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R x TO IMPRESS Walgreens’s new flagship stores DC GIANT The 1812 North Moore skyscraper


@WORK Centerpoint Properties transformed a Superfund site that was almost the largest US landfill into the nation’s largest inland port

Finish a report and play a game of basketball. Strategize while taking a yoga class. This is the new American work environment, and employees of forward-thinking firms* are reaping the benefits.



Unique brands deserve unique architecture.

Strategy Branding Design Architecture



12 Designing for Video Gamers Curt Wilhelm will make you the desk of your dreams—if you work for Electronic Arts 20 Silicon Valley of the South Tech giant Citrix is moving to Raleigh, NC, with forward-thinking environment planning 56 A Horsepower-ful Workplace Design The bright, futuristic, automobile-inspired offices of 68 Spoiling Employees Worldwide How the much-revered Utah campus of Adobe is influencing the design of the company’s other offices 83 Redefining What It Means to Be Blue Intuitive work spaces and luxury airport lounges are on the agenda for American Express’s new design team 90 Under Armour, the Underdog Aiming to compete with the likes of Nike and Adidas, Under Armour’s aggressive growth plan means flexible, fun workplaces

On the COVER To showcase the concept of work-meets-fun office designs, we collected products from our staff and carefully assembled them on a white background. Seen here, ABQ staffers Kyle Newton and Kathy Kantorski straighten items with as much surgical precision as they can muster, while photographer Sheila Barabad hangs above from a makeshift scaffold, and Geoff George holds the flash umbrella. Teamwork!

Photograph by Sheila Barabad

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8 A Collegiate Business Plan Investment Property Advisors targets college towns for its apartment complexes, including its latest development in Indy 16 The Next “It” Place to Live In Minneapolis, Greco, LLC is retrofitting warehouses and building new complexes in key locations for apartment dwellers


16 46 The Windy City’s New Destination A look inside MileNorth, a recent addition to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and Destination Hotels’ portfolio

46 96 Prescribing Change Walgreens’s new flagship locations will change the way you look at drugstores


103 The New Iowa Business Hub The Des Moines International Airport is upgrading its facilities to accommodate the city’s rise in popularity


107 “It’s a theater; it has no future.” Rob Kaufman’s journey to realizing the error of that statement led to the revitalization of the Old Town Theater 110 All That Sparkles Rebranding Helzberg Diamonds— from store revamps to the Proposal Pro mobile app—is all about customer engagement (pun intended)

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Photos: Carbon Creative (top left), Nicholas Waring (top right), Jamie Padgett (bottom left), provided courtesy of The Trust for Public Land (bottom right)


52 More Than Just Fondue The Melting Pot’s restaurant design makes it a favorite locale for celebrating special occasions


26 A Fascination With Airports James McCluskie made his mark at FLL; now he’s doing the same with the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority


32 Primetime: August How the University of Arkansas uses tight summer construction schedules to complete campus upgrades 37 Finishing What Someone Else Started For Indiana’s Thorpe Creek community, it was Fischer Homes to the rescue


40 The Tallest Building in Metro DC The story behind the 390-foot-tall addition to Rosslyn, Virginia’s skyline

76 All In A Year’s Work A major merger and $25 billion in property acquisitions made for a wildly successful 2013 for Realty Income Corporation 81 The Making of a General Counsel Tim White went from private-practice law to in-house counsel for Meritage Homes, realizing his passion for the homebuilding industry


88 Stepping Up for Siemens Siemens Real Estate’s head of the Americas region is keeping the company at the cutting edge of progress and innovation on a growing trajectory


62 Risky Business CenterPoint Properties’ gamble on a soon-to-be landfill turned the site into the nation’s largest inland port

6 Editor’s Letter 7 Index of People & Companies


114 Out of the Box Urban planning, green space, and the arts come together in Chicago’s The 606

114 APR | MAY | JUN 2014



I don’t pretend to be an expert. But it’s not just the employees that are benefiting from this evolution in workplace design; companies are recognizing that not every employee requires a dedicated desk, and that they can therefore shrink their real estate portfolios, saving money and making employees happier at the same time.


Christopher Howe


Kathy Kantorski

Photo: Michelle Nolan



of true experts to a broad audience. And when I come across messages that are powerful enough to require little to no editing, I have to point extra attention toward them. One such message is in this issue, from Steve Nicholson of Citrix (p.20):

Learn all about it in this issue! The Utah campus of Adobe (p.68) is likely the most renowned workplace in the new era of playful office spaces; learn how the company is implementing the site’s design concepts in its other offices worldwide. The aforementioned Citrix is bringing its headquarters to Raleigh, transforming—and getting inspiration from—an abandoned warehouse. American Express (p.83) has named its office-transformation initiative BlueWork (the company’s Brighton, England, offices may make you want to move across the pond), and Under Armour (p.90) is embracing the open-space, flexibility concepts of the new trend to accommodate its growth spurts. Video-game publisher Electronic Arts (p.12) is focusing on personalizing its real estate for the employees of each of its particular locales, recognizing that “to create a game, you need a mind,” says Curt Wilhelm, who uses city and regional heat mapping to select ideal new office locations near clusters of homes, bars, and restaurants. And, last but not least, (p.56) has created a brightly colored, brightly lit, futuristic workplace in Atlanta that accurately represents its brand. As David Heidlauf puts it, “We believe in being bold and loud.”

Geoff George


Christopher James Palafox


Zach Baliva Annie Monjar Lindsey Howald Patton



Kyle Newton


PUBLISHING GUERRERO HOWE, LLC Pedro Guerrero, President Christopher Howe, CEO & Publisher

“Work is not a place,

it’s something you do.”

It’s a simple, understandable concept, and it perfectly explains this issue’s theme of the evolving office space. With better-than-ever mobile phones, tablets, and computers, workers don’t need to spend eight hours a day at their desks anymore. Goodbye to cubicles and walled-in offices; hello to bench seating, open-space designs, employee lounges, and “break-out” areas—even athletic facilities and cafés.


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Kathy Kantorski Managing Editor



Titus Dawson


ACCOUNT MANAGERS Pat Beatty Rebecca Biske Jacob Simmons

SALES EXECUTIVES Sari Goldhoff Brendan Healy Gianna Isaia Alex Kalpaxis Matt Klancic




Stacy Kraft


Vianni Busquets



Mokena Trigueros


Whitney LaMora Samantha Slawinski

SUBSCRIPTIONS + REPRINTS For a free subscription, please visit Printed in China. Reprinting of articles is prohibited without permission of Guerrero Howe, LLC. For reprint information, contact Stacy Kraft at 312.256.8460 or

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ABC Adobe American Express Anderson, Steven L. Baird, Ed Belt, Bryan Berkon, James BNSF Railroad CBRE CenterPoint Properties Citrix Collins Engineers

68 83 35 56 51 103 40 62 59 62 21 114

DEF Des Moines International Airport 103 Destination Hotels & Resorts 46 Donald W. Reynolds Foundation 34 Electronic Arts 16 Ellingsen, Steven 51 Evans, Scott 52 Fischer, Henry & Elaine 37 Fischer Homes 37 FITCH 96 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport 26 Frances Whitehead 114 Francom, Jonathan 68 Frito-Lay 14 Front Burner Brands 52

Jurgens, Neil Kaufman, Rob Kriner, Brad Kruklinski, Michael LogPlan USA Lunceford, Rebecca

MNO M Moser McCluskie, James McMahon, Tim Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates The Melting Pot Meritage Homes MidAmerican Energy Monday Properties National Nuclear Security Administration Nicholson, Steve ODCM

STU Sensenbrenner, Shirli Smith, Fred W. Siemens Sorrick, Chase Under Armour Union Pacific Railroad University of Arkansas Urban Land Institute


114 52 80 105 40 62 20 68

Pfeiffer, Michael 76 Perkins + Will 56 Plank, Kevin 92 PMA Properties 107 Raff, Beryl 110 Realty Income Corporation 76 Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority 26 Roeder, Richard 112 Rogers, Brent 12

Gannon, Thomas 83 Gettys 51 Goldman Sachs 41 Gough, Larry 8 Greco, LLC 12 Gregory, Arnie 12 Heidlauf, David 56 Helmig, Tim 40 Helzberg Diamonds 110 Hemmer, Daniel 62 Hill, Ryan 96 Holder Construction 56 Hughes Litton Godwin 56 Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis 103 Investment Property Advisors 8

Johnson, Mike

90 26 38




90 107 37 88 103 51

46 34 88 8 90 62 32 25

VWXYZ Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA) 68 Walgreens 96 Wellman, Parke 110 Westreich, Anthony 41 Westreich, Stanley 44 White, Tim 80 Wilhelm, Curt 16 WRNS Studio 68

AECOM 31 AIW, Inc./American Iron Works 43 Alliance Architecture 25 ARA Construction 102 Atkins 31 BARR Concrete 45 Bowling Mamola Group 31 Bryan Cave LLP 67 CenterPoint Properties 61 Clark Contractors 36 Colliers International 67 Core Architects, Inc. 36 DeJames Builders, Inc. 99 Earl Gray & Sons Plumbing 39 FITCH 2 Foth 106 gb&d magazine 15 Green & Hall 79 Greenberg Glusker 75 HVAC Unlimited Inc. 109 JCM Associates, Inc. 45 KMDI 113 Landrum & Brown 30 Latham & Watkins LLP 75 LCM Architects 45 LogPlan USA 106 Lynxspring 109 M Moser Associates 94 McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP 79 NETCOR Design Systems, Inc. 24 Nigel Marson Photography, Inc. 95 NOVO Construction 15 Osman Construction Corporation 102 Pacific Northern, Inc. 113 Perkins + Will 116 Premier Office Acoustics 61 Profile magazine 67 Rapt Studio 73 Roetzel & Andress 80 Snell & Wilmer LLP 82 TCF Commercial Banking 115 TME, Inc. 36 Weber Concrete Construction 39 Whittenberg Construction 11 Wilenchik & Bartness 82 Winthrop Weinstine 19 Witsell Evans & Rasco Architects/Planners 36 Wolfenzon Rolle 79 WRNS Studio 73

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“It pays to be patient and get the right site,” says Chase Sorrick, cofounder and owner of IPA. This strategy resulted in 9 on Canal, the firm’s newest student-housing development near Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, located along the Indiana Central Canal and neighboring such Indianapolis attractions as the Eiteljorg Museum, the Indiana History Center, the USS Indianapolis memorial, the NCAA Hall of Champions, and more.


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A Graduation from Dorms Midwestern developer Investment Property Advisors designs carefully crafted student-oriented housing that even surrounding communities can embrace by Christopher James Palafox IN 2004, LARRY GOUGH AND CHASE SORRICK, who had worked together previously, decided to partner up to develop a prime piece of Indiana property located near Valparaiso University in Indiana. Around the same time, the City of Valparaiso approached Gough to act as a consultant on a new district meant to spur redevelopment in the area, and he and Sorrick formed Investment Property Advisors, LLC (IPA) to enter into a contract with the city. In the process, the pair lost the initial property they were working on, but they went on to assemble nine other parcels, tear down 15 buildings, and complete a successful development called the Uptown East over the course of three years. From this original project, IPA’s strategy of obtaining and redeveloping perfectly positioned plots near universities was born. “It pays to be patient and get the right site,” Sorrick says. “It can be pretty painful because all the money is at risk until you have a development plan that’s been approved, but if you just stay the course, on the other side, you end up with property that’s ideally positioned, and all of that becomes worth it.” Gough and Sorrick never forgot the allure of

the university-adjacent property they first held, and they’ve since made such parcels a specialty of their company. One of their latest projects, 9 on Canal, is on just such a plot, and it perfectly exemplifies the way their company develops with the surrounding community in mind. The mixed-use residential building, begun in 2009, is sited on the historic Indiana Central Canal and strategically located minutes from downtown Indianapolis and the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). IPA jumped on the project when it recognized that IUPUI has only three percent of its student body in university-supplied housing. The company looked for property that could be turned into private housing close to the university’s graduate buildings on the northern end of the canal, and there turned out to be a parcel right in the middle of them. So, IPA obtained that land and an adjacent plot owned by the city to create a project large enough to stand out on the canal. Sorrick and Gough say good development planning helped their company win the bid for the city-owned land. After learning that

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Chase Sorrick

Larry Gough

Cofounder & Owner

Cofounder & Owner

IPA planned the taller 10-story portion of 9 on Canal to sit farther back from the Indiana Central Canal in order to make the building appear less intrusive.


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the north end of the canal, which is 18 feet below street level, didn’t have an ADA-accessible entrance or public restrooms, IPA added to its proposal a series of plans to improve a public-access building that would address both needs. Moreover, the developers decided to dedicate the structure to the city. In a further effort to appease city planners and area residents, IPA nixed its original 26-story plan in favor of a 10-story one because there were concerns that the original height was inappropriate for the historic location. There were no ordinances citing height limitations, but because the canal is a popular locale, IPA listened to its customer base and made the crowd-pleasing move. Additionally, the higher portion of the new, shorter building will be set back further from the canal in order to make the structure appear only four stories high. Indianapolis has a larger Regional Center Plan to build a world-class downtown by 2020, and in order to satisfy the groups behind that plan, IPA is designing with it in mind. One of the goals of the plan is to make developments more multimodal, and because IPA’s building is meant for students, who are within


walking distance of their campus, it will minimize the use of automobiles. The site is also located on a bus line and on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, a popular bike and pedestrian path. The building will boast a number of sustainable features, including green roofs for storm-water retention, areas dedicated to urban gardening, and an HVAC system that will reduce energy demand by 30 percent. And, its mixed-use design will allow more density, helping the Regional Center Plan reach its goal of doubling downtown Indianapolis’s population to 40,000. The commercial spaces will host a variety of businesses, including a CrossFit franchise, a restaurant, a coffee shop, and a frozen-yogurt shop. In total, the building will have 397 bedroom suites (down from 485 initially), and to entice students and young professionals, each unit will be fully furnished, with cable, Internet, and washers and dryers included in the cost of rent. There will also be private group-study rooms, a rooftop pool, and rooftop terrace. “We’re successful because we will go into a community and become neighborhood

advocates, finding out what the neighborhood wants and designing to that,” Sorrick says. He and Gough did that at IUPUI, and they’re looking to repeat the same process at Muncie, Indiana’s Ball State University and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. IPA has already gathered 23 parcels at Urbana, but it has taken them more than 18 months. The company is content to take its time, learning what the neighborhood wants then delivering something it needs.

Construction of 9 on Canal began in 2009 and is set to wrap soon. A total of 397 units will be leased in the complex. In addition to fully furnished suites, the project will include a rooftop pool and terrace to further entice prospective student renters.

Healthcare | Student Housing | Arts & Entertainment | Educational | Industrial | Parking Structures | Hotels & High Rise


Construction Management | General Contracting | Concrete Trades Self Performance 502.361.8891 |

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ALL WORK & ALL PLAY Video game publisher Electronic Arts is in the business of fun, so Curt Wilhelm shapes its workplaces to encourage and reflect that by Christopher James Palafox 12

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Desks at EA’s Bucharest, Romania, location have low walls that make the exchange of ideas between coworkers easier. Many EA offices have open layouts meant to increase productivity by encouraging collaboration and creative interaction everywhere.


hether it’s a minimalist piece, meant to spur creativity from within, or one with space for a veritable army of plastic figurines, meant to springboard one’s imagination through play, Curt Wilhelm will make you the desk of your dreams —if you work for Electronic Arts (EA), that is. His fanciful work spaces not only cater to employees’ whims but also make room for three PCs, a pair of servers, an Xbox One, a PlayStation 4, a tablet, a mobile phone, and possibly more, depending on the project. Crafting such environments to foster both creativity and productivity takes planning and experience. But for Wilhelm, EA’s vice president of global real estate facilities and employee services, the design of unique workplaces where games can be freely dreamed up poses the sorts of challenges he’s made a career of overcoming. Not just for armchair quarterbacks and couch-potato commandos, the titles that EA creates and distributes are for gamers and nongamers alike. As a top-three global video game publisher, it sells titles for the sports faithful (Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer) and the more casual crowd (The Sims, Plants vs. Zombies) alike. Basically, anyone who has stepped into a college dorm room or a long airport line has probably witnessed someone playing an EA product. More than 70 worldwide offices are needed to conceive and market the company’s diverse product lineup, and EA’s employee base runs the gamut from fresh-out-of-school Millennials to baby boomer industry vets.

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Curt Wilhelm on… Hidden Valley’s secret ingredient: “At my old company (Frito-Lay), once you’ve learned how to make a potato chip, it’s pretty similar no matter what. All you’re doing is maybe changing the flavor from Ranch to Hidden Valley Ranch, even though it’s the same seasoning.”

Style-savvy landlords: “We’ve had issues where we’ve looked at buildings and the landlords aren’t interested in having a gaming company in there because of the way we dress. They’re concerned that we’re going to be coming in in flip-flops and T-Shirts, and they want to have a different image for their building. You get taken aback by that—you’re like ‘Really? I’m having this conversation with you?’”

The games he plays: “My two favorites right now are actually Plants vs. Zombies 2 and Simpsons: Tapped Out. I’ve been playing Simpsons for almost a year now, and I play it every night for about an hour. I’m addicted to it. Plants vs. Zombies [is a game] I just started [playing]. Because I travel a bit and I’m out on the road, I like those games that I can play while I’m waiting in line or when I’m standing to board a plane.”


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So, rather than create cookie-cutter spaces, Wilhelm embraces diversity and tries to respond to the distinctive needs of EA’s various work environments. After working in several departments at Frito-Lay in Dallas (including information management, corporate services, meeting planning, and facilities management), Wilhelm was recruited by EA to be its director of facilities. As a company, EA was centralizing its employee services, and Wilhelm saw the opportunity to do the same with its real estate department, folding it underneath the human resources umbrella. Before, EA’s individual locations were not part of a system, which made it more difficult for the company to be aware of every lease or to plan out what it would do when certain leases expired. Wilhelm put the processes in place that allowed real estate projects to be tracked, including not only their leases but also their fit-outs and build-outs. This allowed for better leases and more beneficial locations. Wilhelm also brought to the company a renewed focus on and commitment to individual workers. “Real estate and facilities’ whole existence is to create environments that attract and retain staff— because to create a game you need a mind; it’s not like you’re creating widgets,” he says. Wilhelm chooses where a building will be located based on its workforce. The company’s diverse age range means that mass transportation is an integral feature, and proximity

to restaurants, bars, and even the employees’ homes is considered. In conjunction with HR, Wilhelm uses city and regional heat mapping to find ideal office locations near where homes are clustered. Each office has to be a place where employees want to go to work and also where they will be comfortable. Finding a landlord that’s the right fit is also critical. Typically, buildings run their electrical and HVAC systems between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., but ordinary hours do not work for EA, so finding a building that is flexible with its systems is important. After making sure that each building meets basic team needs for accessibility, technology, security, and comfort, Wilhelm then works with employees to bring in region-specific amenities. Past extras have included a swimming pool, a fitness center with an indoor basketball court, and even a soccer field on top of a parking lot at the company’s Burnaby, British Columbia, campus in Canada. “Every space has to be unique,” Wilhelm says. “It’s what’s going to work with the group. Are they more into fitness? Or do they want to be next to inexpensive food?” Wilhelm also looks for on-site or adjacent amenities that take you away from work. “Some offices have facilities to repair dings on an employee’s car, or a car wash, or similar types of services,” he says. “We have that on site so you don’t have to get away to do those kinds of things. [We also have] on-site or adjacent yoga, childcare, or even

Portrait: Najib Joe Hakim


NOVO Construction’s mission is to build long-term relationships with loyal customers. We would rather do a hundred projects for one customer than one project for a hundred customers. Individual work spaces for EA employees are often custom outfitted with multiple screens and consoles for video game development.

Corporate TI’s Infrastructure

prayer and mother’s rooms, depending on the region. A number of offices allow pets to inhabit their walls. It’s got to be fun and creative.” This doesn’t mean productivity gets forgotten, though. “I never want to have anyone miss a deadline or production ship date because of a facilities issue,” Wilhelm says. If he does his job well, the employees in his buildings never even notice the important part he has played in keeping their lights on and their systems running. Pick a desk, any desk: there you’ll find an employee whose work space allows him or her to be creative. Let the games begin.

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EA encourages play to keep its workers’ creative minds abuzz. At the Burnaby, British Columbia, office, a full-size soccer field sits atop the parking garage.

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1. ELSEWAREHOUSE Specs: 116 units, six floors Accolades: on the local and national registries of historic buildings; named Best of 2013 by the Star Tribune Highlights: exposed brick, solid aged-pine flooring, a six-story atrium, and a large rooftop deck

Raw finishes, including exposed brick and piping, mark Greco’s ElseWarehouse as a stylishly modern historical-rehab project.

Where the “In” Crowd Lives Whether the structures are new or old, for sale or not, Minneapolis-based Greco, LLC proves that choosing A-plus sites in the inner-urban core is key to developing the next “it” places to live by Christopher James Palafox


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IN 2009, THE OWNER OF THE FORMER FACTORY space at 730 Washington Avenue North in Minneapolis had no plans to sell his property—and likely little idea that it was slowly being circled like exposed prey. Locally based Greco, LLC had identified his building as a good redevelopment opportunity, but the firm knew that acquiring it would take care and precision, so it approached the owner multiple times over the course of a year and a half just to get him comfortable with the idea of letting his building go. Once he did, though, the firm was able to transform the space into ElseWarehouse, a 116-unit residential development completed in 2013. The project is emblematic of Greco’s dedication to proper location, choosing A-plus sites in revitalized neighborhoods—a strategy that reflects the firm’s status as not only a developer but also a property manager, catering to its clients well beyond the design phase. Arnie Gregory, the company’s founder, CEO, and namesake, has been involved in the real estate industry since the early 1990s. It was in 2002, though, after applying for an RFP in Bloomington, a Minneapolis suburb, that he and his crew created Gregory Real Estate Company—for no other reason than to have an entity to work under. Not a fan of the spotlight, Gregory quickly shortened the company name to Greco, and then in 2007, the company’s property-manage-


ment arm, Greco Properties, opened for business. Not only did this new arm allow the firm to control more of its expenses; it also gave the firm the opportunity to approach a new field with the same attention to detail and creativity that it had tackled development work with.


VP of Development

“WE REALLY FOCUS ON THE BEST TYPES OF LOCATIONS,” says Brent Rogers, Greco Development’s vice president and Greco Properties’ president. “The types of places where people want to live are the places that get the highest rents, and while they’re hard to find and can be expensive and hard to work with, they’re still the best.” This is why Greco, as a small company, chooses to work only on large-scale projects and only take on a couple of projects at a time, so it can concentrate its efforts and ensure quality. Greco has, so far, focused primarily on two Minneapolis neighborhoods, both of which offer unique amenities that appeal to a wide range of clients. In Uptown, the firm has completed the Lime Apartments and the Flux Apartments, located approximately a halfmile apart from each other. An old railroad bed runs straight through the neighborhood from the Mississippi River to the western suburbs, and it has been transformed into an uninterrupted 5.7-mile bike and recreational path called the Midtown Greenway. Its convenient access to area lakes, bars, and

restaurants was a big part of Greco’s decision to develop multifamily housing nearby. Begun in 2006, the Lime Apartments development is Greco’s latest in the neighborhood. The firm had the space for a long time but felt that it was too small; however, next door was a VFW with a surface parking lot, so Greco approached its owners in order to buy the air rights to the lot. The firm built additional parking beneath and above the ground level, and thanks to that extra space, it was able to complete its adjacent 175,000-squarefoot, 171-unit residential project in 2013. LOCATED ABOUT FOUR MILES AWAY from the Uptown neighborhood is the North Loop, which contains Greco’s ElseWarehouse and Copham historical-rehab projects, sited a mere two blocks from each other. The Copham, with 120 units, was completed in September 2012 and was 100 percent leased by the next month. ElseWarehouse opened in January 2013 and was fully leased by May. Both projects have large window openings, ceilings as high as 14 feet, and, most importantly, the sort of character that modern developers can no longer afford to build. Gregory’s first experience with historical rehabs was in 1991, when he redeveloped an old downtown YMCA building. The project taught him about both the satisfaction of restoring beautiful period architecture and the financial perks of working on a rehab

1 3


Photos: StudioTart (portrait), Carbon Creative (opposite page)


Mississippi River

Greco has concentrated its development in two Minneapolis neighborhoods: North Loop, where its ElseWarehouse (1) and Copham (3) historical-rehab projects are located; and Uptown, a revitalized district that contains Greco’s Flux (2) and Lime (4) apartments. (Lime is in an area known as Uptown Lyn-Lake.)

Lake of the Isles

Lake Calhoun




Midtown Greenway


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Arnie Gregory

President & Owner


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3. THE COPHAM Specs: 120 units, seven floors Accolades: on the local and national registries of historic buildings Highlights: mixed-use building; has a rooftop deck, underground parking, and an on-site restaurant

4. LIME APARTMENTS Specs: 171 units, six floors Highlights: a rooftop deck, a splash deck with a pool and a hot tub, a coffee and wine bar, and mood-driven spaces with sights and sounds that change from day to night

4 Photos: Megan Dobratz (portrait), Carbon Creative (projects)


Specs: 216 units, six floors Accolades: named Top Project by Finance & Commerce; named Best in Real Estate by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; won a Green Initiative Award from the Minnesota Multi Housing Association Highlights: faces the Greenway; has an Internet café, a bar, a large outdoor pool with massage cabanas, a grill area, a dog park, and lawn bowling

project. In particular, he learned how to raise equity in a new way using federal historic tax credits, and since then, the State of Minnesota has implemented the Minnesota Historical State Tax Credit, which actually makes rehab projects lucrative there. However, such properties are also difficult to find. “The materials and the architecture that these historic buildings were constructed with back in the early 1900s, you could just never afford to build today,” Rogers says. “These buildings have great character, and because of how the economics work, it’s not like you can just put one up next door.” So, when Greco finds such a property that’s properly sized and that might actually be available, you can bet it does everything it can to add the building to its portfolio. Because of the tax incentives that come with historicalrehab work, the ElseWarehouse and Copham projects are now able to offer rents that are 20–40 cents less per square foot than those of newly constructed apartments. This setup allows the old buildings, originally built for an entirely different use, to better The courtyard of Greco’s compete with the space efficiencies of Flux apartments is fully newer residences, and it encourages tricked out with a pool, far more responsible land use. massage cabanas, lawn bowling, and a grill area. “We like to revitalize neighborhoods rather than go out and buy The Copham is another a 10-acre piece in some suburb,” Gregof Greco’s rehab projects. ory says. “We see the excitement in Such developments are doing urban inner core because with lucrative thanks to federal and state tax credits. that you have to be good at picking out locations. You can either be a winThe Lime apartments are ner or a loser.” Greco is committed to colorfully furnished and using local contractors and subconfinished, helping attract tractors as well—and in fact, through young renters to the development’s revitalized Gregory, it has worked with Hopkins, neighborhood. Minnesota-based FRANA Companies since the early 1990s, involving the builder throughout the design phase. By not putting its contracting needs up for repeated bidding, Greco may lose some money on the front end, but its experience and kinship with FRANA create a stronger, more unified vision between the two companies, which usually leads to a limited number of change orders. Greco isn’t afraid to wait things out, and its foresight regarding renters’ desires to live in historic buildings or near popular area amenities such as the Midtown Greenway has led the firm to continued success, including at least a handful of record-breaking leasing periods. Greco’s patience and a commitment to planning may cost it more in the short-term, but these virtues have also led it to long-term profitability.

A MESSAGE FROM WINTHROP & WEINSTINE, P.A. Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. congratulates Greco Real Estate Development and Property Management for its leadership in developing projects and communities, including The Copham and ElseWarehouse in Minneapolis. Winthrop & Weinstine’s seasoned real estate and tax-credit attorneys represent investors and developers in LIHTC, new markets, and historic-tax-credit matters. The breadth of our firm-wide experience also benefits clients in complementary areas, including multiunit housing, environmental, lending, condominium law, cooperative law, bankruptcy, and construction law. Learn more on our website:

REAL Estate. UNREAL Service.

Todd B. Urness Chair, Real Estate Group Real Estate, Construction, Finance, Tax, Affordable Housing, Federal and State Tax Credits Direct: (612) 604-6657, Email: Capella Tower Suite 3500 225 South Sixth Street Minneapolis, MN 55402 Main: (612) 604-6400 A Professional Association

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The elevator shaft, which will actually be a light-blue color, will be shaped by colored glass, making it a focal point that both contributes to the space’s ambiance and makes the elevator easy to locate.

A gantry crane appears to be supporting the shipping containers, a design element that gives a nod to the original function of the warehouse.

Complementing the historicalwarehouse theme, the stacked shipping-container conference rooms will be colored to represent Citrix product lines, including ShareFile and others from the GoTo software family.


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REVOLUTION On the third floor, a café is located underneath curved glulam beams. The headquarters’ gym is on the same level.

The headquarters’ main entry features a revolving door and processional steps that lead to the reception area.

For its new headquarters, Citrix is transforming an abandoned warehouse into a tech-advanced facility while also transcending the traditional idea of the workplace, creating a communityminded location in more ways than one by Christopher James Palafox

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“WORK IS NOT A PLACE; IT’S SOMETHING YOU DO.” This is the maxim that guides Steve Nicholson. The senior director of real estate strategy and operations for Citrix is on a mission to shape the flexible office of the not-so-distant future, and it’s no accident that he’s doing so at a company known for creating cloud-computing software that enables mobile work styles. Together, he and the company are perfectly suited to espouse ideas that deemphasize the importance of the workplace and introduce the possibility of “the office of anywhere.” Certain tasks and discussions are simply better done in person, though, so even as Citrix helps companies challenge the concept of the traditional office with its software, it still needs offices of its own in which its employees can meet and collaborate when they need to. Enabling flexibility in these spaces while still making them places where employees feel compelled to go is one of Nicholson’s main goals, and to accomplish it, he gets to have a little fun. His most recent project, the transformation of an abandoned Raleigh, North Carolina, warehouse into an ultramodern 172,000-square-foot office headquarters, is meant to revitalize the area’s warehouse district and push the envelope of what an office can be. Citrix is having its contractor build the conference rooms for its headquarters from old shipping containers that were already at the site.


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Spurred by the acquisition of locally based ShareFile, Citrix’s move to North Carolina is meant to attract and retain workers from the state’s blossoming talent pool. The average age of ShareFile’s employees is 27, and they want to be able to live, work, and play all in the same general area. Raleigh is a city on the rise, and the excitement there is palpable—residents randomly treat the new headquarters’ contractors to beers, Nicholson says. Citrix’s project signals further growth, and the company is investing significantly in the operation, promising that it will create 337 new jobs over the next five years. The city has embraced Citrix, and the company wants to reciprocate by creating a great place to work that also reflects the history of its unique site. The location, the former Dillon Supply Warehouse, is a single-story 50,000-squarefoot structure that, with the installation of drilled piles, will house an additional three floors, providing a seating capacity of approximately 900. Steel used to arrive there from the railroad, so Citrix is constructing conference tables from the old rail tracks, and to create the conference rooms themselves, the firm is having builders gut and weld together the shipping containers on site. The containers will actually be positioned to look like they’re suspended from a crane, further tying the building to its former use. By repurposing many of its site’s materials in this way, the new headquarters will honor its roots while also edging closer to its goal of LEED Gold certification. The project won’t just incorporate the old, though; it will also include indoor racquetball and basketball courts, a yoga facility, a café, a rooftop bocce court, and a 55-foot-wide living wall with a water feature below it. These amenities are meant to increase employee retention and make the staff evangelists for Citrix who will create the buzz to attract new workers. And of course, as a cutting-edge tech company, Citrix is also intent on integrating emergent ideas and products into its


The remodel of the former 50,000-squarefoot warehouse space will add two new floors and expand the structure to 172,000 square feet in total.

Citrix’s new work spaces are flexible stations that offer privacy while also being open enough to facilitate collaboration among employees. A racquetball court is just one of many on-site amenities that Citrix hopes to use to attract new employees from North Carolina’s growing talent pool.

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The rooftop bocce court is another space for play, but Citrix believes such amenities will also encourage organic, impromptu interaction and productivity among employees.

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office. “It’s pushing the limits of technology because we’re trying to take things right to the edge,” Nicholson says. “We’re not satisfied with things that are absolutely fully vetted.” Nicholson hopes to keep work and workers untethered, and he outlines a scenario in which an employee could take a tablet into an open-area “innovation zone” with an LED screen on the wall and have a meeting right there with a small group of people. Technology will also make Citrix’s new headquarters more comfortable. It will be a smart building, with sensors installed throughout various zones to regulate lighting, temperature, fresh-air levels, and energy use. A central monitoring system will oversee each zone, and if employees come in after hours, they will be able to ventilate and change the temperature of specific rooms with the push of a button. Citrix is even leveraging its own technology to increase the office’s collaborative potential. Simply having Wi-Fi readily available everywhere, including areas such as the café or the bocce court, allows for organic, impromptu interaction and productivity in less-traditional work spaces—and this, in turn, spurs creativity and a freer exchange of ideas. Plus, on the second floor, a college amphitheater-like space with stadium seating includes large projection screens that evoke the feeling of a student gathering. When Citrix announced its plans to move to Raleigh, it piqued the interest of the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit education and research establishment focusing on land use that enhances the environment. The institute invited Nicholson to be a panelist, and he revealed some of the considerations that were involved in choosing downtown Raleigh, explaining why Citrix considered it a future tier-one city. Determining what a tier-one site is and then building what Citrix calls “purpose-built environments,” where introverts and extroverts are able to work in harmony, is all part of the design process. Work may not be a place, but if one has to work somewhere, Citrix will make it special.

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“These are not just airports; they are a piece of the city.” James McCluskie made a name for himself in the field of airport design and planning with two projects for the Fort LauderdaleHollywood International Airport, and now he’s working his magic again in Reno, NV

The $750 million new runway at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), designed by James McCluskie, is scheduled for a September 2014 completion.

Photo: AECOM


PLENTY OF TRAVELERS AT THE AIRPORT SNAP Twitter or Instagram shots of 747s or panoramic views, but if you happen to see an upbeat and curious man aiming his camera at airport concourses or calculating runway slope, chances are you’ve located James McCluskie. Originally from Scotland, McCluskie plans and designs upgrades for airport authorities, and he recently moved from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to the Reno-Tahoe Airport, where he serves as vice president of planning, engineering, and environmental management. McCluskie, an entrepreneur at heart, spent the first 20 years of his career in city and regional planning and urban development, but even though he only has seven years in the airport industry, his work on a $750 million runway plan and a $500 million concourse reconstruction has quickly established him as a respected expert. He has taken to the work because of his experience in regional planning. “A lot of my career is going and doing things that I’m fascinated by in planning and developing the future,” he says. “It’s all driven by curiosity.” Here’s a look at the two projects that solidified his credentials and a roundup of what he’s currently working on.

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so phasing the project was also difficult. McCluskie had to streamline communication between construction teams and airport personnel because his revised plan called for the decommissioning and relocation of aircraft gates and the expansion of one of the concourses, with more additions to the airport’s international facilities. To achieve the appropriate runway length, the airport’s plan calls for an elevated surface that would stretch over an existing highway and railway situated at sea level. The planning team redesigned the middle of the airfield to flatten it out for operational simplicity, and in doing so, it raised the runway from an original plan of 45 feet to 65 feet, which will accommodate the required FAA slope-design guidelines. The entire airfield took six million cubic yards of fill—enough for two NFL stadiums. An added railway spur from an adjacent railway brought the dirt directly to the site, and workers have now erected an on-site, mobile concrete plant to produce the 480,000 square yards of concrete necessary for the new runway, taxiways, and aprons. Slated to wrap in September of 2014, the 8,000-foot-long structure will include a tunnel to support the runway and bridges to support an adjacent taxiway. Separating the structure into a tunnel and bridges has helped minimize costs related to project, fill, and fire-suppression infrastructure. The plan mitigates impact on area wetlands and on a nearby county park, and the county is coordinating with the project to replant

A rendering of the new Concourse G at FLL shows its swing gates. A runway and dual taxiways alongside the new structure will accommodate larger group-five airplanes. Bridges were worked into the design of FLL’s new runway to bypass an existing highway and rail line that sit at sea level. The project will require 480,000 square yards of concrete.

Photo: AECOM

When McCluskie arrived at FLL in 2006, the facility, with more than 600 daily flights, was stuck on a runway concept originally conceived in 1994. The ambitious addition of a new south runway was dogged by community controversy because of its location near wetlands and a surrounding neighborhood, and its hefty price tag approached $750 million. After the Board of County Commissioners approved the project and the airport’s CEO committed to long-range planning, McCluskie was tasked with designing and implementing the long-standing concept. He orchestrated a master plan and coordinated a noise study and an environmental study for the new runway—all in cooperation with the FAA. McCluskie had a strong planning team, including internal staff at Broward County and a group of consultants, that helped schedule the project to fit an extremely tight timetable. Then, in coordination with the planning and program-management team, he began drafting a new design for implementation. The plan, however, hit early snags. “The site was very constrained, and it was difficult not to impact the existing Concourse H operations in construction,” McCluskie says. “Also, the original plan of the elevated runway would require grade changes that [would] impact the rest of the airfield and [involve] costly improvements.” Airport traffic and flight schedules are notoriously inflexible, and airlines must plan for airfield changes six months in advance,


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“A lot of my career is going and doing things that I’m fascinated by in planning and developing the future. It’s all driven by curiosity.” James McCluskie VP of Planning, Engineering, and Environmental Services

native flora and provide shoreline protection. The plan also mitigates aircraft noise for the surrounding neighborhood. McCluskie worked to simplify all aspects of the plan and to incorporate sustainability while saving corporate dollars. Additionally, high-speed exits, which reduce emissions and save fuel costs, were added into the design with the help of the FAA. “We looked at aircraft runway occupancy and how long an aircraft has to sit,” McCluskie says, “and we tried to find ways to get them in and out of the airfield as fast as possible while limiting idling time.”

TERMINAL 4 / CONCOURSE G The other key element of FLL’s expansion is an addition to Terminal 4—the new $500 million Concourse G, to be completed by 2018. The new concourse will add 14 new international swing gates, laid out linearly and connected to Concourse H’s existing 10 gates situated in a pier design. The six-year project will include an array of new concession areas and restaurants, and it will more than double the existing structure’s square footage. McCluskie says the redesign will drastically reduce many traffic problems on the airfield and inside the terminal by helping to ease the bottlenecking of aircraft and passengers. An additional runway and dual taxiways alongside Concourse G can accommodate larger group-five airplanes, and terminal passengers will benefit from a new security checkpoint and exclusive corridors

leading directly to a customs area. Additionally, a pedestrian bridge to the neighboring terminal will make catching connecting flights at FLL easier than ever before. McCluskie chose to prioritize Terminal 4 over FLL’s other three terminals because Concourse H was being impacted by the work on the south runway. Modernization of the remaining three terminals and five concourses will follow. The airport eventually hopes to modernize all areas to post-9/11 standards, a simple step that will help drive revenues up by moving concessions behind security checkpoints, where passengers have more downtime. The well-planned airports in McCluskie’s native Europe have influenced his design choices. He draws particularly from Patrick Geddes, a fellow Scotsman and the father of regional planning. On a large scale, European facilities are better integrated with their communities via buses and other modes of transit. At FLL, the terminal facilities are similarly integrated on a smaller scale, with added pedestrian bridges, intuitive design, and improved wayfinding signage that will help travelers get from gate to gate more quickly. “America was industrialized so fast and populations increased so quickly that sometimes the terminals are massive and other times disjointed because of the rate of growth,” McCluskie says of other airports. “It’s hard to walk from point A to point B.” European designs are based more on the needs of affiliated cities and what people need from the facilities over a long period of time. So, McCluskie repeats one simple question when designing: what will the airport need over the next 20 years? That question helps him plan structures that will stand the test of time and be better integrated. At FLL, he built in accommodations for future light-rail stations because the airport is next to existing heavy rail that could become light rail. This was coordinated with local and state planning agencies, including the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Florida Department of Transportation. “These facilities are not just airports,” McCluskie says. “They are a piece of the city and a regional driver of the economy. What we do should respond to that as a legacy to future generations.”


Photo: AECOM

A year ago, McCluskie accepted his new position as a vice president with the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority (RTAA), which operates Reno -Tahoe International Airport and Reno-Stead Airport. McCluskie and his new team have already worked on the Gateway Central Checkpoint Project, a few airfield upgrades, the completion of a noise-mit-

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McCluskie’s design for the $6 million new terminal at Reno-Stead Airport includes an auxiliary emergency operations center and a pilots’ lounge.

igation program, and the construction of a new terminal at Reno-Stead. McCluskie has also brought in a geographic information system, a planning tool to assist with meeting FAA guidelines for developing airport layout plans and to assist future land development. The Gateway project included consolidating two checkpoints into a single, centralized checkpoint. And, like he did at FLL, McCluskie added concessions beyond the checkpoint to increase the revenue from passenger purchases during wait times. At Reno-Stead, the $6 million new terminal facility McCluskie is building will include an auxiliary emergency operations center and a pilots’ lounge. And at Reno-Tahoe, he’s making improvements to touchdown areas and aprons around the terminal in order to (literally) pave the way for future terminal modernization. Working for the RTAA presents McCluskie with a new host of challenges. Reno’s higher altitude means facilities must have longer runways with more take-off distance, and aircraft must approach over mountains rather than flatland. The area’s high temperatures in the summer affect density-altitude conditions and thus aircraft performance, and the cold winters make the construction season five months shorter than it is in Florida. There are also more seismic considerations to take into account. McCluskie’s new airports are smaller, and he’s working with a more limited budget, so he must find ways to leverage his resources to create projects without huge capital campaigns. He’s letting his curiosity and passion for continued learning drive him forward. “I still like to challenge myself and see how I do in different environments,” he says. He will continue working on airfield projects next year that will help the Reno-Tahoe International Airport keep its place as an asset in the community.


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Every Airport Begins with a Plan

Aerial Photos - Broward County Aviation Dept.

We at Landrum & Brown (L&B) are honored to be part of Jamie McCluskie’s Airport Planning Team including the physical and operational planning, NEPA processing, and financial planning for the new runway at FLL. Congratulations on your first year at RNO. We look forward to many successful projects to come.

Cincinnati | Boston | Chicago | New York | San Francisco | Los Angeles | Tampa Dubai | Hong Kong | Jeddah | London | Melbourne | Mumbai | Shanghai

Photo: H+K Architects


Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority’s Gateway project

“Bowling Mamola Group’s unparalleled project management services played a key role in bringing the Reno-Tahoe Airport’s important Gateway project to a successful completion.” -Krys T Bart, AAE, CEO (retired) Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Bowling Mamola Group is a woman-owned firm—SBA and Nevada certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise—proud to support Jamie McCluskie and the Reno-Tahoe International Airport team.

Bowling Mamola Group • PO Box 12926 • Reno, Nevada 89510 T 775.825.2000 • F 775.825.2020 •

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MAKING THE CONNECTION AECOM’s ability to efficiently manage airport development—large and small— helps airports stay competitive, including at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport. We are ranked #1 in Airports for 5 of the last 6 years by Engineering News-Record.

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CRAM SESSIONS The University of Arkansas uses tight summer construction schedules to complete renovations—$175 million worth in 2013—that will keep the institution in the vanguard as its student population grows



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WHILE THE STUDENTS ARE AWAY, the school will play. And, in the case of the University of Arkansas (UArk), “play” in the summer of 2013 meant the completion of $175 million worth of major construction projects across the campus—in the short time frame between late July and early August. The population at UArk has increased from 18,648 full-time students in the 20072008 school year to, most recently, 25,365 in the fall of 2013, and as one of the top 150 research institutions in the country, the school sees the continual upgrading of its facilities as fundamental to properly serving its expanding student body. But, with classes always starting in the third or fourth week of August, the university has a short window to update and enhance its facilities to stay on the cutting edge. “We live from one August to [another] for most of our projects,” says Mike Johnson, the university’s associate vice chancellor for facilities. The summer work is unlikely to end any time soon: the 2013 renovations are part of a 15-year facility-renewal and -stewardship

plan that the school’s chancellor and his team first approached UArk’s board of trustees with in 2008. Their aim is to tackle more than 75 years and $240 million in deferred maintenance at the historic university. “In 2021, we celebrate our sesquicentennial—our 150th anniversary,” Johnson says. “Our goal is to reduce our deferred maintenance significantly and to have restored and stewarded our iconic early buildings—as well as build new [ones] and maintain those so that our deferred maintenance doesn’t regenerate.” If UArk had not begun prioritizing maintenance at the chancellor’s request, Johnson estimates that its tabled projects would today cost roughly $275 million. Instead the university has cut the amount down to about $160 million—a 36 percent reduction over five years. Some of the funding for Johnson’s plan has come from grants, gifts, private investments, endowment earnings, and, of course, the annual operating budget, but a full 40 percent has come from a student credit-hour facility fee. The fee has allowed the university

Photo: University Relations, University of Arkansas


THE BUILD Old Main, built in 1875, is the University of Arkansas’s oldest building. The school will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2021, so it’s working to fully upgrade its campus before then.

Founders Hall Size: 75,700 sq. ft. Cost: $28.95 million Board Approval: August 2011 Groundbreaking: May 2012 Completed: August 2013

Ozark Hall

This six-story facility rests on the central campus grounds. Retail space occupies half of the ground level, and the other half is taken up by a 125-seat eating area. Half of the second floor holds an additional 200 seats, and the remaining four full floors contain 214 beds’ worth of housing. It’s another auxiliary building, subsisting on its combination of housing and dining, but it’s only a small part of the university’s more than three million square feet of total auxiliary space. UArk constructed the building mainly to ease traffic in the 650-seat dining facility nearby, which currently services 2,800 patrons during every 2.5-hour lunch rush. That number will only grow as the school’s population surges toward a projected 28,000 full-time students by 2017.

Size: 85,500 sq. ft. Cost: $28.6 million Board Approval: April 2010 Groundbreaking: September 2011 Completed: August 2013 Built in the 1940s with an addition in 1947, Ozark Hall was originally designed with a U shape that never quite came to be—until now. The missing 18,500square-foot section was added and now houses the Honors College, a seminar room, lounge areas, study areas, and an administrative-support area. The addition was funded largely by private donations, and it contributes to UArk’s nearly five million square feet of core campus space. The renovation also introduced central air-conditioning and an enclosed quadrangle courtyard, and on the building’s lower floor, a new 225-seat raked auditorium has been added for general use.

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Hotz Honors Hall Size: 96,400 sq. ft. Cost: $17.2 million Board Approval: May 2011 Groundbreaking: July 2012 Completed: August 2013 What’s old is new again. Having begun life in 1964 as one of six high-rise dorms on campus, Hotz Hall was converted in the early 1990s for administrative use, but now it has returned to its roots. Construction teams modernized the building inside and out to turn it back into a nine-floor, 416-bed dorm, which serves as home for students in the honors college. The remodeling project saved the university a projected $17 million when compared with the cost of new construction, and the building is now expected to last another 50 years.

Fred W. Smith Football Center Size: 82,000 sq. ft. Cost: $42.85 million Board Approval: May 2010 Groundbreaking: February 2011 Completed: July 2013

UArk is one of 20 institutions in the country where the athletics department is auxiliary and self-supporting. No student fees or state appropriations are used, and the department is instead funded through ticket sales and boosters. The school’s new football center is named after Fred W. Smith, the chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, an organization responsible for $10 million of the facility’s funding through a challenge grant. The center was built on the depressed site that once held the UArk Razorbacks’ two practice fields. It includes a locker room, team meeting rooms, an equipment room, a student-athlete lounge and study area, and a training room three times the size of the previous one. Outside, to make room for the center’s one artificial field and one natural field, the school razed a parking lot and built a 220-car garage underneath the artificial field. And, as an eco-friendly touch, UArk had two-thirds of the center designed as patio and green-roof space.


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Vol Walker Hall & Steven L. Anderson Design Center Size: 90,955 sq. ft. Cost: $36.9 million Board Approval: July 2010 Groundbreaking: July 2011 Completed: August 2013

“We live from one August to [another] for most of our projects.” Mike Johnson Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities

Vol Walker Hall was the campus’s original library, built in 1935, but since the 1970s it has been home to the architecture department. Its most recent renovation saw the removal of the old library stacks, which were replaced with a 56,635-square-foot gallery. Construction teams also connected the building, via walkways, to the Steven L. Anderson Design Center, named for the president of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which donated $10 million for the facility. The all-new 34,320-square-foot building was built using $16.8 million in private funds, and it will allow the interior design, landscape architecture, and architecture departments to exist under one roof.

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to bond almost $120 million toward projects so far. For any project costing more than $5 million, Johnson and his team use a construction management at-risk procedure, with a guaranteed maximum price to keep the work within budget constraints. The process requires a commitment from a third-party construction manager, who first acts as a consultant through development and design and then as the general contractor during construction. Such a system is necessary for UArk’s largescale projects because statutes in Arkansas dictate that higher-education institutions cannot do design-build. In-house, the university has a group that does campus planning and design, and it has another group of seven or eight who coordinate construction, managing projects from groundbreaking to completion. In total, the school’s facilities-management team consists of about 360 people, and the teams involved in construction number approximately 30 from across the campus. Five of 2013’s projects—the Fred W. Smith Football Center, Founders Hall, Hotz Honors Hall, Ozark Hall, and the Vol Walker Hall & Steven L. Anderson Design Center— add up to about $150 million of the allotted $175 million, with the remaining funds split between roughly 10 smaller builds. All the projects have been designed to LEED Silver specifications, a standard (specifying LEED Silver or Two Globes in the Green Globes system) that UArk has held since 2006, and they’re sure to maintain or add to the school’s rich architectural heritage.

In 2005, UArk installed a clock in Old Main’s South Tower—the first clockface in the building’s 130-year existence.



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Thorpe Creek At A Glance

Location: Fishers, IN Community size: 360 homes Community sections: The Knoll, The Woods, and The Overlook Custom homes by: Fischer Homes, Executive Homes, Bedrock Builders, and Precedent Homes Sold prior to Fischer Homes’ purchase Completed after Fischer Homes’ purchase The Knoll at Thorpe Creek The Overlook at Thorpe Creek The Woods at Thorpe Creek Community Center Amenities

Unarrested Development Cincinnati-based Fischer Homes has successfully expanded into the Indianapolis market thanks to Thorpe Creek, a community it saved from stagnation


STEP ONE: START FROM THE MIDDLE. At least, that was the approach of Fischer Homes, the largest builder, landowner, and developer in the greater Cincinnati area, when it took over the Thorpe Creek community in Fishers, Indiana, northeast of Indianapolis. The firm adopted Thorpe Creek from another developer that closed its offices midproject because of economic hardship, and by taking control of the neighborhood and shaping it, Fischer Homes was able to seize a larger opportunity for long-term growth in a new region. “Even though it’s not a community that we started from a piece of farm ground, we [were still able to] take over, dive in, and really adopt the community as if it were one of our own,” says Brad Kriner, Fischer Homes’ Indianapolis division president. However, in completing the project, Kriner and Fischer Homes felt a need to respect the vision of not only the previous developers but also the homeowners that were already living in Thorpe Creek — a customer-centric effort in keeping with the company’s foundational philosophies. Formed in 1980 by husband and wife Henry and Elaine Fischer, the hybrid custom-home builder and property developer started with the modest goal of building roughly 100 quality homes a year. Then, in 2008, it began expansion into other Ohio markets. It was Tim McMahon, now president

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and COO of Fischer Homes, who spearheaded the creation of the company’s Indianapolis division in 2009, working directly with members of the Fischer family to plan their expansion there and in other Midwestern cities. The company decided that the recession offered a perfect opportunity to build a new team and enter a weakened market only two hours away from its headquarters. Company chairman of the board Henry Fischer, an engineer by trade, is committed to flexible design and value engineering, and Fischer Homes as an organization seeks business flexibility as well, largely through diversity. As a high-volume builder, the firm serves entry-level and luxury homebuyers alike, and it has not only a development arm but an investment arm as well. This allows Fischer Homes to acquire raw ground and set up communities from scratch when it needs to. In January 2010, the firm opened its Indianapolis division and zeroed in on vacant developed lots, working with local developers and banks to gain a foothold. The acquisition of Thorpe Creek was initially just meant to help Fischer Homes reach its short-term growth goals, but it became a longer-term project when the opportunity arose to pick up the whole development and shape the surrounding community. More than 200 homes were planned for the site, and 50 were already built by the time Fischer Homes took control, so meeting the existing homeowners’ expectations while trying to entice new


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“Even though it’s not a community that we started from a piece of farm ground, we [were still able to] take over, dive in, and really adopt the community as if it were one of our own.” Brad Kriner Indianapolis Division President

In Business Since 1955

Thorpe Creek offers a variety of customizable house models, including the Nottoway (top) and the Clay (middle).

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Rather than waiting, the firm built a community center and other amenities at Thorpe Creek right away to raise interest.




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888.518.4729 | buyers—and still marry a new vision for the development with the previous one—was difficult, requiring every ounce of the firm’s flexibility. “Not all property that you [can] acquire can be made to work, but this one fit all the criteria: our product, our understanding of the market, and our understanding of the costs of developing this community,” Kriner says. Fischer Homes applied its expertise to the design of streets and to the variation of home plans, entrances, corner lots, and other visible neighborhood elements. Thorpe Creek’s previous developers had been waiting to meet a certain number of built homes before completing the neighborhood’s amenities, but Fischer Homes prioritized and fast-tracked an in-ground pool, a basketball court, a park, and a community center over the construction of new homes, enlivening the site and making it more enticing. Then, by controlling prices, the firm was able to help the market recover more quickly. The area’s early homeowners were at first wary of partnering with a developer they had not chosen, but Fischer Homes won them over, and today, after three and half years in Indianapolis, the company boasts a 99.6 percent customer-satisfaction rate. “I almost don’t even talk about [the rate] because it sounds inflated,” Kriner says. “We have only had one customer who wouldn’t recommend us to friends or family at closing.” Now in its fourth year in Indianapolis, Fischer Homes has expanded into 29 local communities around the city, and it’s poised to keep growing. The firm may not have started from scratch in Indianapolis, but because of its flexibility and diversity, it was able to execute a vision that both it and its customers were happy with—thus proving that it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.

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Monday Properties’ 1812 North Moore commercial office tower is now the tallest building in Metro DC—in a neighborhood that’s already one of the finest in the city.


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Washington’s Latest

MONUMENT  hanks to its deep roots in the city, T Monday Properties has built the tallest structure in the DC metropolitan area, with enough high-end detailing to attract corporate tenants in droves


GO BIG OR GO HOME. W hen Monday Properties broke ground in 2010 on 1812 North Moore, a 580,759-square-foot, 390-foot-tall office building, it was thinking big. The structure would soon be the tallest in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area—no small feat in itself—but with no tenants or financing in place before construction began, it was also a huge risk for CEO Anthony Westreich. But, despite the project’s initial critics and naysayers, Monday Properties remained confident in its Rosslyn, Virgina, skyscraper. “This was a $300 million spec building,” says James Berkon, the company’s vice president of design and construction, who was responsible for many of the day-to-day tasks associated with 1812 North Moore. “But, given our experience, we felt it was a perfectly reasonable bet to make.” Founded in 1998, Monday Properties has made a name for itself by concentrating on two of the world’s most competitive and lucrative real estate markets: New York City and the DC metro area. And it’s beating the

competition in these markets, too; since 2002, the firm has completed more than $10 billion in transactions, and it manages and operates its portfolio, comprising 6.5 million square feet, at a healthy 90 percent occupancy. Monday Properties already owned a third of the office space in Rosslyn at the time of the 1812 North Moore project, and its robust knowledge of the area gave the company the confidence to take a calculated chance on the building. Monday Properties began construction on the project out of pocket, but in 2013, working with financial partner Goldman Sachs, the company earned its development a $200 million construction loan from Pacific Life Insurance. Goldman Sachs partnered with Monday Properties after buying a 78.5 percent stake in the developer’s portfolio from the bankrupt Lehman Brothers. The big bank has committed to the building, providing equity until it acquires significant leasing, but the wait likely won’t be long, given 1812 North Moore’s wealth of amenities.

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DC METRO IS CONSIDERED A PREMIER MARKET and Rosslyn, just five minutes away from the Pentagon, with much lower operating expenses for real estate, has long been a prime location for the area’s wealthy, young, and highly educated. In 1964, Interstate 66 linked Washington directly to Rosslyn, which spurred its first development boom, and the DC metro area’s extension into Rosslyn in the late 1970s—as well as the Vietnam War-era expansion of the military-industrial complex — generated even more construction. Today, it’s a small, prosperous market, so the need to be best-in-class prevails. “Rosslyn’s superlatives are unlike and virtually unmatched by any other community in the United States,” says Tim Helmig, Monday Properties’ chief development officer. “1812 North Moore Street is a remarkable building that will cater to Rosslyn’s exceptional market attributes.” The company is operating with the idea that, to stand out to the best, it has to offer the best, so it has created what it sees as a trophy-class structure. On the outside, the property is a skyline-altering, glass-curtain-wall-clad symbol of Arlington County’s premier office market. Inside, the 35-story structure features luxe elements such as a limestone-lined lobby, a feature wall made of Calacatta Borghini Italian marble, and nine-foot-tall ceilings. Post-tensioned beam construction with reinforced slabs was used to achieve an almost column-free interior layout that will provide future tenants with flexibility and, of course, more space. The floors average 22,900 square feet in area, and each includes 580

Each floor of 1812 North Moore has, on average, 580 linear feet of continuous window line, offering prime views of the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument across the Potomac.


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linear feet of continuous window line, adding to the building’s lush atmosphere. But, while the structure stands as an ode to extravagance, it’s built on a green foundation. Monday Properties paid special attention to the building’s environmental impact, including countless hours spent evaluating materials, detailing the lobby, and installing the rooftop pyramid made of steel trusses. The property is now certified with the USGBC’s highest rating: LEED Platinum for Core & Shell—a rarity for privately developed office buildings in the United States and almost unheard of in Virginia. “THE BEST VIEW OF DC IS FROM VIRGINIA, and by having the tallest building in the area, we offer a monumental view of the capital,” Berkon says. To create that unparalleled vantage point, it was essential that Monday Properties build in Rosslyn, which is located in Arlington County. The structures in Washington, DC, proper are held to an unusual height restriction, but 1812 North Moore exists within a two-block boundary that permits rezoning to heights of 390 feet, with a buildable-floor-area ratio of 10—far more than DC’s standard 158 feet and 3.8 ratio. The FAA set limits on the building’s height, and Monday Properties then built to the edge of those limits. Through the long-term relationships the company has developed during its tenure in the DC metro area, it was able to purchase additional air rights from Virginia Electric and Power Company—in the form of the two-and-a-half-story, 1960s-style Dominion

“The best view of DC is from Virginia, and by having the tallest building in the area, we offer a monumental view of the capital.” James Berkon VP of Design and Construction

AIW congratulates Monday Properties on completion of the North Moore Street Office Building!

ERECTING THE PYRAMID AIW, INC./ American Iron Works erected the entire structural package, highlighted by installation (over glass) for North Moore's spectacular 99-foot pyramid to a height of 390 feet, a complex operation requiring late-night transport of 30-foot wide loads through city streets. Over four nights, eight 22,000-pound sections (top and bottom legs of four trusses) were lifted into place and connected to a 14,000-pound compression ring held in place with scaffolding. Savvas P. Savopoulos, CEO


foot restaurant space at 1812 North Moore in the hopes of capturing some of this foot traffic. As a benefit to the county, the company allocated $5 million of its construction funding to the sprucing up of the surrounding streetscape, the Rosslyn Metro station, and the Metro’s commuter store. The improvements included new lighting and flooring and a revamp of the existing skybridge, but they also introduced additional challenges. Moore Street is an important transit street for the Metro, so rebuilding it without disrupting pedestrian and street traffic proved difficult. And, Monday Properties also had to schedule an excavation for a three-anda-half-level, 480-space below-grade parking structure — an excavation that entailed rigorous planning to ensure that blasting and digging would not disturb the underground Metro or substation.

Post-tensioned beam construction with reinforced slabs has given the building a nearly column-free interior layout that offers flexibility and more space. The rooftop pyramid, made of steel trusses, is a nod to the pointed top of the Washington Monument across the river.


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THOUGH ITS MOST NOTICEABLE ASPECT IS ITS HEIGHT,the building’s healthy connection with what’s across the Potomac River is what makes it so valuable. It’s sited near four bridges that link Virginia to DC, and the Rosslyn Metro station is also close. Located where the Orange and Blue lines converge, just three minutes from Washington proper, the terminal is the second-most used in the entire system, with approximately 33,000 passengers per day. Monday Properties has actually planned a two-story, 8,500-square-

1812 NORTH MOORE IS MEANT TO SPARK A REVITALIZATION o  f the Rosslyn community and lure commercial tenants away from crowded downtown DC. With 24 floors of office space, five total levels of below-grade parking, and, most importantly, up to $100 million of savings on its 20-year lease when compared with similar sites in downtown Washington, the building stands on its own. But, Monday Properties isn’t finished. It’s readying itself for a longer future in the area with two more projects: another office tower and a residential tower. Together with 1812 North Moore, they signal the area’s return, and they’ll help Monday Properties maintain its deep local knowledge.

Photo (bottom): Jeff Wolfram

Virginia Power Substation, a bunker that, according to Berkon, Monday Properties transformed from “an eyesore to an asset.” The firm agreed to create a new façade and new overhangs for the substation by cladding the facility in aluminum and stone panels and introducing public art elements, and the addition brought the developable site to 600,000 square feet total.

THE FIRM’S UNDERSTANDING OF THE DC MARKETPLACE IS DECADES OLD. S  tanley Westreich, Anthony’s father and the former CEO of now-defunct Westfield Realty, actually erected the building that was demolished to make way for 1812 North Moore. The original structure, which was built in 1962, was, at the time, one of the area’s largest. So, in a way, Monday Properties’ latest project can be seen as a direct monument to the senior Westreich’s real estate legacy. And with its height and its pyramid-shaped top, it also serves as a nod to the area’s largest structure, the Washington Monument. Extending the familial connections is Tim Helmig, the company’s executive vice president and chief development officer, who is also Anthony’s brother-in-law and a former Westfield partner, and whom Berkon considers 1812 North Moore’s “mastermind.” Monday Properties acquired the plot for the project in 2006, but Helmig had been dreaming up plans for it for more than 10 years while at Westfield. So, in short, the work was a long time coming.



Our division has been building cast-in-place concrete structures in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1998. Our select group of employees is the reason

LCM Architects was established in 1996 to provide both architectural and accessibility consulting ser vices. Our accessibility consulting staff of professionals has worked on a variety of accessibility projects for retailers, residential and commercial developers, designers, attorneys, architectural firms, institutions and government agencies. Our accessibility consulting projects span from coast to coast and involve the application of numerous accessibility standards for laws including the ADA and FHA.

behind our distinct reputation in the area. We tackle projects that vary from governmental to private, office buildings to condominiums, and small to multi-million dollar contracts. The majority of our projects are within a 50-mile radius of D.C. Our goal has always been to develop a relationship with clients that would place us in their select group of contractors.

Contact Keith Martin 703-912-4912 8420 Terminal Rd., Lorton, VA 22079


JCM Associates, Inc. would like to congratulate Monday Properties and Clark Construction for redeďŹ ning Arlington’s skyline with 1812 North Moore St.

A S S O C I A T E S , I N C. 301-C Prince Georges Blvd. Upper Marlboro, MD 20774 PH: 301.390.5500 Fax: 301.390.5510

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The Hotel of

BIG SHOULDERS MileNorth, a newly rehabbed hotel managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, captures the essence of Chicago both inside and out by Lindsey Howald Patton


ust steps away from the Magnificent Mile… That’s the second most-coveted phrase (the first being “on the Magnificent Mile”) a Chicago hotel wants in its description. The famed street, officially known as Michigan Avenue, is stocked with some of the Midwestern city’s biggest tourist highlights, including the Gothic-style Tribune Tower, the flagship stores of many major retailors, and multiple options for Chicago’s famous deep-as-acasserole-dish pizza. And, for business travelers, it’s an ideal launching-off point, centrally located and proximal to various Near North office complexes and the massive Northwestern and Lurie Children’s Hospitals.

The MileNorth Hotel isn’t the only hospitality space to claim a spot within the Magnificent Mile’s stroll radius, but it’s definitely one of the coolest. The 29-floor hotel opened in May 2013 in the former Affinia Hotel building—which was, before that, a mixeduse residential and office development—and it’s now managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts (DH&R) on behalf of a pension-fund client. With its reinvented vibe, the space has found a comfortable niche for itself, right between the opulent old-money aesthetic of the nearby Drake Hotel and the super-funky, super-modern atmosphere of theWit. When DH&R buys a property in need of rebranding or renovation (it manages nearly


On the 29th floor, MileNorth’s C-View rooftop bar and lounge offers a spectacular look at downtown Chicago in an intimate setting. “YOU ARE HERE”

S pecific touches—such as landscape photographs of Chicago’s nighttime skyline and colorful shower curtains displaying a map of the city’s transit system—were added to give guests a sense of place.

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The interior area of C-View offers plush seating lit by the twinkle of disco balls. It’s one of the highest rooftop bars in Chicago, and it has space to host a group of 90 comfortably.


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PROJECT TEAM SHIRLI SENSENBRENNER VP of Design and Construction ED BAIRD Assistant VP, Project Manager REBECCA LUNCEFORD Design Manager


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“If you go to Chicago, you should experience Chicago inside your hotel.” SHIRLI SENSENBRENNER

VP of Design and Construction


MileNorth’s lobby, called the Living Room, sits adjacent to a bar called the Library, which is made of reclaimed card-catalog drawers and accompanied by sleek and minimalist wire stools, perfectly capturing the hotel’s unique vintage-modern blend. SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW

Balancing the rustic feel of the check-in desk (made of stacked steamer trunks), a three-dimensional light installation behind the counter shows an abstracted overhead view of the streetscape around the hotel.

40 hotels and resorts nationwide), Shirli Sensenbrenner, vice president of design and construction, starts building a vision from scratch. It’s a mark of the company’s brand that you wouldn’t recognize one of its hotels unless you happened to see the DH&R plaque on the wall. The feel of each is customdesigned to reflect the specific character of its neighborhood, city, and region—as well as the needs of its target market. To that end, “we do our best to hire local designers,” Sensenbrenner says. “It does make a difference, if you’re trying to be authentic to the local scene, to have people who can speak to the character of the neighborhood and tell you what works and what doesn’t.” For MileNorth, Sensenbrenner hired Chicago design firm Gettys, and the resulting design honed in on the uniquely proud, busy, and underdressed vibe the city has been flaunting since the 19th century. The front desk, an important focal point at any high-end hotel, is made of stacks of old steamer trunks. (Gettys designed the check-in area as an homage to the immigrants who have made Chicago their home from the 1800s to today.) It’s a standout element but only a part of the whole arrival experience: on the east side of the lobby is a contemporary flat-panel fireplace and a pair of inviting rocking chairs, and the west is filled with

a series of additional intimate sitting spaces —leather couches and vintage coffee tables in living room arrangements, gossip chairs for reading the newspaper in, and a bar with stools overlooking St. Clair Street. “We didn’t want it to feel fancy or formal,” Sensenbrenner says. “We wanted people”—guests and passersby both—“to come in and hang out or work on their laptops all day.” Vintage architectural touches—such as clouded antique-glass paneling, on the lobby’s two supporting columns, and bric-a-brac, including a typewriter, an old atlas, and classic hardbacks arranged on a midcentury credenza—make the young luxury hotel feel cozier than home. “We call the lobby the Living Room, the bar the Library, and the market the Pantry,” MileNorth general manager Steven Ellingsen says. “We want it to have a residential feel.” It’s all part of DH&R’s overall effort to eschew uniformity. “We’ve always seen ourselves as the antibrand,” Sensenbrenner says. “We want our hotels to be different, to be authentic to their location, to be all about the experience. If you go to Chicago, you should experience Chicago inside your hotel.”

See more photos of the MileNorth Hotel in our digital editions (iPad and online).

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The Location for



Each Melting Pot restaurant, including the San Diego location in the city’s Gaslamp Quarter, features a variety of large booths, couple’s tables, and private dining areas.


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Director of construction and design Scott Evans explains how The Melting Pot’s design standards encourage cozy celebration at each location by Annie Monjar


n average, customers of The Melting Pot only dine in the restaurant once or t w ice a year — a testament to the special-night- out v ibe the fondue chain has cultivated over more than three decades. The initial crafting of the atmosphere at each location (there are more than 135 now) is the responsibility of Scott Evans, the director of construction and design for Front Burner Brands, the restaurant’s management company. Evans works to ensure that all newly built franchises live up to the brand’s aesthetic standards. His team’s approach is straightforward, but the resulting spaces it creates maximize efficiency for employees while helping to foster an intimate, lively experience for patrons. Before any construction begins at a new location—generally an existing freestanding or mixed-use building—Evans pays a visit to the site with the vice president of real estate and the company’s architects of note. Their first order of business is to verify dimensions, examine any existing aesthetic elements, and consider potential spaces for the bar, the front door, and signage. The Melting Pot is unusual because the food there is actually cooked by guests on

burners at each table, so the kitchen at each location essentially functions as a prep station for entrees, salads, and cheese and chocolate fondues. Back-of-house investment is therefore minimal, but the operations are still very detailed. The production line is designed to consolidate food for the servers, and recently the restaurants have started making in-house bread, so Evans now also incorporates a small oven into his plans. In the dining area, the layout is fairly set in stone, with specific elements that Evans’s team incorporates repeatedly: a row of cozy two-top booths called Lovers’ Lane, an open bar, one or two private dining areas, and a lot of larger booths. “We do get somewhat creative,” Evans says. “Each restaurant is heavily worked on by Front Burner Brands’ interior designer and the franchisee. There are basic nuts and bolts, but the franchisee has a choice in the finishes, like the color scheme, tile, carpet, and lighting. You’ll see familiar things, but they might be different colors.” At a newer location in Lake Norman, North Carolina, for instance, a franchisee opted for a highly contemporary look: there are light-colored walls, matching lighting, frosted glass, open dining areas, and dark mahogany booths upholstered with light fabric

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Many of the chain’s four- and six-top tables can be combined to allow parties of up to 10 to sit together in shared celebration. LOVERS’ LANE

At each restaurant, there’s a row of twoperson booths known as Lovers’ Lane, allowing for more cozy, intimate dining.

“Guests often come for a very special occasion. We want to create the perfect night out and bring people in to make memories.” S  COTT EVANS Director of Construction and Design

and gold vinyl. The restaurant also has a patio for outdoor lounging just outside the bar, with basket-weave-style lounge seating and cocktail tables. That location’s main dining area also has dividers that lower down between rows of booths with four- and six-top tables. The company uses this design element frequently in its restaurants, and it allows parties of up to 10 to all sit together. Design elements in the service of celebration are standard at each Melting Pot. There are many large seating areas, for example, and guests can always find either a wine room or a glassedoff wine rack, which is used as a booth divider at some locations. A location in development in Jakarta, Indonesia (The Melting Pot has 33 units internationally that are either built or committed for development), even has curtained round tops with private chandeliers. The coziness is echoed in the restaurant’s service, too. Each Melting Pot location makes a practice of recording guests’ phone numbers and what special occasions they are celebrating when they call for a reservation, so when they visit the restaurant or call again, the restaurant will have their info on hand. “A lot of guests come to us for birthdays and anniversaries; we [also] have a lot of proposals happen here,” Evans says. “They often come for a very special occasion. We want to create the perfect night out and bring people in to make memories.”


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The Automotive

OFFICE SPACE The bold, loud design of’s award-winning Atlanta headquarters emphasizes heavy-horsepower movement at every turn Text by Christopher James Palafox / Photos by Nigel Marson


uch like the building of a car itself, the story behind’s award-winning headquarters in Atlanta is about the consolidation and connection of moving parts. Back in early 2009, the burgeoning company (an online marketplace for car enthusiasts) found itself growing too quickly, with its various departments spread miles apart across five locations. So, to bring operations under one roof, the company had plans drawn up in 2009 to completely renovate one of the towers at Perimeter Summit to create a new 400,000-square-foot, 18-floor office. The plans were finalized in the second quarter of 2010, and the new space is now nearly finished, with a forward-looking automotive theme that’s sure to propel the company further into the digital age. Architectural powerhouse Perkins + Will spearheaded the design along with local firm Hughes Litton Godwin, drafting numerous layouts before achieving a plan that reflected AutoTrader’s vision. Holder Construction then signed on as general contractor for the project and developed a building schedule divided into three phases, with demolition beginning in July 2010 and the finishing touches wrapping in January 2014. The three phases were necessary because the building was still occupied by its previous tenants.


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Conference rooms in AutoTrader’s new offices are outfitted with car-window-shaped portholes that promote daylighting.


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Whole floors of the office are done in green, purple, and orange—in keeping with AutoTrader’s bold, loud brand.

“We are not a quiet company. We believe in being bold and loud, and our colors reflect that.” 



Walls are adorned with roadway imagery and signage to keep employees in an automotive state of mind.


Floor-to-ceiling “tachometers” on every floor denote which level of the building the elevator is on.

General Operations Manager

Compounding the challenges of the schedule was the fact that AutoTrader’s other properties had leases that were set to expire at different times. David Heidlauf, AutoTrader Group’s general operations manager and the project manager for the new headquarters, characterized the situation as a “logistical nightmare,” but working together with CBRE, he and AutoTrader were able to move the company’s staff into the new space in a timely manner while also finding new homes for the Perimeter Summit tower’s several former tenants. The first phase involved the build-out of floors 1–7, 9, 10, and the cafeteria; the second phase involved floors 8 and 14–18; and the third phase involved floors 11 and 12. Two to three floors were completed per month, and Autotrader helped the building’s previous tenants move out while bringing in its sleek Knoll and Kimball furniture from its older venues. With whole f loors covered in bright greens and purples, and with bright-orange break rooms, the AutoTrader building is not going for subtlety. “We are not a quiet company,” Heidlauf says. “We believe in being bold and loud, and our colors reflect that.” Additionally, the building’s emphasis on

daylighting, with glass doors and car-window-shaped glass portholes cut into interior conference-room walls, makes the office colors pop even more. “We believe in keeping things light, bright, and airy,” Heidlauf says. Inspired by AutoTrader’s combination of car and tech savvy, Perkins + Will designed the office drywall with a heavy emphasis on compound curves and angles to create a feeling of movement. The design firm also introduced “wayfinding” elements—lines on the floor to guide guests and workers to their destinations—in the building’s central hallways, and it placed magnetic signs that hang from the ceiling and mimic road signage, denoting where specific rooms are located. As a final touch, floor-to-ceiling “tachometers” situated next to the elevators mark each floor level and track the elevator’s progress. To separate rooms, the office is equipped with Skyfold walls, “Which is like a huge garage door that comes out of the ceiling,” Heidlauf explains, adding that the material is practically soundproof. The hallway layout of each floor resembles the route of a car engine’s serpentine belt running around the engine block, and the break rooms on all levels each have a 10-footlong, bar-height table fabricated out of Corian

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Corian tables in each break room are shaped like the inner portion of a V-8 engine, with stools positioned as pistons would be.


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The intricate curves and angles of the office walls and flooring are meant to convey movement.

in the shape of the inner portion of a V-8 engine. Bar stools have been placed along the sides of the tables, like pistons. Down in the company’s parking deck is the two-story-tall, 10,000-square-foot Octane Fitness Center, which is free for employees. And the company’s cafeteria, the Roadside Diner Café, pays homage to highway eateries and road-trip nostalgia, with booths shaped like the backseats of cars and tiling designed to look like asphalt. Elements such as carpeting made from recycled plastic bottles, low-VOC paint, daylight-harvesting systems, and energy-efficient lighting not only helped the building reach its LEED Silver rating but also now highlight the company’s contemporary outlook. Some employees didn’t initially catch on to the new headquarters’ automotive theme, likening the space more to Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. Heidlauf didn’t mind this, though, because it meant the office’s design had succeeded in its other goal: to represent AutoTrader as a modern, forward-looking company of the 21st century.

See more photos of AutoTrader’s new headquarters in our digital editions (iPad and online).

Your Complete Supply Chain Solution Designing acoustically balanced spaces to enhance productivity. Over eighteen million square feet of sound masking installed and tuned for optimum speech privacy. PRODUCTS & SERVICES • Sound masking and paging systems • Large scale public address systems • Commercial and government applications MANUFACTURERS • Atlas Sound • Cambridge Sound Management • Innovative Electronic Designs

Congratulations to AutoTrader on their new Facility Contact: Tom Partrick 4485 Tench Road, Suite 1010 • Suwanee, Georgia 30024 phone 770-638-8861 •

CenterPoint Properties brings together all aspects of the warehouse, distribution and shipping industry through forward thinking solutions aimed at enhancing supply chain and operating efficiencies. From the port, to the rail or road, to the warehouse, and ultimately, to the hands of your customers, CenterPoint Properties is equipped to meet all of your logistics, distribution or manufacturing needs.

CORPORATE OFFICE 1808 Swift Drive | Oak Brook, IL | 630.586.8000 REGIONAL OFFICES Kansas City, MO | Los Angeles, CA | Milwaukee, WI | Norfolk, VA

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WITH GREAT RISK COMES GREAT REWARD CenterPoint Properties staked its reputation—and millions of dollars— on financing and developing the two largest intermodal rail facilities in America, and now it’s expanding with a high-profile government project by Christopher James Palafox


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Photo: Sheila Barabad


Joining CenterPoint Properties Trust in the middle of its redevelopment of the Joliet Arsenal site, general counsel and secretary Daniel Hemmer helped raise roughly $40 million for the project by selling senior portions of its financing to investors.

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VIEW FROM THE TOP The History of the Joliet Arsenal 1941 At the height of WWII, a federally owned, 23,500-acre site located 40 miles southwest of Chicago is opened and named the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (JOAAP).

March 24, 1945 Another explosion at the JOAAP kills two workers. 1941—1945 Nearly 57% of the US Army’s TNT is produced at the JOAAP during WWII.

1941—1975 The JOAAP serves as a major employer in Will County during three US wars (WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War), employing as many as 12,000 people.

1976 The plant’s production begins to dramatically decline.

June 5, 1942 An accident in the building where anti-tank mine fuses were being assembled results in a major explosion that is felt as far as 60 miles away, killing 48 munitions workers and injuring 46 others.


ometimes you have to be willing to stretch and think big,” says Daniel Hemmer, the general counsel and secretary for Illinois-based CenterPoint Properties Trust. “It can open up a specialty and build your reputation.” He and his firm should know: CenterPoint has become Chicagoland’s largest owner, manager, and developer of industrial real estate by reaching beyond its traditional scope and taking on a series of large projects that have pushed its conventional funding methods and widened the fields in which it operates. IT ALL BEGAN ABOUT A DECADE AND HALF AGO,

on a property everyone expected to become

a dump. Though CenterPoint began real estate operations in 1984, the project that set it apart and remains its flagship development began in 1998. That was the year the firm acquired 1,800 acres of the Joliet Arsenal site in Elwood, Illinois, once home to a huge weapons manufacturing plant that closed in the 1970s, leaving the land so environmentally contaminated that it was considered a Superfund site. The property was slated to become the nation’s largest landfill, but CenterPoint acquired it through the Base Realignment and Closure Commissions (BRAC) process

CenterPoint first began development at the Joliet Arsenal site in 1998 after acquiring 1,800 acres of the property. The firm planned to create a rail-based industrial park for BNSF Railway Company. The project ballooned after CenterPoint acquired 3,600 more acres of surrounding land. Ultimately, the developer created the CenterPoint Intermodal Center, the largest inland port in the country.


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1990 The United States establishes the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Act, providing the framework for the transfer and disposal of military installations when bases are closed.

CenterPoint Intermodal Center

(formerly the Joliet Arsenal) Location Elwood and Joliet, IL Size 6,100 acres Building Space 12 million sq. ft. Total Investment $1 billion (to date) Customers BNSF and Union Pacific Railroads; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; DSC Logistics; Georgia Pacific; Potlatch; Sanyo Logistics; Partners Warehouse; California Cartage; Maersk; Bissell Customer Use Distribution, warehouse, intermodal, and container/equipment management

1993 JOAAP is declared excess army property.

1998 CenterPoint Properties acquires 1,800 acres of the Joliet Arsenal site, with the vision of creating an intermodal transportation center on the land.

1995 The Joliet Arsenal Development Authority (JADA) begins transforming the former Joliet Arsenal into manufacturing and distribution business parks.

2002 The CenterPoint Intermodal Center opens in Elwood, IL (at the former Joliet Arsenal site), serving the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train line.

and spared the neighboring towns from a potential scrapheap. Instead, the firm envisioned a rail-based industrial park for BNSF Railway Company. The project was a risk. The whole Joliet Arsenal site had to be cleaned up in cooperation with the army, and CenterPoint had to invest millions of dollars to get started. And before Hemmer even stepped through the firm’s doors, the project’s plans had already been drawn up and the first half had been completed. His first assignment, five years into the project, was to close its financing portions, which took some care because it received the largest amount of tax-increment financing (TIF) that has ever been offered in Illinois. CenterPoint sold senior portions of this financing to investors, which accelerated earnings and clarified the profitability of the project. Hemmer worked with investment

2007 CenterPoint Properties acquires 3,600 additional acres of land at the Joliet Arsenal site to build an industrial park next to its BNSF facility (officially named CenterPoint Intermodal Center– Joliet).

2010 CenterPoint Properties opens a 785-acre Union Pacific–Joliet Intermodal Terminal, offering international and domestic intermodal service to and from every West Coast port.

TODAY 80% of the CenterPoint Intermodal Center–Elwood is complete, and already it is the nation’s largest inland port.

June 11, 2007 A memorial is dedicated to the 50 victims of JOAAP explosions. It’s located across the street from the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.

bankers regularly, helping the speculative development by selling the bankers on the idea of a future tax stream that did not yet exist, and he successfully helped raise around $40 million using the TIF bonds. Based in part on the success of the Arsenal development, CenterPoint was acquired by CalPERS, the nation’s largest pension fund, after a management-friendly takeover in 2007. It wasn’t long after getting the company de-REITed and delisted from the New York Stock Exchange that Hemmer turned to supporting CalPERS’s strategic plan: building the business. WHEN THE COMPANY DECIDED TO “DOUBLE

down” o  n the intermodal business plan and build another massive industrial park near its BNSF facility, Hemmer got to participate on the ground floor from his more senior

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Photo: Michael Robinson


position. He created an anonymous propertyacquisition company to buy thousands of acres of land from hundreds of different farmers, helped plan the zoning regulations that allowed Union Pacific Railroad to join the project, and helped secure federal taxexempt financing for the whole thing. Today, the original project is about 80 percent complete, and instead of being the nation’s largest landfill, it has become its largest inland port. The site’s warehouses are integrated into a campus-like environment, and with the addition of 3,600 more acres, CenterPoint has developed the two largest intermodal rail facilities for the country’s two largest railroad companies, creating the third largest container port in the country (behind only the ones in New York / New Jersey and Los Angeles / Long Beach, California). A lthough CenterPoint’s home base remains in Illinois, half of its business is now outside of the state; it has offices in Los Angeles; Norfolk, Virginia; and Kansas City, Missouri, having “followed the railroads out of town.” IN KANSAS CITY, THE COMPANY PARLAYED 

its infrastructure-development and government expertise to win a bid to build and fund a $750 million nuclear weapons manufac-


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turing and research facility for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Development of the NNSA National Security Campus began in 2009 and finished in the summer of 2013 on time and under budget. Hemmer helped guide the project’s complicated financing, working with joint-venture partners and debt sources to fund 97 percent of the costs during the height of the financial crisis. Similar to what it did for the Joliet Arsenal project, the company presold all the government rent payments before the building was built, avoiding the need to raise equity for the project. One tricky aspect of the financing was the need to keep more than $700 million off of CenterPoint’s balance sheet. Even though the debt was nonrecourse to the company, it was so large it would have swamped its debt covenants. After the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, it became a game of “off-balancesheet-financing hot potato,” so it took a lot of work to create a “highly structured, highly levered transaction that was acceptable to the bankers, the auditors, the government, and [CalPERS],” Hemmer says. “The success of these big infrastructure and development projects gave us the confidence to build more,” Hemmer adds. “Success builds future success.”

The NNSA National Security Campus Location Kansas City, MO Size 1.5 million sq. ft. Total Investment $750 million Employees on Campus 2,500 Energy Highlights The LEED Gold campus will reduce the NNSA’s energy consumption by more than 50%, saving the government about $100 million annually in operating costs

CenterPoint wrapped development of the $750 million NNSA National Security Campus in 2013. In financing the project, the firm had to play “off-balance-sheet-financing hot potato,” so it presold all the government rent payments before the building was complete.

Building Strong Client Relationships

Bryan Cave provides insightful legal advice that effectively enhances our clients interests. Represent clients throughout the entirety of their construction projects, from conception through completion and beyond Counsel companies regarding design and construction matters for manufacturing, distribution, industrial and office projects across the globe Serve as environmental counsel on a wide variety of transportation, development and infrastructure projects across the country Represent national and regional real estate developers, investors and lenders in development projects throughout the United States and internationally


Global Scale adobe

Portfolio Strategy

When adobe needed a real estate partner to manage its global real estate portfolio, it chose Colliers international. the Colliers occupier Services group brings unmatched knowledge of office trends and lease strategy to help make real estate a more meaningful complement to a long term business strategy. And with integrated teams serving every region of the globe, we’re here to serve smart businesses —big and small.


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THE STUFF OF EMPLOYEES’ DREAMS The open, engaging, amenities-littered design of Adobe’s Lehi, UT, campus is catching on company-wide, so director of global workplace solutions Jonathan Francom is overseeing its worldwide implementation

BACK IN 2012, THE EMPLOYEES working at Adobe Systems Incorporated’s new office campus in Lehi, Utah, spent the opening-day celebration taking snapshots with their smartphones and posting them to Instagram for a friendly workplace competition. In one, an employee dominates a massive climbing wall. Another, an aerial, shows shadows crossing the sunlit atrium. There’s a closeup of a gorgeous mural painted by California street artist El Mac, a picture of a gleaming chrome baby grand piano, and an action shot of people playing pick-up basketball on an NBA-style court, with Utah’s mountains on full display through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows beyond. These glimpses of an exciting future have become the daily reality for Adobe employees at Lehi. And the idea that originated there— of both working and playing hard, without leaving the office to do either—is spreading across Adobe’s offices worldwide.


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Photo: Eric Laignel & Weston Colton

by Lindsey Howald Patton


Adobe’s Lehi, UT, campus features wide-open spaces with social amenities such as billiards and table tennis. Such amenities typify the atmosphere that the company is now reaching for in all its offices around the world.

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“Talented employees we’re attracting don’t just want a job; they want to be part of an experience.”

The 280,000-square-foot Lehi campus sits on 40 acres of land just south of Salt Lake City. Senior director of global workplace solutions Jonathan Francom helped design it after first working at Intel and Wachovia. Lively colored rugs, modern furniture, and ample dayligthing in common areas improve workers’ morale and keep them from ever feeling trapped or isolated from their coworkers.

Jonathan Francom Senior Director of Global Workplace Solutions

in 2011, starting with the design of the Lehi campus and the retrofitting of a few floors at the tech firm’s San Jose, California, headquarters. Jonathan Francom, Adobe’s senior director of global workplace solutions, and his team were the first at the company to imagine and implement the idea of an exciting, engaging space—the kind workers are eager to commute to every day. Francom is now extending the concept, in tailored iterations, to Adobe’s other offices around the world, from Australia to India to England to various locations throughout the United States. Francom’s route to Adobe was simple. After turns in real estate at Intel and Wachovia, he came across the start-up Omniture, whose “rough-and-tumble” atmosphere turned out to be far more of an inspiration than those of the more-established corporations. “It was just an insanely exciting place to work,” he says. “It was fun.” Adobe acquired Omniture in 2009, and Francom came along for the ride. He has since taken responsibility for all the company’s corporate real estate, facilities, and security, both in America and abroad. His plan has been to create a competitive advantage for Adobe by moving it away from the traditional office plans of the 1990s— think cubicles, closed doors, and beige—and toward spaces that reflect its culture of Cs: creativity, collaboration, and community. Nowhere is that more evident than at Lehi. The campus consists of 280,000 square feet of space, located on nearly 40 acres of dry plains west of Utah’s twin peaks and just south of Salt Lake City. The building made an architectural splash in 2012 for its modern, glassed-in design; raw, elegant materials; commissioned graffiti art; and employee perks, including billiards, table tennis, a music room, and a PC-gamer haven. Crayoncolored walls and carpets enliven the open interior workstations, block quotes stand out boldly on the walls, graffiti art diffuses any lingering corporate vibes, and nods to local culture (from local food in the cafeteria to a graffitied area zip code) give employees a deeper sense of place. Francom’s work has been inspired by other forward-thinking workplaces—not only from the usual suspects in technology but from


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Photos: Eric Laignel & Weston Colton


Adobe Utah Project Details Location Lehi, UT Size 280,000 sq. ft. Completed 2012 Architects WRNS Studio

Project Team Sam Nunes, Bryan Shiles, Brian Milman, John McGill, Raul Garduno, Moses Vaughn, Jason Halaby, Pauline Souza

Mechanical Engineering Colvin Engineering Associates

Associate Architects GSBS Architects

Specifications Stansen Specifications

Interior Architects Rapt Studio

Civil Engineering Ensign Engineering and Landscape

Contractor Okland Construction

Landscape Architects Wallace Roberts and Todd

Structural Engineering DUNN Associates with Holmes Culley

Electrical Engineering Spectrum Engineers


Photo: Josh Hill

Vivid color schemes are also omnipresent in Adobe’s Sydney, Australia, office, which was designed by architecture firm ODCM, with strategic direction from Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA).

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Photo: David Wakely


any company that values an immersive office experience. He recalls touring Nike’s corporate headquarters outside Portland, Oregon, where meetings can take place midhike or in one of five campus restaurants. He also keeps track of the latest research, which increasingly shows that employees are looking for more amenities and flexibility in the workplace. The corresponding design philosophies lead to spaces and amenities that can sound a little like something straight out of an elementary school student’s dreams: Grow up, go to work, but while you’re at it, play a little basketball with your friends. Challenge your coworkers to a Smash Brothers tournament. Have fun. It would have sounded like shirking responsibility just a decade ago, but today fun is a truly crucial component of work culture and design. It’s Google that is perhaps best known for approaching office design as a way of enhancing employees’ satisfaction and thus their productivity and longevity. At its headquarters, the corporation created colorful interoffice regions named after local neighborhoods, and it incorporated game rooms, workout centers, amazing food, and regular social events. Soon, others—particularly in the tech sector—started catching on, and open workspaces are now becoming the norm, encouraging a breakdown of old office


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“People ask, ‘How do people even work here? It looks like a resort.’ I love that question—because working hard and playing hard aren’t mutually exclusive.”

Jonathan Francom Senior Director of Global Workplace Solutions

hierarchies and fostering conversation and collaboration between employees. Particularly in demanding, collaborative, creative professions, the more spaces for accidental ideas to spark, the better. Then, add to that the recent idea of “leaning in,” a buzz phrase from the book Lean In by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, which advocates an assertive, ambitious attitude toward work, particularly for women. These ideas have created employees who invest more time and energy than the typical nine-to-fiver—who bring much more of their lives, from meals to socializing to exercise, into the workplace.

To thrive, such employees need the modern, open, divertive offices. “TALENTED EMPLOYEES WE’RE ATTRACTING DON’T JUST WANT A JOB,” F  rancom says. “They want to be part of an experience.” That experience is difficult to shape, though. Every supervisor in every field, from a small-town high school teacher to a CEO, could tell a cautionary tale of trying and failing to encourage, change, or incentivize the behaviors and motivations of people through words. So, perhaps the secret is in the structure. As Alain de Botton wrote in

VDTA also assisted with graphic design in Adobe’s San Francisco office, creating huge works of wall art that enliven the social spaces and encourage creativity.

Photo: Josh Hill

For the Sydney office, ODCM and VDTA followed Adobe’s general guideline of using simple materials—concrete, steel, wood, and glass—in order to cultivate a genuine, no-frills atmosphere.

The Architecture of Happiness, “We depend on our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them. We look to our buildings to hold us, like a kind of psychological mould, to a helpful vision of ourselves.” Adobe doesn’t use a secret scientific formula for its office-space design. “I’m not one for absolute standards in the workplace,” Francom says. “Standards sometimes cause people to stop thinking or challenging the status quo.” Instead, the company simply works to stay within a few “guardrails.” First, Adobe’s team has a strong preference for simplicity and raw materials. You won’t find a marble Doric column anywhere around the Utah campus; the entire palette comprises concrete, steel, wood, and glass. “One of the values at Adobe is ‘genuine,’” Francom says. “So genuineness in the materiality of the space is key. It feels like an industrial, raw type of environment, creating an energy that inspires employees.” Transparency, another aspect of being genuine, is also important to the company. It’s implemented quite literally at Lehi, where one employee described his surroundings as “miles upon miles of glass.” Even the very few closed offices in the predominantly open plan—available for employees during occasional focused moments of introversion—are

curate. invent.

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Photo: Josh Hill

A sweeping lobby greets arriving employees and guests at the Sydney office. Approximately half the site’s workstations are open for use by the company’s mobile employees.

Adobe Around the Globe Adobe has been reinventing its workspaces worldwide with creative adaptations that suit the unique nature of each location. “People want to work in a cool space,” Jonathan Francom says. “But what’s cool in India isn’t necessarily what’s cool in Utah, so we try to find local nuances. I want to create space that’s attracting, retaining, exciting, and enabling talent. And to attract talent in another country is different than what it looks like here. So that’s what I go after, instead of replicating exactly what we’ve done before.”

Utah Campus


3 1


1. Bangalore, India Adobe is building a cricket pitch on the roof here, in what’s called the Silicon Valley of India. Need we say more? 2. San Jose, California San Jose was Adobe’s first home office. The formerly typical office space—nearly 100 percent closed offices—has begun a process of transforming its floors with open-space plans where more natural light exists and collaboration can flourish. The new layouts and smart-floor technology—which precisely tracks and controls lighting, electricity, and cooling—has increased capacity by 50 percent while lowering power usage, also by 50 percent.


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3. Tokyo Adobe’s Tokyo office is housed in the upper reaches of a pair of mixeduse towers in the Shinagawa district. The bold colors, ultra-modern design, andthe latest in A/V technology all link back to Adobe’s brand but belong firmly in the neon-lit, cuttingedge city. 4. Sydney, Australia Love to travel? Half the workstations in Adobe’s Sydney office are unassigned, making plenty of room for the company’s mobile workforce. You can also visit the multimedia “cave,” where nine screens showcase Adobe products and services.

walled in clear glass. “We’re not hiding anywhere,” Francom says. “So even in the office, you’re a part of the team.” To emphasize this further, the Adobe team created points of connection in unexpected places so that employees might run into each other. Other areas have been designed more invitingly to specifically encourage socialization, including living room-esque lounge spaces on each f loor, break rooms with soft and colorful furniture arranged in circles, and a real fireplace near the main entrance, ringed in rainbowcolored carpeting. Another of Adobe’s “guardrails” is its commitment to sustainability. At Lehi, reclaimed wood from railcars is used in the main staircase heading to the atrium, and there’s more built into the north entrance of the building, providing an immediate visual impact. More subtly, the tech company has figured out ways to reduce the strain its computer system puts on energy use and the environment. “Servers produce a lot of heat,” Francom says, explaining that most building designs focus on creating an exhaust system to simply dispel the heat. Adobe, though, uses a heat-recapture system that recovers and radiates the warmth through the floor of Lehi’s large atrium space. “In the winter, our atrium is literally heated by our server rooms,” Francom says. “It’s really a fun thing and allows people to see that we’re driving sustainability in unique and cool new ways.” Adobe’s Utah campus has its own Facebook page. Posts include company news, members of the company in the news, nominations for the Adobe Founders’ Awards (a peer-nominated program that honors outstanding coworkers), and architectural tidbits about the new building. There are about 1,000 “likes” on the page. “It’s a space people want to be a part of,” Francom says. “People ask, ‘How do people even work here? It looks like a resort.’ I love that question—because working hard and playing hard aren’t mutually exclusive.” Not anymore. A MESSAGE FROM RAPT STUDIO We love connecting things. Sites, design, and strategy—we think it’s better when they all come together. We’re a group of designers, builders, thinkers, and fans of culture who love creating inspiring spaces, digital places, and everything in between. In short, we help companies stand out and stand for something.

Latham & Watkins offers its heartfelt congratulations to

Mike Pfeiffer

of Realty Income Corporation

for helping to transform the real estate investment industry through his vision, leadership and strong commitment to the company’s mission to help shareholders pursue their dreams.

REALTY Realty Income Corporation – a valued client of Latham & Watkins for more than two decades.

Abu Dhabi







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Orange County



Los Angeles






Washington, D.C. * In association with the Law Office of Salman M. Al-Sudairi

Taking Care of Business For more than 50 years, Greenberg Glusker has held a unique position in Los Angeles as a full-service law firm, with particular expertise in environmental, entertainment, real estate, corporate, private client services, litigation, employment and bankruptcy/insolvency.

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He managed a merger that made his company a real estate juggernaut, and, in his spare time, he helped acquire properties worth a total of $25 billion—all in a year’s work. He is Michael Pfeiffer, general counsel of Realty Income Corporation, the largest publicly traded net-lease REIT in the nation—and if 2013 is any indication of what’s to come, his firm may soon be your company’s landlord

HAVING BRANDED ITSELF “The Monthly Dividend Company,” Realty Income Corporation sets its bar high—with good reason. For 44 years, the real estate firm has provided continuous monthly dividends to its investors, totaling more than $2.6 billion. And, since 1994 alone, the company has increased its annualized dividend from $.90 to $2.182 per share. To maintain its excellence in the market, Realty Income, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “O,” must source property acquisitions every day, targeting companies that are considering strategic alternatives for their real estate holdings and developing relationships with investment bankers, brokers, and developers. “Our acquisition team is always on the phone, trying to find opportunities for us, and when you have access to capital like we do, people listen if there is a deal they’re looking to do,” says Michael Pfeiffer, the firm’s executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary.


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2013 was a particularly remarkable year for the company: it completed its first public-entity acquisition, a $3.2 billion transaction that added the 515 properties of American Realty Capital Trust (ARCT) to Realty Income’s more than 3,000-property portfolio. Now, the firm owns more than 3,600 commercial properties across 49 states and Puerto Rico, leased to companies serving 46 different industries. The ARCT acquisition made Realty Income the largest publicly traded net-lease real estate investment trust (REIT) in the nation, and Pfeiffer, who also sits on the company’s investment committee, played a major role in the merger. The properties from ARCT include bigname tenants such as Walgreens, FedEx, and PNC Bank, and the acquisition helped diversify Realty Income’s property types between the retail, distribution, corporate, agricultural, manufacturing, and industrial sectors. “The merger hit all of our long-term goals,”

Photo: J. Katarzyna Woronowicz

by Zach Baliva


MICHAEL PFEIFFER is Realty Income’s executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary. He came to the company in 1990 after graduating from the University of Rhode Island and attending law school at the University of San Diego. His legal expertise guides Realty Income in all areas, including legal and regulatory compliance, acquisitions, portfolio management, and insurance and retirement planning, and he also sits on the company’s investment committee, where he evaluates various acquisition opportunities. He played a major role in the company’s first public-entity acquisition, a $3.2 billion transaction completed in 2013 that added American Realty Capital Trust’s portfolio to Realty Income’s.

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“The merger hit all of our long-term goals. Not only did it help to diversify our portfolio; it increased our size, which allows us to increase our monthly dividends.” Michael Pfeiffer Executive VP, General Counsel & Secretary

Pfeiffer says. “Not only did it help to diversify our portfolio; it increased our size, which allows us to increase our monthly dividends.” In completing the acquisition of ARCT and its 515 properties, Realty Income raised its equity market capitalization to approximately $8.4 billion, with the ability to generate yearly revenues of more than $700 million. The sheer size of the firm means it gets to review the majority of acquisition opportunities that arise in the industry. This is a huge advantage over competitors. “Everyone knows we’re able to perform, so we get to be selective,” Pfeiffer says. ARCT presented an especially attractive opportunity because it was a smaller REIT that had just gone public, and Realty Income had the chance to acquire the company in a clean deal without taking on any employees or board members. The transaction was not without its challenges, though. Realty Income had to pore over the details and data on each of ARCT’s buildings, and key to wading through them all was the company’s good relationship with outside counsel. Pfeiffer retained six law firms and divided the workload to let each one tackle a specific function of the acquisition, including the reviewing of leases, titles, surveys, environmental issues, and propertycondition reports. Impressively, the work was completed less than two months after Realty Income and ARCT announced their merger. Once the deal was completed, Pfeiffer assisted with the integration of ARCT’s portfolio into the Realty Income fold, uniting existing systems with new properties in a seamless way through open communication. After the merger, Pfeiffer met right back up with Realty Income’s investment committee —consisting of himself, the CEO, the COO, the CFO, and the executive vice president of portfolio management—to discuss other opportunities, reviewing new properties that were sourced by the acquisitions department and analyzed by the research department. The research department looks at the credit of tenants and factors such as store profitability, location, area demographics, traffic, and access, and as a result of its work, Realty


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Income also completed several property-level acquisitions in 2013 and expected the value of all its acquisitions to total $1.25 billion by the year’s end. It’s the fast pace and varied work that keep Pfeiffer passionate in his career. “I love the diversity, and I enjoy being involved in all areas of the business,” he says. By managing a department of 20 people, he gets to guide each of Realty Income’s transactions from beginning to end, and he also serves as board secretary, advises on website legal issues, and even makes diligence trips to learn about different industries and businesses. This varied approach helps him broaden his expertise in order to better advise on the legal aspects of all matters that impact Realty Income’s day-to-day activities. He has also worked hard to build a highfunctioning legal team that can address issues quickly—a strategy that he says is critical to his company’s success. “We aren’t always offering the best price for sellers, but we perform very fast,” he says. “That makes us attractive and competitive, and we must remain nimble.” His legal department almost functions as a marketing team, working to complete deals by understanding objectives and minimizing risk while making the experience pleasant for both parties. Much has changed over Pfeiffer’s 23-year tenure at Realty Income. “I used to come in to work each day and find a pile of deliveries or a fax machine printing incoming documents on roller paper,” he says. The company’s research department can now review, obtain, and access information through an array of new tools and applications, and it can even use Google Earth to research and view locations without ever leaving the office. The advances help Pfeiffer and his colleagues discover new ways to keep the company on its upward climb. Since 1994, Realt y Income’s average compounded annual return has been 17.3 percent, and the company routinely outperforms competitors and indexes. On September 10, 2013, it declared its 519th consecutive monthly dividend, and more are sure to follow if it keeps up its current acquisition pace.

Realty Income By the Numbers


Commercial properties in Realty Income’s portfolio


States where Realty Income properties are located (the firm also has properties in Puerto Rico)


Industries served by Realty Income’s tenants


Years that Realty Income has provided dependable monthly dividends to its investors


Realty Income’s equity market capitalization

$700M Annual revenues that Realty Income has the ability to generate

A MESSAGE FROM GREENBERG GLUSKER Mr. Pfeiffer has demonstrated an impressive ability to leverage the resources of his strong in-house legal team by calling on Greenberg Glusker to handle the more labor-intensive aspects of large portfolio transactions. We work closely with Realty Income’s legal department to identify, assess, and resolve material issues efficiently and expeditiously, focusing on Realty Income’s well-communicated deal objectives.

Wolfenzon Rolle congratulates Michael Pfeiffer. It is our privilege to work together

We congratulate Mike Pfeiffer and Realty Income Corporation

and represent the interests

on their recognition by

of Realty Income Corporation.

American Builders Quarterly

We are proud to provide legal counsel to Realty Income Corporation and look forward to working with Mike Pfeiffer and his team for many years to come. McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP serves the real estate industry in all areas of real estate development, ownership, financing, construction, infrastructure, energy, environmental and related litigation.

Effective and Comprehensive Legal Representation.

Wolfenzon Rolle Construction | Real Estate | Leasing Commercial & Business Litigation | Liability Defense N E VA DA


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GREAT PARTNERSHIPS ARE BUILT ON FIRM FOUNDATIONS. Michael J. Furbush 420 South Orange Avenue CNL Center II, 7th Floor Orlando, FL 32801 407.835.8557 David P. Barker 420 South Orange Avenue CNL Center II, 7th Floor Orlando, FL 32801 407.835.8553


Roetzel is proud to work with Tim White and his legal team at Meritage Homes. We congratulate Tim for his well-deserved recognition in American Builders Quarterly.





General Counsel, Meritage Homes

Since joining Meritage Homes as its award-winning general counsel, Tim White has melded his past experience in private practices with his passion for homebuilding by Chirstopher James Palafox

ONE DAY IN AUGUST 2005, Tim White, as a member of the board of directors of the publicly traded Meritage Homes Corp., was sitting in a board meeting evaluating final candidates for the company’s first general counsel. After a robust discussion about the leading candidates, White was asked to leave the room. Puzzled by the request, he politely left and waited, and over an hour passed before he was summoned back to the meeting. At this point in his life, White had been enjoying a successful career as a partner and department head of a large international law firm, where he represented a wide variety of homebuilders, developers, and other businesses. Upon being summoned back to the meeting, though, the directors told him, “We want to make this general counsel position work with and for you,” and they gamely enticed White into accepting the job himself. He was blindsided. “I had not before that moment given any serious thought about leaving the private practice of law,” White says. “But I would not have left for any client other than Meritage.” Meritage Homes, which is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, is one of the United States’ largest homebuilders, and it is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The company has been featured on the Fortune 1000 and the Forbes Platinum 400 as one of the best big companies in America. It is known for its high level of design and value and is the industry leader in building energy-efficient homes. White joined Meritage not only out of respect for the business but also because of a simple love for homebuilding that reaches all the way back to his childhood. In grade school and continuing into high school, he spent his free time sketching floor plans and elevations for homes and creating styrofoam models of those homes. He also took drafting classes that focused on home and building design. When White was in high school and college, he would often stop at builders’

model homes and open houses whenever he ventured upon them, and the habit still endures today. Now, though he mostly visits his company’s homes, he still enjoys taking in competitors’ models in order to evaluate them and imagine how he would have done them differently. After graduating from law school in 1985, White developed a successful practice with a Phoenix law firm, which he comanaged for more than a decade. From there, he moved his practice to the large international firm Greenberg Traurig in order to better serve the needs of his rapidly expanding client base. It was in 2005 that he was lured to the public sector “The homebuilding business is by Meritage. tangible. You can visit communities However, his involvement with the company actually as they are developed and witness started back in 1991, when it the American Dream.” was still known as Monterey Homes. (A portion of Meritage that builds luxury homes still Tim White operates as Monterey in Arizona VP & General Counsel and Texas.) At the time, the two young entrepreneurs who started the business had already built a couple of communities, and seeking having dealt with the company for so many help with legal matters, they brought White years, White still had adjustments to make transitioning from his outside counsel posiin to consult. In 1995, White joined Monterey Homes’ tion. “As an outside lawyer, it is difficult to appreciate the emotional intellect it takes to board of directors shortly before its acquisition of another large homebuilder, Legnavigate the myriad of internal and exteracy Homes; the merger coincided with the nal interactions and relationships that are necessary to make a business run smoothly.” company going public. A need for a new name emerged, and the winemaking term White says. ”Many lawyers are accustomed “Meritage” was chosen. According to White, to striving for perfection in everything they it means “a fine blend of ingredients.” White do, and when they go in-house with a comhas been involved in Meritage’s legal dealpany, they must quickly come to grips with ings ever since, but he stepped down from the reality that perfect processes, solutions, and execution cannot always be achieved and the board when he became the company’s that expectations may need to be adjusted.” general counsel and executive vice president—a move meant to balance the board’s White perceives many lawyers to be independence. results-driven to a fault. “Your focus is to get And though becoming a bigger part of things done and to succeed, sometimes at the Meritage seemed like the natural next step, expense of others,” he says. To counter this,

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The test of time.

Straight talk. Sound counsel. Practical solutions. At Snell & Wilmer, some things never change. w w w.sw l aw.c o m



Wilenchik and Bartness is a law firm focused on real estate, homebuilding and construction. We practice in New York, Texas and Arizona and are proud to have the opportunity to have known and worked with the professionals at Meritage, including Tim White as general counsel, since our firm’s founding in 1991. We have always been impressed with Tim’s leadership, dedication to the company and the industry, as well as his loyalty and exceptional skills and judgment. We congratulate him and wish him many more years of continued success.

he suggests that lawyers “focus on developing relational skills, which are just as important as any legal skills.” White points out that there are a lot of moving parts in the homebuilding business and that outside subcontractors, suppliers, and consultants are as integral as a company’s in-house employees. It’s a lesson that White has taken to heart at Meritage because the number of such subcontractors, suppliers, and consultants is more than double the number of Meritage employees. Coordinating and cooperating with, understanding, appreciating, and respecting everyone involved in the homebuilding process is critical. A major portion of White’s job is to provide perspective and direction to lawyers and professionals on his legal and risk-management staffs as well as to outside lawyers and consultants. This involves creating the strategies and plans that get jobs from point to point. As general counsel, White is in charge of everything legal, including management of the legal team, risk management, and land acquisition. In addition to the general counsel role, White is an executive vice president and a member of Meritage’s senior management team, and he works alongside the CEO, the CFO, and the COO to set corporate strategy and keep the company running smoothly. Ultimately, White has enjoyed the transition from general legal practice to the upper reaches of the corporate world, particularly at a firm that shares his passions. “The homebuilding business is tangible,” he says. “You can see a piece of dirt in whatever part of the country you’re in and envision a first-class vibrant community there. It is extremely rewarding to later visit those communities as they are developed and witness the fact that the company has provided customers a part of the American Dream of homeownership.” And, White’s work for Meritage has only made the company better. “Without a doubt, the accomplishment I am most proud of is having attracted and retained the best legal talent in the homebuilding industry,” he says. “Meritage Homes has the elite legal team in the industry.” Half of White’s legal team worked on his prior legal team from when he was in private practice. “Surround yourself with people with high levels of competency, commitment, and integrity,” he says, “and your life will be easier and more fulfilling.”

A MESSAGE FROM SNELL & WILMER Snell & Wilmer values its long-term relationship with Tim White and Meritage Homes. We celebrate their continued success and growth in the industry. 82

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AMERICAN EXPRESS’S NEW DESIGN TEAM Thomas Gannon brought American Express’s planning and construction workforce in-house, and now it’s creating everything from flexible office spaces to luxury airport lounges

Photo: Jim Stephenson

by Christopher James Palafox

The recently completed American Express office building in Brighton, England, houses 3,000 staff and has flexible floor plats, which allow future working patterns to be easily accommodated.

FOR AMERICAN EXPRESS, being blue is not a figure of speech; the company just really likes the color. The firm, with revenues of more than $30 billion, uses the hue to brand everything from the familiar background of its logo to its basic Blue credit card (with its accompanying Blue Rewards) to BlueWork, American Express’s global real estate strategy for providing more flexibility and efficiency in the workplace. BlueWork enables American Express to make better use of its existing space while creating an environment that is more in tune with how employees are working today. By building more open and collaborative work spaces and better determining how employees work—including whether they need dedicated seats

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in the office or have f lexibility in where they get their work done—the company’s in-house real estate team has increased productivity while simultaneously saving the company real estate costs. Thomas Gannon, vice president of global design and construction within American Express’s Global Real Estate and Workplace Enablement group, is part of the team driving the strategy. The company brought Gannon into the fold in June 2011. And, after reevaluating its real estate platform, the first thing he did was lead the company away from the outsourcing of its design and construction. “The industry trend with corporate real estate groups is moving to an outsourced model,” Gannon says. “So, when American Express decided to move in-house, it definitely raised some eyebrows.” It was this opportunity to assemble a new team and improve the company’s talent, process, and project delivery that ultimately drew Gannon to the position. “What we’ve really been able to do … is build a world-class design and construction team that is unlike most corporate real estate teams,” he says. “Our team is [composed] of industry-grounded professionals who have established careers as builders, developers, engineers, and architects.” The design and construction team’s macro goal is the execution and delivery of American Express’s global capital plan. With more than 30 people in the department, including four directors, who oversee the four strategic markets and the more than 40 countries the company services, its range of projects varies greatly. Along with BlueWork, Gannon’s team


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is actively engaged in updating the corporate, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and design standards of the company. It is also involved in creating The Centurion Lounges, which build on American Express’s heritage and act as a physical expression of the brand’s commitment to deliver world-class service and experience to its card members. American Express has already opened locations in Las Vegas and Dallas airports, and more are planned for the next two years. These airport destinations offer high-end amenities and services, including gourmet food from renowned chefs and a broad beverage selection curated by an award-winning mixologist and wine director. Available at no charge to Centurion and Platinum card members (all other card members can purchase a $50 one-day pass), the spaces are meant to be flexible, giving travelers many ways to relax, play, or work. Semiprivate workspaces, computer bars, conference spaces, and printers allow professionals to stay connected in style, and family rooms with video games, books, and toys reduce the stress of travel. Gannon says everything from the furniture to the finishes was scrutinized to ensure that the spaces offer a premium-level visitor experience that ref lects the American Express brand. Planning for the Centurion Lounge concept began in 2011, and the first location, in Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport, debuted in February 2013. A second lounge opened at Dallas Fort Worth airport in October 2013. Gannon and his team oversaw the projects from site selection and due diligence through the hiring of the architects and

Gannon’s team oversaw the design of American Express’s new Centurion Lounges inside airports in Dallas (pictured here) and Las Vegas. The lounges offer high-end amenities and services to card members. The Brighton office interior boasts a staff restaurant, a gymnasium, a conference center, and underground parking, along with cafés and “break-out” points throughout the workplace for staff interaction.

Photo: Jim Stephenson


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VIEW FROM THE TOP In building its new office in Brighton, American Express noted one of its main challenges was the steep site, with a 12-meter change in elevation. Adding to the challenge were high standards for sustainability, which Gannon’s team achieved, setting a benchmark in the city.

“What we’ve really been able to do… is build a world-class design and construction team ... [composed] of industry-grounded professionals who have established careers as builders, developers, engineers and architects.”

Photo: Jim Stephenson

Thomas Gannon VP of Global Design and Construction, Global Real Estate and Workplace Enablement Group

construction teams, ensuring that the company’s vision was achieved. Gannon also reinforces the company’s vision through the updating of its corporate facilities to its BlueWork standard, which influences everything from small office refreshes to multimillion dollar new builds. Prior to a BlueWork move, American Express surveys employees about their roles and then works with them to determine their work style: home, roam, club, or hub. Employees in the home group are assisted in setting up home offices so that they can work remotely. The roam group includes those who are normally on the road and who rarely work at the office. Club employees are more flexible and can split their time between home and office. And, finally, a hub employee is a traditional worker who requires a dedicated desk. BlueWork has enabled American Express to be more efficient with its real estate space, garnering the company major savings with no evident drawbacks; in fact, by allowing employees to work in the manners best suited to their roles, the company has actually developed a more engaged, committed staff. To ensure that the system continues to

help the company, American Express also surveys employees several months after e ve r y BlueWork i mple me nt at ion to understand what’s working and what’s not. Gannon’s team makes adjustments based on the feedback and incorporates them into the next project. And, to keep the design and construction staff sharp, an online resource of training materials is always readily available. While the global real estate team functions as an autonomous unit within American Express’s Global Business Services group, it must answer to the company’s multiple stakeholders. Because of this, Gannon and his team are deliberate in their planning, spending the majority of their time conducting due diligence and analyzing projects from a corporate-strategy perspective while working with the company’s other internal business units on a property portfolio comprising 12 million square feet. “In taking this role, I felt like I had an opportunity to do something very entrepreneurial,” Gannon says. “At the same time, since global real estate is really a business unit within a much larger organization, everything that we’re doing supports the company’s key strategies.”

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GUIDING THE REACH OF A GIANT When global conglomerate Siemens divided its real estate division into four regional offices in 2012, Michael Kruklinski was chosen to lead the Americas branch. He immediately set about refocusing it to ensure the company and its clients are at the cutting edge of progress and innovation. by Zach Baliva


and electronic-engineering conglomerate’s 60,000 employees in the United States and its 750 subsidiaries and partners around the world work together to manufacture automation equipment, power-generation equipment, imaging systems, and much more for clients in the industrial, energy, healthcare, and transportation sectors. Basically, anyone who leaves home in the morning (and maybe even those who don’t—Siemens makes domestic appliances, too) is likely to feel the company’s impact, either overtly or incidentally. Over the past five years, Siemens has seen significant North American growth; two years ago, in response to this growth, it launched a reorganization of its corporate real estate division, replacing fully centralized operations in Munich with four regional headquarters around the world. The company knew that leadership in each new location would prove critical to the project’s success, so it turned to a proven manager, Michael Kruklinski, to oversee Siemens Real Estate (SRE) in the Americas. “Michael brings a unique strategic viewpoint to the operational business of real estate,” Siemens Corporation president and CEO Eric Spiegel says. “His leadership will help strengthen our offerings and services in this market.” The new role as head of the Americas region represented a chance for Kruklinski


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“The 22 countries composing the Americas region are highly dynamic, with different markets where SRE can support Siemens’s business in leveraging opportunity for growth and consolidating its market presence.”

Michael Kruklinski Head of Region Americas

to refocus the organization. “It was kind of like a start-up,” he says. “We had to analyze all the data, and [we] found the best way to promote regional entrepreneurship, collaboration, and proximity to our customers.” And, now that the restructuring is complete, Kruklinski and SRE are simply adhering to and executing on Siemens’s overall plan, which is to concentrate on client needs. Kruklinski brings to his position deep experience in global finance and an intimate knowledge of Siemens’s various divisions. He has held several jobs with the company, including, most recently, chief strategy officer in the United States, and before that, the German native worked as a senior principal at AT Kearney. In his current role, he over-

sees more than 34 million square feet of real estate spread across more than 600 total office and industrial locations, which together generate around $100 million per year. “It is a great opportunity to be working with such a diverse group of professionals across the Americas,” Kruklinski says. “The 22 countries composing the Americas region are highly dynamic, with different markets where SRE can support Siemens’s business in leveraging opportunity for growth and consolidating its market presence.” SRE manages the full life cycle of properties in the Siemens real estate portfolio, including strategic location conceptualization, new construction, purchasing and selling, and the management of operations. The

Photo: Brian Blanco / AP Images for Siemens


Siemens’s Orlando WindService Training Center Operational Since July 2013 Cost $7 million Size 40,000 sq. ft. Certifications Global Wind Organisation (GWO) and LEED Gold certification in progress Equipment Two nacelles (wind turbines), three 30-foot-high climbing towers, ladder structures, a service-crane station, rescue stations, hydraulic modules, and electrical modules Nacelle Stats One is a 2.3 MW geared turbine, the other is a 3 MW direct-drive turbine; each weighs more than 100 tons Other Siemens Wind-Service Training Facilities Brande, Denmark; Bremen, Germany; Newcastle, United Kingdom Interesting Fact Siemens Real Estate surveyed more than 150 buildings in Houston, Denver, and Orlando before deciding on this location Workers practice at Siemens Energy’s new wind-service training center near Orlando, FL. Siemens Real Estate helped develop the project after Siemens Energy ran out of room at its original facility in Houston.

subsidiary ensures that the use of resources at each location is optimized and sustainable in terms of cost, transparency, and efficiency. “By managing Siemens’s real estate portfolio, SRE takes the burden of real estate management off of the Siemens business segments, allowing them to be more profitable and competitive and to focus on their core business,” Kruklinski says. SRE does a lot of work to be a trusted partner for customers. “We can do so much more than just lease space and turn the lights on,” Kruklinski says. His division works with clients to develop growth strategies and show how real estate choices can help drive their business forward. By consulting on location strategies, for example, SRE can help customers build near the right universities or the right talent pools that match their business visions. “We’ve developed some location strategies for customers to really open their eyes on specific cities and show them how increasing or consolidating space can help,” Kruklinski says. “We’re bringing people together while showing them new opportunities and savings.” Discussing all issues prior to a deal is important. Is the customer’s business increasing production or ramping it down? What is the average commute time for employees? Knowing these details helps SRE properly structure purchases, leases, and sales to further maximize potential and operate proactively. In doing so, the subsidiary adds value to Siemens by changing the way

both its divisions and outside companies think about corporate real estate. In July 2013, for example, the company opened a major project—an industry-leading wind-service training center in Orlando, Florida. The $7 million structure will train Siemens Energy’s wind-service employees to be the best in the industry, and it is itself sustainable. The 40,000-square-foot building meets LEED Gold standards and includes two wind-turbine generators, three climbing towers, a service crane, and other training and safety stations. The need for the facility arose when Siemens Energy outgrew its first windservice training center in Houston and demand for skilled workers became greater than ever. (Siemens has installed 3,000 turbines in the Americas and almost 7,000 worldwide.) Kruklinski and his team worked with the energy division to select an indoor space in a convenient location close to Siemens Energy’s headquarters, also in Orlando. The new site can be easily accessed by international customers, and it will host at least 2,400 trainees per year. The project illustrates how SRE works closely with its customers. Kruklinski and his team have now settled into their new roles, and they’ll continue to ensure that Siemens’s properties in the Americas, across all divisions, get the proper attention they need. As the company continues to grow and spread over the continent, SRE’s task will be more important than ever.

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In addition to making Under Armour’s work spaces more adaptable and scalable, Neil Jurgens, the vice president of global corporate real estate, is figuring out what perks workers want, including green walls. This one is a part of the company’s main Baltimore campus. It’s the largest indoor living wall in the region.


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UNDER ARMOUR’S REAL ESTATE MVP “Protect This House: I Will” is the sports-apparel company’s mantra, and the man in charge of its international “houses,” Neil Jurgens, translates the CEO’s vision of aggressive growth into flexible work spaces focused on employee behavior by Christopher James Palafox

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UNDER ARMOUR’S ANNUAL REVENUE GROWTH In 1996, with his grandmother’s basement as company headquarters, 23-year-old CEO Kevin Plank spent his first year of business traveling the East Coast, selling his HeatGear T-shirt, named the #0037, from the trunk of his car. By the year’s end, he had made his first team sale.

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UNDER ARMOUR’S ANNUAL EMPLOYEE GROWTH Having garnered recognition through its involvement with the movie Any Given Sunday, partnered with professional sports teams, and launched its “Protect This House” TV campaign, the company went public in 2005, and its size increased exponentially from there.

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sports-apparel company with its own chain of stores and high-profile sponsorship deals, might not at first seem like an underdog. But, when compared to seasoned veterans such as Nike or Adidas, which have decades of experience and exponentially larger revenues, the rookie clothier, founded in 1996, begins to look like more of a long shot. So, to challenge its heavyweight counterparts, Under Armour is actually embracing its youth, channeling a staggering 20 percent of its rapid annual growth into flexible facilities made to withstand the changes of the business landscape. “You’ve got to be nimble,” says Neil Jurgens, the company’s vice president of global real estate. “Real estate is about speed and innovation.” Jurgens, one of the newest additions to the Under Armour team, having joined in April 2013, wants to build workplaces where employees are more engaged. It’s his belief that if he can help employees work better and more efficiently, then the company can truly tackle its mission to “make all athletes better.” At heart, Jurgens is a builder. After getting a degree in civil engineering, he spent eight years in Baltimore, working in general contracting and construction management before joining Santa Monica, California-based Macerich in 1997. There, he did retail development work for 10 years until Disney came calling in 2007, putting him to work on real estate, construction, and asset management on a global scale. Under Armour’s CEO, Kevin Plank, drew Jurgens from Disney with his vision of intense growth. Plank wants to build Under


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Armour into a $10 billion-per-year company by 2020, and Jurgens felt he could leverage his international experience to help with the ambitious plan. At its simplest, Jurgens’s role is to understand what real estate Under Armour needs then provide options that lead to informed decisions. Jurgens examines how employees work and communicates with teams on the ground to figure out what spaces, features, and initiatives function well and what don’t, whether they’re “as simple as keeping the lights on and keeping the place clean [or, more complexly,] creating spaces and areas for people to work in and interact,” he says. Jurgens and his team are now studying how to make Under Armour’s workplaces scalable and flexible in preparation for the company’s planned expansion. And, along the way, Jurgens is getting a little help from M Moser Associates, a global company specializing in architect-led design-build solutions for workplaces. The firm worked with Jurgens during his tenure at Disney (helping him complete approximately 800,000 square feet of office space), and it is currently assisting with an Under Armour sales office in Guangzhou, China. When asked about his work with Neil Jurgens, John Sellery, group managing director with M Moser, says, “He’s a strong leader. He makes decisions that are well considered but is also able to make quick decisions, which, in the design and construction industry, is hugely important.” The planning of each new Under Armour space starts with a visioning process that determines how it will function. Designing

“You’ve got to be nimble. Real estate is about speed and innovation.”

Neil Jurgens VP of Global Corporate Real Estate


Under Armour’s footwear-development office, completed in 2012, has low, open bench workstations and collaborative meeting spaces, all lit by ample daylighting from floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Station House, Under Armour’s reception area, is the entrance point for all visitors to the company’s main campus. The 4,500-square-foot building has two floors with food, drinks, and entertainment.

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a space that allows f lexibility while minimizing vacancy means understanding how the different groups using the space—be they from sales, accounting, design, etc.—will work, then optimizing the workplace standards around their behavior. Jurgens’s designs recognize the effects of employee density on productivity and morale, but they also factor in the economic realities of real estate. Jurgens recalls an exchange with one senior executive who wished to get rid of his office entirely because he never used it. Instead, Jurgens replaced the space with several high-top tables where the executive could sit and interact with his teams constantly. This type of focus on employees’ actual functions and behaviors, rather than on traditional norms, is what drives Jurgens’s work. As Under Armour knocks down walls to create more open, collaborative workplaces, it’s actually creating tighter workplace standards by enhancing teamwork and increasing accountability. The strategy involves many details, such as the precise positioning of office pantries to create better opportunities for workers to bump into each other and begin impromptu collaborations. Summing up his philosophies, Jurgens quotes a mantra appropriated from a book on pharmaceutical sales: “Be bright, be brief, and be gone.” Or, as he interprets it, “Think about what you’re doing, be concise, and then go do it.” He’ll continue to adhere to such ideas of subtle efficiency and ingenuity as Under Armour pushes forward with its rapid development and intelligent planning in the sports-apparel arena. “We have another saying around here,” Jurgens adds. “‘Employees get things done, partners get them done done, and owners get them done done done.’ In everything we do, we find a way and get things ‘done done done.’”

Under Armour’s promenade is one of the signature amenities of the company’s Baltimore campus, with a turf field—painted with the Maryland flag—for outdoor exercise and activities.

Designing flexible spaces that grow with business M Moser Associates is proud of its work with Neil Jurgens to create Under Armour’s flexible new workplace. M Moser’s network of offices looks forward to the innovations still to come from our continuing global collaboration.


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Walgreens Pushes the



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After years of aggressive growth, the drugstore chain has dialed it back, positioning Ryan Hill in a leading role to open 12 upscale flagship stores and refurbish thousands of other locations across North America BY ZACH BALIVA

Opened in December 2012, Walgreens’s flagship store in Chicago’s Bucktown / Wicker Park neighborhood involved two years of work with the city’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks to complete the building’s restoration, including the terra cotta exterior cladding and ornamental details.

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Photos: (previous page) Jamie Padgett, (this page) Sheila Barabad


when it happened. The phone rang, and Ryan Hill, a 27-year-old pilot in town for a job interview, answered. His appointment had been canceled. An airplane had just hit the World Trade Center. Hill had just graduated from the Air Force Academy and had lined up interviews with every major airline. None of them happened. And, as hiring froze, he grew anxious and applied online for a position at Walgreens Co. He accepted the job, but then he changed his mind when ATA Airlines called looking to hire a pilot. The dream of flight was simply too much to walk away from. Three years later, though, the airline industry was still in a decline, and Hill faced an inevitable furlough as his company headed toward bankruptcy. “It was time for a career change,” he says, “and I knew that it was the right time to make a move.” With his degree in civil engineering from the Air Force Academy, Hill contacted the Walgreens recruiter he had interviewed with in 2001 and accepted work with the company as a project engineer. Nine years later, after working his way up, Hill has become a divisional vice president of facilities and technical shared services. His role encompasses myriad responsibilities, including development planning, preconstruction activities (such as bidding, contracting, and estimating), construction management (including design-build), architecture, engineering, business development (including vendor relations, training and development, diversity, and union relations), and program management. He’s helping Walgreens—the drugstore with 8,000 locations and $71.6 billion in annual HE WAS TYING HIS TIE IN A MINNEAPOLIS HOTEL ROOM


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“The idea behind our flagship stores is simple. It gives us a halo effect and provides the ability to showcase and test new concepts, products, services, and solutions.” Ryan Hill Divisional VP of Facilities and Technical Shared Services

Ryan Hill oversees the development of Walgreens’s flagship stores, where atypical items are on sale, including hand-rolled sushi, baked goods, and private-label products. He says the locations are mini living laboratories for the company, offering new insights into the retail marketplace. In Chicago, at its Bucktown / Wicker Park flagship, Walgreens restored an original cast-iron safe and turned it into the Vitamin Vault. Next to the vault, the building’s original blueprints are on display.

Photo: Jamie Padgett


revenues—launch a series of new, high-profile flagship stores that are rejuvenating the company and allowing it to get, as Hill puts it, “more from the core.” When the recession hit in 2008, Walgreens was growing at a rate of nine percent annually by building 600 new stores per year. New locations, however, typically take three years to turn a profit, and Hill and other Walgreens personnel realized that they would need to adopt a new strategy to reduce the drag on earnings. After careful analysis, they decided to slow growth to two percent, launch only 150 new stores per year, and reroute the remaining funds to existing stores, which were aging and not performing as well. “We wanted to invest in our core to get more sales and profit from each location,” Hill says. The strategy allowed Walgreens to earmark some of its construction funds for 12 enhanced flagship stores across the country, including in Hawaii and Puerto Rico. “The idea behind our flagship stores is simple,” Hill says. “It gives us a halo effect and provides the ability to showcase and test new concepts, products, services, and solutions.” Walgreens’s supersized flagship stores (25,000 square feet instead of 14,500) are not typical drugstores. Customers can dine on sushi, sample baked goods, grab a smoothie, pick a bouquet of flowers, browse privatelabel products, find beer and wine, or indulge at a LOOK Boutique beauty center. Stores in major cities such as New York (on Fifth Avenue) and Los Angeles (on the Walk of Fame) feature high-market products, manicure stations, automated pharmacy kiosks, and beautifully landscaped outdoor spaces. Hill says the fresh and buzzing retail hubs—each a mini living laboratory for the company—




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“The biggest shift is that we are moving away from a prototype and giving every single new store a unique look and feel.” Ryan Hill Divisional VP of Facilities and Technical Shared Services

Flagship stores range in size between Photo: Jamie Padgett

Walgreens also restored the Bucktown / Wicker Park location’s coffered plaster ceiling, which features stretched hexagons that frame griffins and other ornate designs and form Star of David patterns. At the center is a large stained-glass window displaying a six-pointed star of its own.

20,000 and 25,000 sq.ft.

offer new marketplace insights that his team will apply to the existing store base. In addition to improving the company’s core while continuing organic growth, Walgreens’s strategic shift in development has positioned the brand to take full advantage of acquisitions, including the $6.7 billion deal for Alliance Boots, made in the summer of 2012. The company also bought Kerr’s Drugs in 2013 and is now well positioned for international expansion. Through a partnership with AmerisourceBergen, Walgreens has emerged as the world’s largest distributor of pharmaceutical drugs, and its buying power brings leverage in new markets around the globe. Although Walgreens is shifting to slower, more calculated growth through the flagship model, Hill says the brand experience—built around the phrase “the intersection of happy and healthy”— will remain consistent. By offering a totality of products and services, Walgreens brings value to the customer, and its substantial real estate footprint makes it convenient to find. But, the fact that Walgreens is still growing and adding high-profile stores will change some decisions. “The biggest shift is that we are moving away from a prototype and giving every single new store a unique look and feel,” Hill says. That look is strictly driven by the surrounding market, and even when stores are only separated by a few city blocks, they will still serve different parts of a market. Each location’s architecture, content, layout, and branding are now specific to its city, its block, its corner. The Hispanic demographic, for example, is one of the fastest-growing consumer segments, so Walgreens has a building design and product assortment more targeted toward Hispanic shoppers in states such as Florida, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Meanwhile, urban outlets offer more opportunities for beauty supplies, including the LOOK Boutiques. “We do our research and know who our customers are in each area,” Hill says. “We know what will and won’t sell.” The tailoring to local flavors is also reflected in each location’s design. Walgreens partnered with FITCH, a global design consultancy, to develop its new architectural guidelines. The firm deconstructed Walgreens’s prototype and outlined basic elements (maintenance,

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Walgreens store will be built using more than 800 solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal technology, energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting, sunlight harvesting techniques and ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration. Osman Construction Corporation is proud of maintaining a very successful relationship with Walgreens spanning more than thirty years. Osman Construction Corporation has been providing clients with general contracting services since 1946. Our clients rely on us for our dedication, experience and smooth synchronization and coordination between owner, architect, subcontractors, engineers and municipalities.

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Photo: Jamie Padgett

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The flagship stores’ beauty departments, called LOOK Boutiques, offer dozens of niche cosmetic, skin-care, and hair-care products not typically found in drugstores. Eyebrow Bars offer grooming services.

loss prevention, safety, building codes, etc.) that must be kept—everything else can be approached creatively. Outside architects now receive basic templates based on FITCH’s design guidelines. “The process with FITCH let us give architects a list of items they could play with to find innovations in providing a unique solution for a specific store,” Hill says. Overall, flagship and standard locations should make customers feel like “it’s their Walgreens,” Hill says. Design teams achieve this by positioning buildings properly, manipulating the lighting, and selecting appropriate materials. For instance, because the female demographic drives business, the stores have soft, curved elements in place of rigid, sterile ones. Overall, four objectives guide each design team’s process: be more relevant to customers, lower the total cost of ownership, increase speed to market, and foster an environment of constant learning that promotes the sharing of ideas and the refinement of the architectural process through an evolution to improve overall design. The risky strategy to slow growth and invest in new markets while revamping existing stores seems to be working. Walgreens is growing its product assortment, its services, and its overall reach, and this is attracting customers in large numbers. The company launched a new loyalty program, Balance Rewards, in 2012 that already has 85 million participants—roughly one quarter of the entire US population. It’s all at least partially thanks to the work of Hill, who, despite giving up an aviation career 10 years ago, looks to be flying high with a company that can’t be stopped.


Business-Class Upgrade  Myriad improvements at the Des Moines International Airport will help the hub handle increased passenger loads as the city continues to grow into a center of finance and insurance

Photo: Brooks Borg Skiles


The Des Moines International Airport’s terminal remodel included new terrazzo flooring, suspended ceilings, and additional seating in the food court.

EVERY MORNING, BETWEEN 5:45 AND 8:30, thousands take off into the clear blue sky from Iowa’s Des Moines International Airport (DSM), ultimately making up more than half of the hub’s two million annual passengers. The city, home to the likes of Allied Insurance, Principal Financial Group, and Meredith Corporation, has long held a reputation as one of the Midwest’s economic and publishing centers, and recent accolades—it was named the best place for business and careers by Forbes and the best place to live and work by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance— now have a.m. business travelers flocking in and out in droves. The airport, a mere three miles from Des Moines’s central business district, handles nearly all the migration, and recent updates managed by Bryan Belt, the airport authority’s director of engineering and planning, have better prepared it for an influx of visitors.

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Up to


Photo: Design Alliance

vehicles can be stored at the airport’s new rental-car facility

Airport Expenditures Taxiway D Reconstruction............................................................ $32.6 M Terminal Area Concept Plan........................................................... $730 K Runway 13/31 Analysis/Design...................................................... $916 K East GA Apron Reconstruction..................................................... $872 K Economy 4 Parking Lot.................................................................... $2.6 M Economy 2 Parking Lot Rehabilitation......................................... $1.4 M

$2.3 M Terminal Remodel............................................................................... $2.5 M Baggage-Handling System................................................................. $6 M Common Use........................................................................................ $2.5 M Concourse Remodel..........................................................................

Total: $52.4 million


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Common-use fuel islands were installed at each end of the airport’s new LEED Silver-certified rental-car facility, along with five fully automatic car-wash bays in the center of the building. DSM recently implemented a common computer platform that allows the airport’s seven airlines to operate at any ticket counter at any gate, and diverted flights can now access any gate. Belt and his team are rebuilding DSM’s 9,001-foot-long Taxiway Delta, replacing its asphalt with concrete, correcting elevation and alignment issues, and making profile changes to allow for environmental benefits.


“Better buildings lead to more engaged employees, which translates to happier passengers.”

Photo: (top) Brooks Borg Skiles

Bryan Belt Director of Engineering and Planning

When ground broke in 1932 on the airport’s initial 160-acre site, it may have been difficult for Iowans mired in the Depression to foresee the heights the Midwestern transportation hub would eventually reach. Today, its 9,003-foot and 9,001-foot runways dwarf its original two 1,800-foot runways, and the airport’s property lines have stretched to surround 2,760 acres. It supports itself financially with an operating budget of more than $31 million and a capital-improvement budget that varies from $8 million to $16 million annually, and Belt uses these funds to build and maintain the airport’s upgrades. One such upgrade was a recent effort to reduce the airport’s carbon footprint. Belt helped oversee the installation of high-efficiency boilers and the building of a LEED Silver-certified rental-car facility, and the airport now works with MidAmerican Energy to reduce its energy consumption and receive rebates for green projects. “Better buildings lead to more engaged employees, which translates to happier passengers,” Belt says. Another of the airport’s capital-improvement projects is the Taxiway Delta rebuild. A taxiway is a path connecting an airport’s runways with its ramps, hangars, terminals, and other facilities, and the one at DSM is 9,001 feet long. Belt and his team are fully reconstructing it, replacing its asphalt with concrete, correcting its elevations and alignments, and making profile changes to allow for the appropriate environmental benefits. Additionally, they are upgrading all the lights along the taxiway’s shoulder, hold-short, and center lines, changing them over to LED fixtures to reduce electricity use and maintenance costs. For the taxiway revamp, Belt helped select the engineering firm that designed the project, and he also oversaw the public-bidding process to find the project’s general contractor. Also, to make sure everything comes in on time and within budget, Belt is working in conjunction with the FAA to develop the project’s scope of work and to obtain funding. The project will cost $32.6 million over the course of two fiscal years—$13.83 million of which is discretionary funding from the FAA. Discretionary funding is approved by the US Congress, and DSM competes against other airports for those funds. Belt and the airport authority staff helped build a project that would garner a high enough rating to earn those necessary funds. DSM also recently implemented a common computer platform that can house and operate all commercial air-

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Working on a higher plane

DSM’s concourse remodel involved the installation of new seating, carpeting, lighting, wall finishes, signage, and TVs in the hold room.




Specializing in:

Baggage Handling Systems Automated People Movers TSA Recapitalization & Optimization Operational Readiness & Airport Transfer Planning & Design | Master Planning | Feasibility Studies Cost Benefit Analysis | Process Analysis | Tendering Project Management Testing | Commissioning Operations & Maintenance

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5750 DTC Parkway, Suite 180 Denver, CO 80111


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line software at every location in every terminal. This means any of the airport’s seven airlines can operate at any ticket counter at any gate, and diverted flights can access any gate, increasing the facility’s flexibility and efficiency. Further improving efficiency is the airport’s new, fully automated baggage-handling system. Its installation consisted of two parts: 1) the designing of a system that could actually handle the luggage, and 2) the remodeling of the ticket counter and the room where bags are screened. DSM brought in LogPlan USA, a national consulting and engineering firm, to design, oversee construction of, and test the system to ensure it meets the Transportation Safety Administration’s (TSA) stringent specifications. Previously, each of the airport’s airlines had its own conveyor that would transfer luggage to the rear of the building, and all that luggage had to be manually transferred to the TSA for screening. Now, the luggage is placed on a single conveyor that transports it through screening equipment and automatically diverts it to its next destination. Only the moving of luggage from the conveyor to the airlines’ luggage carts is still manually done. “DSM Airport is always passenger-focused,” Belt says. “From the close proximity of parking to the ease and short time frame to be processed through ticketing and security—all are focused to help the passenger through the process.” Moving forward, DSM continues to seek improvement. The year ahead includes plans to improve runway 13/31 and the completion of an updated master plan. Because these projects are so large in scale and budget, they require methodical planning and fund allocation, but their eventual completion will better position Des Moines as its business sector continues to grow.

A MESSAGE FROM FOTH AVIATION SERVICES GROUP Foth Aviation Services Group is honored to work with the Des Moines International Airport on its recent capital-improvement projects. Through its commitment to excellence and client satisfaction, Foth has helped aviation clients throughout the United States complete complex airfield design and construction projects. We look forward to continuing our partnership with DSM on its upcoming terminal, landside, and airside engineering program.

Photo: Brooks Borg Skiles

Aviation Design and Construction Services

Photo: Anthony Tribby


Old Town Theater’s Second Act 

PMA Properties purchased the venue with the intention of converting it into a mixed-use retail center, but in peeling back the space’s nearly 100-year-old layers, it found historical charm and hidden elements that revised its renovation plans B Y CHRISTOPHER JAMES PALAFOX

First known as the Richmond Theater, the Old Town Theater has a history that dates back to 1914, when it was managed by two entertainers. The theater’s original sign now hangs in the foyer.

IN 1914, THE RICHMOND THEATER OPENED at 815 1/2 King Street in Alexandria, Virginia, just south of the nation’s capital. It was a beacon of culture run by two entertainers, B. Hamill Reed and R. A. Steele. As with most ventures, though, time took its toll, and after ownership transitions and a name change to the Old Town Theater, the venue had found itself in bad shape by 2012, ultimately closing because of poor ticket sales. The building might well have shared the fate of other crumbling grand theaters of the past had it not been for PMA Properties, but the firm was at first an unlikely savior. “It’s a theater; it has no future,” PMA president Rob Kaufman recalls saying when he bought the space the same year that it closed. “I would sooner acquire the property and turn it into something nice than let somebody else buy it and run it as a slipshod theater.” He originally planned to turn the 5,000-square-foot venue into a mixeduse retail center, but as he and his team began carefully removing trash and drywall, slowly unearthing hidden rooms, windows, staircases, and an extra 2,000 square feet of space in the process, he became more hesitant to dismiss the building’s storied past. For more than 30 years, PMA has specialized in the rehabilitation of unique historical buildings, converting them for commercial, residential, and corporate use by combining modern comfort with retro charm. The

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“The deeper we got into the demolition, the more intriguing the building became in its original form. I had to do something to retain what was so interesting.” Rob Kaufman Owner & Founder

company, which earns $10 million in annual net revenue, is more accustomed to repurposing buildings—currently it’s working on a former 39-room hotel that was converted into an office in 1960 before PMA decided to turn it back into an apartment and hotel space— people but after two months of demolition, Kaufman decided he couldn’t do the same to the Old Town Theater. “The deeper we got into the demolition, the more intriguing the building became in its original form,” Kaufman says. “I decided that I just couldn’t gut this building. I had to do something to retain what was so interesting.” The building was still in ramshackle shape, though. Its roof was leaking, and its pipes were rusted, so PMA removed everything extraneous to expose the building’s bones. Kaufman and his team ripped out an eight-foot-tall ceiling in the lobby and discovered the original 21-foot ceiling above, complete with windows looking out on the street. Work on the windows led to the additional discovery of a three-foot-wide hallway on the second floor, and the removal of the walls in that hallway revealed an old staircase that hadn’t been seen in 90 years. Behind the drywall and wood framing that PMA removed with expert precision, cast-iron trimming and molding sat preserved. The whole upper level turned out to be an old dance hall that had been completely buried. And, after tearing up seats and doing a little research, PMA realized that the floor below used to be a vaudeville theater. One thing kept leading to another, and the deeper Kaufman got into the surgical demolition, the more apparent it became that a gut rehab was out of the ques-

The main theater seats up to

PMA worked to restore the building to its early 20th-century grandeur, carefully retaining and rehabbing its original elements while upgrading only the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems.


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A MESSAGE FROM HVAC UNLIMITED, INC. Founded by John Cunningham, HVAC Unlimited, Inc. is class A-licensed, -bonded, and -insured, holding a Mechanical Master License in the state of Virginia and a class A Contractors License. John’s 20 years of experience and high expectations are relayed to the customer by way of superior service.

Photos: (top and opposite) Anthony Tribby


REVISION The renovation team removed the eight-foot ceilings in the front lobby, revealing the original 21-foot ceilings and returning the front windows to operable condition.

tion. His company began to interview theater operators of every type to find somebody who could legitimately run a live venue, and after countless meetings, it chose an applicant. PMA upgraded the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems but otherwise stuck simply to uncovering and rehabbing the building’s original elements. The one detail that doesn’t match up is the new front marquee, which was instead designed to resemble one from the 1930s, when marquees first began to appear. The revamped Old Town Theater officially opened in January 2013—with a full calendar of live acts and plenty of enthusiasm from local citizens. “This strong pledge of support from the entire community has helped to breathe new life into this old building,” Kaufman said in a July 9, 2012, OldTownAlexandria Patch article. The project has taught him that historical spaces don’t always need new functions; sometimes they just need a facelift.

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APR | MAY | JUN 2014 9/13/13 3:13 PM



Reset In Stone Helzberg Diamonds’ Parke Wellman is recasting the popular jewelry retailer as an even more eyepopping, consumer-friendly brand TEXT BY CHRISTOPHER JAMES PALAFOX PHOTOS BY ALISTAIR TUTTON

ENGAGEMENT RINGS, WEDDING RINGS, PENDANTS, BRACELETS —they’re small in size, yet they speak volumes as symbols of love and affection. But, how much does the average person really know about gems and precious metals? Shopping for such items can be intimidating, and what they represent—relationships and, oftentimes, marriage—is somewhat difficult to confront, so Helzberg Diamonds, the nationwide jeweler, has done everything in its power to break down the barriers between its products and consumers, including a new, company-wide redesign that emphasizes the brand’s offerings better than ever before. It was CEO Beryl Raff who initiated the redesign, starting when she took over Helzberg in 2009 and bringing in a consultant named Parke Wellman, whom she’d worked with previously at Zale Corporation. Then, quickly recognizing the benefit of having a permanent leader to oversee the overhaul, Raff invit- In the year ed Wellman to join Helzberg as divisional vice president of store environment. Helzberg became Raff encouraged the first nationwide the removal of all jeweler to qualify sacred cows, and for membership the shift in culture in the American allowed Wellman Gem Society to execute a vision



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Helzberg’s flagship store at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO, was one of the first locations where Wellman implemented the company’s redesign, bringing recognizable brand elements to the forefront.

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“The new lighting elements send the implicit message that our diamonds are of superior quality.” Parke Wellman Divisional VP of Store Environment

Lighting is a major focus in Wellman’s work for Helzberg. As she describes it, proper lighting demonstrates “the magic of what occurs when light passes through quality gemstones with a quality cut.”


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for Helzberg from the ground up—even the infrastructure of her construction and development team changed, becoming more comprehensive. “[Now], my team is responsible for every visible or tangible item in the store, with the exception of the actual merchandise and the marketing,” she says Wellman was uniquely suited for the challenges of Helzberg’s new look. Growing up, she was surrounded by art, design, and, most importantly, retail branding strategies. Her father, Richard Roeder, a pioneer in store design in Houston, blended aesthetics and architecture with merchandising principles, and his ideas had a profound impact on Wellman’s professional development, teaching her the importance and the nuances of syncing merchant motivations with client needs. After graduating from the University of Texas–Austin with a degree in architecture, Wellman took her love of art and design and applied it at a series of retail-design firms, working on everything from department stores to boutiques. In 2010, Wellman led the launch of Helzberg’s redesign at multiple locations, including the company’s flagship store in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. The new redesign template, referred to as the Beryl Prototype, brought recognizable brand elements to the fore.

One crucial element Helzberg has that Wellman sought to improve was lighting. In the past, it was me r e ly f u nc t iona l and not seen as a key locations player in the selling nationwide of merchandise, but Wellman understood what was missing. “We needed to demonstrate the magic of what occurs when light passes through a quality gemstone with a quality cut,” she says. “The new lighting elements send the implicit message that our diamonds are of superior quality.” In conjunction with this, Helzberg’s redesign team looked for new avenues of consumer engagement, including the implementation of additional customer touch points in the brand’s relatively small footprints. A collaboration with the Helzberg e-commerce team, the effort included introducing web and technology components to create easier access points. Helzberg is also exploring opportunities with cell phones and tablets so that customers can interact with the jeweler’s products beyond its brick-and-mortar stores. An example is Proposal Pro, an award-winning mobile app introduced in 2012 and billed as the “complete guide to popping the question.”


Providing Solutions to the World’s Leading Brands fabric wrapped displays countertop displays freestanding fixtures metal and wood fixtures perimeter fixtures custom molding

Whether in a Helzberg store with a small footprint, such as the Citadel Outlets location in LA (top), or a large footprint, such as the Kansas City flagship store (bottom), the company’s new design scheme helps encourage consumer engagement through additional customer touch points.

Toll Free 888.888.5868

Helzberg Diamonds Flagship Store - Kansas City, MO Photos by Alistair Tutton Photography

It helps customers select the perfect ring, gives advice on how to propose, and even offers tips on winning the blessing of parents. While innovation is a big part of Helzberg’s growth, it also owes its continued success to its customer-service focus and its reputation for offering exceptional value, exclusive designs, and timeless jewelry. All that, along with a company-wide American Gem Society certification, sets the jeweler apart from its competitors. Most rewarding to Wellman’s team is the proof that its efforts are paying off: customers have responded positively to the completed store redesigns, and more are now in the works. And as they go into development, Helzberg already has its sights set on the next generation of stores—and the continuing challenges of merging the traditional shopping experience with a virtual one. A MESSAGE FROM PACIFIC NORTHERN INC. Pacific Northern Inc.—Providing solutions to the world’s leading brands for more than 25 years. Parke Wellman, DVP of store environment with Helzberg Diamonds, her team, and Pacific Northern collaborate on the design and execution of unique brand displays. Pacific Northern provides effective aesthetic solutions to each brand’s visual-merchandising needs.

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The entirety of The 606 will run above Chicago’s city streets to allow uninterrupted exploration by foot and by bike.

THE 606

On the Northwest side of Chicago, a thriving group of neighborhoods are connected by an unused, elevated railroad that has been the subject of community debate for more than a decade. A plan is finally in place, and construction has began to transform the nearly three-mile rail line into the Bloomingdale Trail. When complete (ideally in fall 2014), the trail will connect five neighborhood parks, and the additions of an observatory, a skate park, art installations, educational programming, and other amenities will complete the scope of the project. Named The 606, a reference to Chicago’s zip-code prefix, the entire park-and-trail system will be set above the city streets and will serve as a new way to explore Chicago, whether biking, running, or strolling. See more of this feature online and in our iPad edition.


JAN | FEB | MAR 2014

Photos: provided courtesy of The Trust for Public Land

Urban planning, green space, and the arts come together in this Chicago civic project, designed by Frances Whitehead, Collins Engineers, and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates


American Builders Quarterly #53  

April/May/June 2014, #53. @Work. Your peers, today's projects, through every phase.

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