Ave., Suite 115, Las Vegas

• Phone: 702-947-2000

• Email: [email protected]

• Website:

• Hours of operation: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday for corporate office; 6 a.m.-7 p.m. daily for properties

• Owned/operated by: Douglas Eisner and Eric Cohen

• In business since: 2007

Describe your business.

Eisner: Our business begins with the end in mind. The Calida Group is a developer and operator of multifamily real estate properties with more than 11,000 units. Much of our success comes from our talented team of professionals, who help us bring our vision to life. Every project we work on together is thoughtfully executed.

Cohen: In 2008, we launched our first flagship community under the Elysian name and saw that we were doing something right. At the time, luxury communities only existed on the Strip. With Elysian, we decided to change that.

Who are your customers?

Eisner: Elysian residents are smart, active, engaged, social, upscale, experiential and discerning. We say our communities offer “irreverent luxury,” so there is a little humor built in to a lot of the locations of the property. Our residents love that.

Cohen: We get asked about the demographics of our residents all the time, but we like to think in terms of psychographics: our residents’ attitudes and lifestyles. What are the demographics of someone who drives a Mercedes? Are they 25? Are they 65? Are they female? Are they male? They are all of that. The more important fact is what they like and what they think.

What was the inspiration behind Elysian Well?

Eisner: We already incorporate dozens of green initiatives into the construction and operations of our communities, and we’ve done so for years. One day, the thought occurred to us that green initiatives are for everyone outside the unit, but what about the people living in our units? Shouldn’t we have health-focused initiatives for them? And that’s where it started.

How do residential living and wellness come together at Elysian Well?

Eisner: After that initial “aha” moment, we designed a gym at the next community, big enough to replace the need to join a fitness club. But we weren’t satisfied. Next, we added a spa-treatment area, and brought in massage therapists and aestheticians. We still weren’t satisfied. So we sat down, wiped the slate clean and created an entire health-focused program. The result is Elysian Well, which touches every major aspect of our residents’ health. There is an air-filtration system to remove dust and pollen, and specialized lighting designed to boost energy levels. We use water-filtration systems for cleaner, purer water. We offer aromatherapy to help enhance relaxation; we’ve infused showerheads with Vitamin C to help combat water’s harshness on the hair and skin, and we’ve designed mood lighting to work with our natural circadian rhythms to support sleep quality.

Cohen: We also want to give our residents everything they would need to be healthy within our communities rather than making them join gyms or fitness studios. We really splurged to get the best equipment and offer personal trainers and even group classes such as spin, yoga, pilates and kettlebell.

Eisner: We even take socialness into account as part of offering a health and wellness program. Interconnectedness is a huge part of mental health and happiness, and our communities bring everyone together by putting on special events and opportunities for people to meet, interact and build relationships.

Why did you think it was important to create an environmentally friendly design?

Eisner: Most people don’t realize how much time we spend indoors. Through this process we learned that, on average, we spend 90 percent of our time indoors. In the scheme of things, that’s a huge part of our lives and even more so in Las Vegas, where we face elements of high heat and live in air conditioning most of the year.

What’s the most important part of your job?

Cohen: It’s great to work with people who love what they do. We strive to create an environment where that can flourish and continue for years to come and the end result is happy people, working hard to achieve our collective goals. We work with our new team members to help cultivate and sharpen their skill sets and, in turn, we have some of the best in the business. Investing in your team is definitely the most important part of our jobs.

What is the hardest part about doing business in Las Vegas?

Eisner: When we launched Elysian, we were met with this preconceived notion of what a Las Vegas apartment looked like. Everything was standard, formulaic even. All the floor plans looked the same. All the buildings were alike. Creating change in a relatively unchanged market was difficult, and we had to fight for what we believed to be better design.

Cohen: I’ll give you an example. When we were meeting with architects, designers, appraisers and lenders to develop Elysian at the District, we went through 49 iterations of the floor plans in detail until we were satisfied. The extra time it took was well worth it. We utilize every inch of space to create a comfortable, livable environment, and sometimes that’s simply a matter of moving one wall an inch or two and breaking that mold.

What is the best part about doing business in Las Vegas?

Eisner: Las Vegas is one of the few cities where you can take a business plan from concept to deep market penetration within a matter of a few years. The economic engine here is phenomenal, and the population growth, albeit not as meteoric as it was 10 years ago, is still top five in the nation, so the demand for our product just keeps growing.

What obstacles has your business overcome?

Eisner: We could create a five-part miniseries to answer this question. We went into development right as the recession hit. That was a difficult time, but everything fell into place because we were relentless in our vision.

How can Nevada improve its business climate?

Eisner: We are diversifying the workforce but still have a long way to go. The seeds have been sown, but we need to let those new industries and firms take root and grow, which will be a huge long-term improvement.

Cohen: We’ve made a lot of improvements in higher education, but this is definitely an area of focus if we want our business climate to improve. It’s imperative we continue to foster an environment of learning and innovation that will attract talent to the local workforce.

What have you learned from the recession?

Eisner: Execution matters. Residents and clients will remain loyal to great operators. As a result, only the best operators will withstand the tough times and be positioned to thrive after things settle down.