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CCR Cover Story - Allies

Allies

Why relationship building is the Primax Properties’ way

By Michael J. Pallerino

It is a signature that Primax Properties takes to heart. For the past two-plus decades, the real estate development and investment company has been forging long-term relationships with a diverse set of tenants from coast to coast.

The list of what Primax offers is as impressive as it is expansive, including site selection, project design and value engineering, permitting, financing, and construction and property management. With more than 800 projects representing 6.6 million square feet and $1 billion in investment in 34 states, the Primax footprint is everywhere.

Whether the job calls for developing dozens of new stores for a Fortune 500 retailer’s multi-state rollout or helping an emerging company with its first expansion effort, Primax is the turn-key solution that brands can count on.

Commercial Construction & Renovation sat down with David O’Brien, Preconstruction Manager, to get a peek into how the Primax Properties machine operates and where the firm is heading.

Give us a snapshot of the Primax Properties brand?

We are a real estate development and investment company focused on repetitive retail and commercial projects nationwide for our end-user tenants. We provide our clients the complete real estate development process, including site selection, project design and value engineering, permitting, financing, construction management and property management.

Who are some of those brands you work with?

We work with various chain stores, both corporate and franchisees, for financial institutions, early learning centers, quick service restaurants and coffee shops, auto parts stores, drug stores, grocery stores, discount retail stores and indoor gun ranges, among others.

Tell us a little about how you work with them in the areas of development, property management and construction?

Primax Properties focuses on the development and ownership of single-tenant retail properties, multi-tenant retail centers, professional/medical office buildings and educational facilities. The majority of Primax’s activity involves multiple and repetitive assignments from national retail chain stores, where we operate as their “preferred developer” across multi-state territories.

We go where our tenants need us, from coast to coast. We take particular pride in the number of tenants that have looked to Primax for their real estate needs over the course of 10-, 15- or 20-plus years. Few things are more satisfying than a successful partnership that spans decades. And there’s no better testimonial to what we do.

Primax Services LLC (an affiliate of Primax Properties) provides a full service approach to property management, with the mission of

meeting and exceeding the property owner’s goals while maximizing the returns of the asset. Our property management team was initially focused on the in-house Primax real estate portfolio, but in 2002 we expanded into third-party representation.

Today, Primax manages more than 225 properties, comprising of 2.7 million square feet. Our property management services include asset management, facilities management, financial reporting, receivables management, payables management, vendor and contract management, leasing and lease administration, due diligence inspections, proprietary “Primax PROJECT” management software and 24-hour on-call management accessibility.

For construction management, Primax Properties places the utmost importance on planning and implementation of each project’s construction. Negotiating a new project and securing permit entitlements means little if the preconstruction and in-the-field construction are not properly administered.

Almost all of our retail sectors are still growing very well, and the market overall is still very good.

Primax’s construction management team averages more than 20 years of experience and is comprised of licensed general contractors and a licensed architect, with an extensive track record of delivering on-time, on-budget projects from coast to coast.

Our preconstruction group utilizes stateof-the-art tools such as SITEOPS site engineering and land development software. Our team uses our custom-designed proprietary Primax PROJECT system for construction schedule management. Primax’s start-tofinish construction management allows us to deliver to our tenants the best combination of quality, price, schedule and value.

Our construction management services include project cost estimating and proforma modeling, scope of work definition, including site investigation, permitting reviews and schedule forecasting, plan reviews, compliance and value engineering, coordination and management of third-party architects and engineers. It also offers bidding and negotiating contracts with general contractors, construction scheduling and ongoing progress reporting to tenants, and project management through the construction cycle and following completion and delivery.

More and more of the contractors we work with utilize a cloud-based project management progress reporting and monitoring platform.

What sectors are showing the most growth? Which can show improvements?

Almost all of our retail sectors are still growing very well, and the market overall is still very good.

What are some of the biggest trends you see in the market today?

Increased material costs. In most cases, I have to estimate what the cost of one of our projects will be at least a year in the future, approximately the time it takes from site commitment to receiving contractor bids from the construction drawings. Many suppliers and contractors had significant price increases in the past year that were not always expected. The trend for the time being seems to have leveled off though.

Contractor technology adoption is another trend. More and more of the contractors we work with utilize a cloud-based project management progress reporting and monitoring platform. I see construction web cam and drone usage increasing as well.

On the construction side, our biggest issue is finding quality contractors and suppliers that can deliver repeatedly at a competitive price.

Another trend is Building Information Modeling (BIM). I see more and more clients and designers using BIM as a tool, but usage overall on the projects I see is about 15 percent.

What's the biggest issue today related to the construction side of the business? The management side of the business?

On the construction side, our biggest issue is finding quality contractors and suppliers that can deliver repeatedly at a competitive price. Most of our stores are somewhat repetitive construction wise, so finding the right contractor who gets it all figured out cost and schedule wise, and can deliver for us nationally or regionally, is always a blessing.

Describe a typical day.

I manage construction for a couple of projects in addition to preconstruction, so I usually first tend to what is happening in the field to ensure things are running smoothly.

Throughout the week I have five or so development and preconstruction teleconferences with various clients and design teams to discuss progress updates and to manage the preconstruction process.

I’m also always creating and updating budgets and estimates for projects being considered. I usually visit the sites prior to creating a budget estimate as well, prior to soliciting bids.

Tell us what makes the Primax brand so unique?

Primax Properties is truly a turnkey solution for someone needing full, single source delivery of multiple chain store sites, from conception through delivery and property management. CCR

One-on-one with...

David O’Brien

Preconstruction Manager, Primax Properties

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Watching the more challenging projects progress to fruition, from site selection, clearing the entitlement process, budgeting, design, construction and delivery to a satisfied client.

What was the best advice you ever received? Early on in my career, I had a mentor who told me that the harder I work, the luckier I get. I find that to be true every day.

What’s the best thing a client ever said to you? “Man that was a tough one. Let’s do it again.” A client said this to me after we delivered a very technically difficult project on time.

Name the three strongest traits any leader should have and why. Competence—you must first have a good understanding of how the company’s products and services are delivered.

Integrity—do the right thing, even when it isn’t the best thing for the project or bottom line.

Decisiveness—be willing to take a risk and know when not to.

How do you like to spend your down time? I have an amazing wife and four great kids, ranging in age from 13 to 23. We enjoy spending time together, whether its spent at the beach or attending North Carolina State Wolfpack games with friends and family.

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