Issuu on Google+

SPECIAL REPORT 2014

S E I Z I N G

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

O P P O R T U N I T Y

BFL

C O N S T R U C T I O N D I V E R S I F I E S

C E L E B R A T I N G

www.BizTucson.com

&

T H R I V E S

40

Y E A R S

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 153


154 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 155


156 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 157


158 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 159


BizMILESTONE

160 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


40

BFL Construction

40

YEAR

Commitment to Excellence By Sheryl Kornman Garry Brav is a Tucson entrepreneur who built his business life here from the ground up – after deciding on a whim to enroll at the University of Arizona. He started with a bar he built on Fourth Avenue in the early ’70s, then moved into construction. His success over the past 40 years is tied to his ability to adapt and diversify to address fluctuations in the economy and the needs of the community. He’s expanded from BFL Construction into a wide-ranging “family of companies” today. His construction company has not only built homes, movie theaters and schools, but also the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s Hospital, the headquarwww.BizTucson.comters of bioscience technology

company Ventana Medical Systems in Oro Valley and hundreds of other commercial structures in Southern Arizona Along the way, Brav developed deep relationships with subcontractors, vendors, craftspeople, investors and others who share his view that integrity, dependability, communication, collaboration and a commitment to excellence are the building blocks of long-lasting success. His intellect, passion for business, tenacity and the patience to ride the economic waves over the years helped him move from bar owner to builder, developer, tech industry guru and philanthropist. And he sees no point in stopping now. “What would I do all day?” continued on page 163 > >>>> > BizTucson 161 Winter 2014


BizMILESTONE

His Father’s Legacy Garry Brav surrounds himself with inspiration – including vibrant art by his father, Milton Brav. He keeps a book in his office that contains some 300 images of his father’s artwork – abstract paintings in bright primary hues and geometric paper sculptures. The guiding hand on the wall is a plaster cast of his father’s hand. Garry started working in his father’s food manufacturing company at age 5. “I got to see every aspect of his business – but especially how to treat people with respect and how to negotiate.” His dad sold the business while Brav was in college and devoted his time to art. Brav then pursued his own business ventures in Tucson after graduating from the University of Arizona.

Garry Brav

162 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

Founder, BFL Construction


40

My relationships are based on performance. I can always look people in the eye and know I took care of them.

– Garry Brav Founder, BFL Construction

Photos: BalfourWalker.com

continued from page 161 To Succeed – Diversify Today Brav is also a venture capitalist, investing in and building a luxury rental housing product that offers a quality home with granite countertops, 10-foot ceilings and private yards, along with safety and privacy within gated communities. “I try to surround myself with people who are smarter and more competent in their discipline than I am,” he said. He hires the smartest people he can find who will adhere to the highest industry standards. They are the keys to his success. Many of his managers have remained with him for more than 30 years and the collective employees have more than 240 years of experience at BFL. Working at BFL requires top employee performance and skill. Those who don’t adhere to Brav’s standard of excellence will find themselves moving on. “We want to be the most professional construction company in Arizona. That’s the level of performance that I require and I want to deliver. That’s why clients like us. We do what we say we are going to do. The success of the business depends on this. If you don’t perform – we don’t need you.” Brav moved from custom homes to tenant improvements in new and existing commercial structures (mostly continued on page 165 >>> www.BizTucson.com

Pima Air and Space Museum Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 163


BizMILESTONE

BFL Construction Office

1997

2001

Hon Dah Resort Casino and Conference Center

Rancho Sahuarita Clubhouse and Water Park

Pinetop, AZ

Sahuarita, AZ

Square footage: 119,169

Square footage: 15,000

164 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

2001

2004

2006

2007

Ventana Medical Systems

Integrated Biomolecule Corporation

Finisterra Luxury Apartment Homes

Ventana Medical Systems

Oro Valley, AZ

Oro Valley, AZ

Tucson, AZ

Oro Valley, AZ

Phase I Square footage: 182,400

Square footage: 21,120

Square footage: 327,050

Phase II Square footage: 142,000


40

continued from page 163 high rises), on to commercial, then into planned communities. Along the way he redesigned the construction contractor’s role. He likes to smooth the process and control costs by getting involved at the start of a project rather than getting called in when it’s time to break ground. His ability to collaborate across specialties has rewarded him with expanded business opportunities and a work force dedicated to getting it right the first time.

As a developer of single-family homes, he is working with second-generation homebuilder David Williamson, whose oilman father created Fairfield Homes. Williamson is a visionary, who is “good at lot design,” Brav said. “I recognize it when I see it. It doesn’t just come to me without working at it – but David just sees it.” Williamson looks at large parcels of land and has the ability to maximize the attractiveness of each lot as he lays out the home sites. Brav

and Williamson’s synergy is an important key to their business growth. Early On-the-Job Training Brav got his own start in business as a child in Chicago, when this son of Austrian immigrants accompanied his father to work during summers, starting when he was just 5 years old. “I followed Dad around all day and listened to how he handled conversacontinued on page 166 >>>

2007

2008

Sierra Vista Regional Health Center

Carondelet Neurological Institute and Women’s Care Tucson, AZ

704 parking spaces

Sierra Vista, AZ Square footage: 105,000

www.BizTucson.com

Square footage: 166,916

2008

2009

2010

2013

Northwest Hospital Parking Structure

Pima Air and Space Museum

El Rio Community Health Center

Joint Technical Education District

Tucson, AZ

Square footage: 26, 574

Tucson, AZ Square footage: 28,000

Tucson, AZ

Tucson, AZ

Square footage: 7,400

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 165

Photos: BalfourWalker.com

Front row from the left: Erin Stock, Carrie McClafferty, Julie Culver, Lourdes Sykes, Bernice Welch, Ashley Benjamin, JoAnne Klemmer, Leslie Schaefer, Elaine Rosen, Kim MacPhee, Danielle Seiwell – Middle row from the left: Phil Cohen, Tom Smallhouse, Max Mejia, Dan Levitt, Jr., Jennifer Mohs, Jimmy McIntyre, Luis Mendoza, Jeff Freeman, Bill Reynolds, Garry Brav – Back row from the left: Delbert Dittmer, Chris Flint, Steve Richardson, Wayne Anderson, David Williamson, Brad Pavelich, Ken Sand, Dave Winsor – Not pictured: Ken Brandstatt, Gene Parkinson, Ron Kuipers, Robert Dunlop


Photo: BalfourWalker.com

I developed my own business acumen listening to my dad. I got to see how he handled every aspect of his business.

– Garry Brav Founder, BFL Construction

Meet the BFL Team Delbert D. Dittmer, Owner & VP

continued from page 165

Raised in Iowa, Delbert D. Dittmer attended college for drafting, construction principles and estimating. He operated his own successful construction business for 13 years until the mid ’80s when an economic downturn compelled him to seek work outside the Midwest. He visited several Sun Belt states looking for a new start. He found that new start at BFL Construction in Tucson. That was 27 years ago. Through the years he moved from superintendent to project manager. Today he is a senior VP and owner. Dittmer assigns projects to the company’s project manager/estimators and takes part in the conceptual estimating of the cost of a project. Because BFL gets involved early in the process, often in the design stage, preliminary cost estimates can be made without a full set of plans. “We get in at the very beginning and stay to the end. We give pricing options and are part of the decision-making process with the client.” BFL produces feasibility studies for different types of construction and product – offering suggestions that will work with various design elements to build a long-lasting product. “We guarantee a maximum price,” Dittmer said. “The price does not change unless there is a change to the scope of the project. All projects are completed on time and on budget.” BFL is very selective in its choice of subcontractors. “Our prequalification process allows us to select the subcontractor that is best qualified for each type of product.” Dittmer said BFL, now marking 40 years in business, has the experience and leadership to provide a turnkey project. It also works with a client’s architects and engineers to put together a team to execute a project, while the business owner focuses on running his or her business. “We help in the decision-making process, but the decision is made by the team. They make the best decisions,” Dittmer said. “The BFL company slogan is ‘Expect Integrity.’ Maintaining honesty and integrity on every project is a key element to building future business relationships.”

Biz 166 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

tions. I developed my own business acumen listening to my dad. I got to see how he handled every aspect of his business – but especially how to treat people with respect and how to negotiate.” Brav’s father started early too – working at age 12 in a Stop & Shop grocery for 25 cents an hour. When he served in the Navy during WWII, the store kept him on the payroll throughout his military service. After the war, he opened a Stop & Shop in Indianapolis. A couple of years later he decided to start his own business. In his 30s, the elder Brav began to experiment with the application of new packaging technology for food manufacturing. Brav said his father invented the frozen French fry and frozen individual appetizers – cheeses on a cracker or pastry bed – and began manufacturing cheese products with machinery he bought in Switzerland. It was novel then to buy a frozen food and heat it in the oven. The factory ran two shifts processing cheese, forming them into triangles wrapped with foil. Later he had a Styrofoam mold made to hold ceramic crocks of cheese, which became a big seller at Christmas time. Then Brav’s father began to manufacture private-label foods for Reese, Viking, S.S. Pierce, Richelieu Foods, Hickory Farms and others. It was a new concept at the time. “I worked in the factory,” Brav said, continued on page 168 >>>


BizMILESTONE Code of the West Garry Brav holds himself and others to the highest standards – and has for 40 years. He cultivates lasting relationships, pursues an unwavering commitment to excellence and explores new ventures with zeal. He frequently quotes these 10 guiding principles from The Code of the West: 1. Live each day with courage 2. Take pride in your work 3. Always finish what you start 4. Do what has to be done 5. Be tough, but fair 6. When you make a promise, keep it 7. Ride for the brand 8 Talk less and say more 9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale 10. Know where to draw the line

Mining Equipment Maintenance Facility

Photos: BalfourWalker.com

Source: “Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West” by James P. Owen.

www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 167


continued from page 166

Photo: BalfourWalker.com

“starting in the label room, straightening stacks and stacks of labels” that would be fed into automatic labeling machinery.

Meet the BFL Team Lourdes Sykes, Chief Information Officer Lourdes Sykes started at BFL Construction as an accountant. After two years, she moved to Seattle and trained in information technology. While in Seattle, she worked her way into an IT director position at a commercial real estate company. Five years later, Lourdes returned to Tucson as the IT manager for BFL. Recently she was promoted to chief information officer. Her work in systems analysis is complex and deadline driven – which is what she loves about the new position. As BFL President Garry Brav diversifies his business interests, the IT department is a key player in mastering the use and flow of information to execute new projects. When sister company Preferred Apartment Builders made plans to build the AVILLA brand – luxury rental homes in gated neighborhoods – Sykes got a new set of challenges. The design-implement phase required substantial testing to meet the precise requirements of the product. “It was a very different set up,” she said. “We had to analyze how to do it – and do it right the first time. We strive to constantly improve systems to create efficiency.” Sykes and her team study the information needs and business processes of a project, taking on a leadership role to develop better ways of integrating technology with business on that project. She’s enjoyed her move into management. “I love interacting with people and I have a passion for numbers. I interact with every person in the office. We are proactive in design and always look to see what’s next. I get out of my comfort zone – which I enjoy. These are the challenges I like. Technology and business practices will always be advancing and you have to keep up.” When there is an IT issue, Sykes and her team move quickly to help employees and subcontractors overcome obstacles. Systems are protected and security is the top priority. “We are proactive and put procedures in place to avoid problems.” The company cross-trains and has redundancies in place. “We have a Plan B,” she said. “Garry has a direction and vision for his company. He understands and supports new ideas,” Sykes said. “He is really into technology and efficiency. He sees the value of what I present to him.” While Brav embraces change and the use of technology, Sykes understands that his real focus is accurate up-to-date data – always.

Biz 168 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

Quality Control from Start to Finish In the factory were giant kettles, up to 1,000 gallons each, which were used to prepare the different flavors of cheese – caraway, port, cheddar and Swiss and he learned quality control as he saw the equipment “perfectly cleaned overnight” by steam cleaning crews dressed in protective gear. It was very organized. “I saw levels of supervision (in place) to make sure everything was perfectly clean” for the next day’s production, Brav said. He also traveled to New York and New Jersey with his father to buy the specialized manufacturing equipment for the factory. “This was very complex and exacting equipment specifically designed for Dad. It enabled the processed cheese to be made in a variety of shapes, then move to packaging and labeling. It’s the kind of equipment you see in food factories of today and on ‘How It’s Made’ on the Science Channel.” Garry worked every aspect of the business, including operating forklifts and working the loading docks to get product into the distribution chain. The business grew and he fully expected to become part of the company. He was poised to take on the big companies like Kraft Foods after college. Then – just as he was nearing graduation – his dad sold the company to the Pet Milk Group. Off to Arizona Brav was educated at a private school: The Latin School of Chicago, but he chose not to attend an Ivy League college. That decision shaped his future. While working at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo the summer after graduating from high school, he met a fellow zoo worker, a University of Arizona junior. “I was always into cowboys growing up,” Brav said. “Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Gunsmoke. So just three days becontinued on page 170 >>> www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 169


Photo: BalfourWalker.com

continued from page 168

Meet the BFL Team Ken Sand, Project Manager & Estimator BFL Construction’s Ken Sand is proud that at BFL “we do it all – we estimate, design and build.” Sand, a project manager and estimator, has been with the company 23 years. Because the estimator is also the project manager at BFL, responsibility for each project doesn’t end until it is completed to a client’s satisfaction. “We work on estimating, value engineering and product selection,” Sand said. “When you’re involved in predesign and preconstruction as project manager and communicate often with site superintendents and subcontractors, you can make sure the client’s expectations are met.” Communication throughout the process is always polite and the project manager remains available to the client after completion to manage any warranty or other issues that may arise, he said. “It’s an added personal touch we offer our clients. Continuity is important – it enhances the experience.” “During conceptual estimating, BFL’s project estimators will include items that will be needed on the project whether or not they are on the drawings at that point,” he said. “We make sure it is included so the cost and scope of the project can be properly assessed.” Sand’s specialty is health and medical facilities. He managed BFL’s work on health clinics for El Rio Community Health Center. The six new facilities were built from the ground up. Two are LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. He also managed BFL’s work on 12 COPE behavioral health facilities in Tucson and seven behavioral health facilities for SouthEastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services in Cochise, Santa Cruz, Graham and Greenlee Counties. He also supervised construction of Pantano Behavioral Health’s adolescent outpatient clinic, Cottonwood de Tucson’s administration building and Department of Economic Security offices, all in Tucson. He also guided BFL’s work on several remodels of surgical suites at the University of Arizona Medical Center. Sand began his career working with his father and uncle in the family construction business in Denver. He started as a young teen during the summers. His father brought him to job sites and he learned the business by listening, watching and doing. “When you grow up in the business, it’s a different type of apprenticeship,” Sand said. Today “technology has changed how we do business,” Sand said. Drawings are digitized and the scope of work – how much concrete you need, the quantity of materials, the cost of materials – is calculated with precision. “We do it on the computer now. We assign a cost based on our experience with that type of product.” It adds a standard “in how you approach the complexity of an estimate. It’s easier this way for a client to see what you are providing.”

Biz 170 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

fore the start of fall semester 1964, he decided he wanted to attend the UA in Tucson. The headmaster at The Latin School made a call to the UA admissions director and Brav was on a plane to Arizona. His father agreed to pay for tuition and books and send him $170 a month, “which was a lot of money then.” When he stepped off the plane and saw blue sky, he fell in love with Arizona. There were no dorm rooms available by then, so he went to the Student Union to look for a roommate to get an apartment. That’s how he met developer Ron Janoff, who had built the Carousel Apartments where he rented and the two became lifelong friends. Brav was just 17. He joined a fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, made friends easily and was its social chairman in his sophomore year. To help the boys get dates, Garry the entrepreneur started a college newspaper that published the pay phone numbers on each floor of the girls’ dorms. He and his friends regularly enjoyed a $2.95 steak at Pack-Em Inn Steakhouse, now closed. While he worked on a bachelor’s degree in business administration and thought about where to go from there, Brav took a lot of psychology classes. They helped him better understand himself, he said, and he earned extra money working part-time downtown at Myerson’s and at Franklin’s selling men’s clothes. In his senior year, he bought a 1955 Mercury for $45. He had saved $5,000 over four years, so after graduation in 1968, he bummed around the country in his Mercury visiting college friends. He then came back to Tucson and signed up as an extra in the cast of the now-classic “Catch-22,” shot in San Carlos, Sonora. He met director Mike Nichols and befriended actors Art Garfunkel, Bob Balaban, Alan Arkin, Paula Prentiss, Martin Sheen and Buck Henry, who wrote the screenplay. The back of his head is onscreen for a moment in the final cut, as the chauffer of Orson Welles’ character. That’s where he met Balfour Walker, a Tucson commercial photographer, and began a lifelong friendship with him continued on page 172 >>> www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 171


Photo: BalfourWalker.com

Meet the BFL Team JoAnne Klemmer, Controller JoAnne Klemmer, controller for BFL Construction, was business manager at a nonprofit osteopathic foundation before she came to Garry Brav’s company with a degree in accounting from California State University, Fullerton. Klemmer and her staff produce financial statements, depreciation schedules, audit preparation and many other reports for Brav and his more than 30 business entities. “It is not a boiler-plate type operation,” she said. As Brav takes on business partners for various endeavors, “we work with his partners and their desires and needs.” On Alta Vista Communities, one of the entities building the AVILLA luxury rental home brand, she prepared numerous financial reports before and after properties were built out, including those required as construction was completed. “The variety makes it more interesting. It’s enjoyable to put together the entire account from start to finish.” Klemmer said her work requires creativity and “that satisfies that part of me.” As Brav began to form new sister companies, Klemmer said she asked him to stop after the sixth. “Did he listen to me? No,” she said. Brav has been a “great mentor to me about the business world. He’s certainly sponsored a team effort” among the staff. Brav is known for his longstanding open-door policy. Anyone can talk with the boss. Logistically, when working with so many entities, it is important “to strive for as much perfection as we can get,” Klemmer said. That requires utilizing new systems and adapting others to BFL’s changing needs. Her staff must provide calculations across all entities – determining soft costs, for instance, to give more control over the execution of development of the various properties. Klemmer said Lourdes Skyes, the company’s chief information officer, has been “very clever in modifying the various tools that can accommodate any of the entities. We feel confident we can present our financials to any owner,” she said. “It goes to our credibility, in the end.” Accounting is the hub of the company, she said, providing data to contractors, estimators, production supervisors and the owners. She has enjoyed seeing the company grow over the 15 years she’s been with BFL. “It’s great to see all these buildings completed.”

Biz

172 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

continued from page 170 and BMW motorcycles. Just a few years ago that they took their dirt bikes, BMW F 650 GSs, 2,300 miles down Baja and back. They also have BMW R 1200 GSs and continue to ride both bikes when they can. Fourth Avenue Beer & Burgers Back in Tucson and with a $5,000 loan from a college girlfriend’s father and a partner, he opened a bar-restaurant on Fourth Avenue in a small storefront and sold quality hamburgers and 10 kegs of beer a day, seven days a week, for 18 months. One of his selling points – the beer was a reliable 34 degrees. Today the site is the bar IBT. Brav found he was a good manager, but didn’t like the bar business. He sold it for $60,000. He bought the building for $50,000 after opening the bar – and sold it for $75,000. What next? “There weren’t too many choices in 1973 – Hughes Tools, the Post Office, the UA, Circle K or sell real estate,” Brav said. Rather than sell real estate, he decided to build it. He bought a lot on Wilshire Drive near Broadway and Craycroft for $7,000 and with a $35,000 loan from Southern Arizona Bank and a partner, built a house – then sat on it for a year when it didn’t sell. He got $47,000 for it when it did. From Homes to High Rises Brav built custom homes through the ’70s and - ahead of his time - introduced solar-powered homes to Tucson with solar power technology from Israel and Popular Mechanics magazine. People were curious to see the homes, he said, but he only sold four. Lesson learned? “Pioneering doesn’t always pay off.” He moved on to tenant improvements in high rises – the Home Federal Tower – after knocking on doors there for over a year looking for work. He knew he wanted longer lasting relationships with clients - built on performance. That would help him expand his portfolio. “We put in a door for $147. It was a two-day job. Then they hired us to continued on page 174 >>> www.BizTucson.com


BizMILESTONE

www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 173


BizMILESTONE continued from page 172 do another job. Six months later they wanted me to open an office there. I was working on a desk made from a door laid on cinderblocks and a file cabinet in the corner of my bedroom.” The space he chose in the building was 6 feet by 7 and cost him $42 a month. “It was perfect,” he said. He bought a desk for $70 at Super City and moved in his adding machine and files. “I was really in business now.” He made tenant improvements to the Home Federal Building at 32 North Stone Ave. and to Arizona Bank Plaza at 33 North Stone. As it was just being finished he was introduced to a New Yorker whose company was going to get the contract for all of the tenant improvements from Cushman and Wakefield for the new building. “We hit it off. I took him to dinner at Palomino. We shook hands and formed a new company – BFL. The company went from $289,000 in revenue to $2.5 million in the first year. In 1984, Brav

bought out his partner. Building for Bioscience, Education & Healthcare Brav soon branched out into highly specialized areas – bioscience, education and healthcare. Ventana Medical Systems, which develops and produces human pathology diagnostic tools, chose BFL to build its world-class research facility in Oro Valley in 2000. Mara G. Aspinall, CEO and President of Ventana, said BFL also “successfully handled two strategic expansion projects to accommodate our global market growth.” She added, “Nestled close to the base of the magnificent Santa Catalinas, the campus provides an inspiring, welldesigned and constructed workplace for our 1,000-plus employees – and a treat for community members who visit for our cancer educational events or to enjoy the Ventana Art Gallery.” With BFL’s sister companies, Brav is growing again, anticipating the needs of investors and communities for differ-

ent types of construction. He is building high-end rental homes in Tucson and Phoenix with lavish interiors for an emerging class of renters, single-family homes near Vail, as well as affordable housing for veterans and people who are physically or developmentally challenged. That construction is subsidized by government funding. The residents will be supported by local social and behavioral health services. After 40 years Brav still enjoys watching a vision become reality and is eager to embrace the next opportunity. Over four decades his businesses grew to $60 million annually, shrank and bounced back to $60 million. “We’re set to come roaring back as the market changes, and go to the next level,” he said. What is most important to him is BFL’s good reputation. “It’s important to perform,” he said. “My relationships are based on performance. I can always look people in the eye and know I took care of them.”

Biz

174 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


40

www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 175


BizMILESTONE

VENTANA MEDICAL SYSTEMS

176 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

Photos: BalfourWalker.com & courtesy www.BizTucson.com BFL Construction


BFL CONSTRUCTION

40

Looking back, the construction of the Ventana Medical Systems campus was a defining moment in the history of our company. Garry Brav, founder of BFL Construction, told BizTucson in the Fall 2012 edition

www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 177


BizMILESTONE

1

2

HEALTHCARE 5

178 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

Photos: BalfourWalker.com & courtesy www.BizTucson.com BFL Construction


BFL CONSTRUCTION

3

40

4

1. El Rio-El Pueblo Clinic 2. Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital 3. Surgical Suite at SVRHC 4. Sierra Vista Regional Health Center 5. Carondelet St. Joseph’s Neurological Institute and Women’s Pavilion

www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 179


BizMILESTONE

1

2

INDUSTRIAL

EDUCATION

COMMERCIAL

3

GOVERNMENT

PLACES OF WORSHIP

4

180 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

Photos: BalfourWalker.com & courtesy www.BizTucson.com BFL Construction


BFL CONSTRUCTION

40

5

5

5

1. Integrated Biomolecule Corporation 2. SEABHS-South Eastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services-Sierra Vista 3. Sentinel Peak High School 4. Joint Technical Education District 5. City of Sierra Vista Fire Station 6. Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

6

www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 181


BizMILESTONE

1

1

RESORT & RECREATION PARKING STRUCTURES 2

2 182 BizTucson

2 <<<

Winter 2014

Photos: BalfourWalker.com & courtesy www.BizTucson.com BFL Construction


BFL CONSTRUCTION

40

3

1. Hon Dah Resort and Casino 2. Rancho Sahuarita Resort 3. St. Josephâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital 4. Northwest Medical Center

4

4

www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 183


BizMILESTONE

1

1

1

TENANT IMPROVEMENTS Corporations ADP Advantage Health Network Benjamin Supply Brooks Fiber CARF Delta Airlines Estes Corporation GRE Sprint Hewlett Packard IBM Mountain Bell Telephone Osten Kimberly Quality Care Partners Health Care Paychex Plaza Club Research Corporation Rincon Research TWA Xerox

184 BizTucson

<<<

1 Over the past 40 years BFL Construction has completed hundreds of major tenant improvement projects including those highlighted here.

Certified Public Accountants ABP Arthur Young Arthur Anderson Coopers Lybrand Peat Marwick & Mitchell Piper Jaffray Price Waterhouse Banking Institutions Arizona Bank Arizona Commerce Bank Banco International BVAA Compass Citibank Commerce Bank First Federal Savings Home Federal Savings Northern Trust

Winter 2014

Financial Services Abacus Coldwell Banker Carron & Black Colonial Mortgage Crown Life Davis Mortgage Directors Mortgage Dun and Bradstreet Equitrust Resources First Mortgage First Union Mortgage GMAC Corporation Guardian Financial Planning H.S. Pickrell John Hancock Insurance Midland Mutual Mutual Benefits National Life of Vermont New York Life North American Mortgage Northwestern Mutual Life Norwest Financial

Pacific Mutual Prudential Advantage Prudential Insurance Southwestern Life Insurance Standard Charter Mortgage Sunway Assets United Bank Val-Equity VNB Mortgage Corp. Waterfall Economidis Waterfield Mortgage Nonprofits CODAC Community Partners of Southern Arizona COPE Behavioral Health Services El Rio La Frontera SouthEastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services Tucson Urban League

Photos: BalfourWalker.com & courtesy www.BizTucson.com BFL Construction


BFL CONSTRUCTION

2

40

3

4

5

1. 101 N. Wilmot Rd. 2. 33 N. Stone Ave. 3. Williams Centre 4. 333 & 335 N. Wilmot Rd. 5. Mary Louise Robins Elementary School

Realty Firms Bankers Properties Burke Hanson Corridor Executive Title Cushman Wakefield Del Webb Offices Grubb and Ellis ILIFF Thorn JMB Properties Minnesota Title Stewart Title Texas Gulf Western The Mack Company Title Guarantee U.S. Life Title Legal Firms Barton Duncan Bilby and Shoenhair Eppler Guerin & Turner Healy & Beal Hirsh Jerry Sonenblick www.BizTucson.com

Jurkowitz & Kahn Kimble Gothreau Kingston Associates Linden Chappa Fields Malloy, Jones, & Donahue Morton Saull Schorr Eldridge & Bangs Slutes Sakricon & Rogers Snell & Wilmer Streich Lang Winston & Strawn Stock Brokerages A.G. Edwards Charles Schwab Dean Witter Dunn Edwards E.F. Hutton Paine Webber Prudential Bache Prudential Securities Scottsdale Securities Shearson Lehman Hutton

Call Centers AT&T Ageis Convergys Milliken & Michaels United Physicians United Plus Healthcare Carondelet Health Network – St. Joseph’s Hospital – St. Mary’s Hospital Community Health Systems Hanger Northwest Medical Center Oro Valley Medical Center Pima Heart Hospital Tucson Medical Center The University of Arizona Health Network

Miscellaneous Firms American Board of Radiology Arizona Contract Physicians Arizona Kidney Disease & Hypertension Centers BHP Billiton C-4 Marketing CH4M-Hill Architectural Goodmans Hearing Innovations HMW Munoz & Associates Interglobal Joint Technical Education District Kimberly Services Muscular Dystrophy Association Paul Harris Travel Sam Levitz The Olsen Corporation Transworld Systems Tucson Access Center Ventana Medical Systems

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 185


186 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 187


188 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


Photo: BalfourWalker.com

BizCONSTRUCTION

From left to right –

Delbert D. Dittmer Owner & VP, BFL Construction Garry Brav Founder, BFL Construction Dave Winsor VP, BFL Construction

Streamlined Building Process By Sheryl Kornman Dave Winsor worked in home construction for 28 years before he joined BFL Construction in 2008. Though he’d worked his way up to VP of two major homebuilders, after the recession hit and housing starts fell, he was laid off. A few days later, he was on the job for BFL as a construction manager in Green Valley for Fairfield Homes. Today he is VP for BFL. A sister company – Preferred Apartment Builders – is building single-family luxury rental homes in gated neighborhoods at 11 locations in Southern Arizona. The work requires precise production construction scheduling, with eight housing starts a week. Winsor said the concept is well designed and engineered to make construction move easily from start to finish. He hires the same subcontractors site

to site, guaranteeing work flow for PAB and ongoing employment for the subcontractors. PAB is completing each of the homes in about two months. Because all housing units are located at the same parcel, Winsor is able to obtain all the housing permits at once. “By the time the first 40 homes are built, we have all the rest of the units in the ground,” Winsor said. The schedule allows three superintendents using Smart Phones and IPads to monitor the construction of 184 units at once. “It’s very efficient,” he said. “Water and sewer for the entire site come online at once. Electrical is phased in as homes are completed. It’s not a classic commercial or residential product. It’s a hybrid.” Project managers are also the project estimators and they continued on page 190 >>>

www.BizTucson.com

> > > BizTucson 189 Winter Winter 2014 2014


BizCONSTRUCTION continued from page 189 are on the job from the start, helping to manage costs from the beginning. Throughout a project, costs are carefully controlled. Like Garry Brav, president of BFL Construction, Winsor concentrates on every detail. “A fifty dollar extra cost per home can be the difference between success and failure when you multiply it by 184 homes.” The rental homes are marketed to the consumer as AVILLA in one-, twoand three-bedroom floor plans. The countertops throughout are granite and flooring is plank vinyl. Energy-efficient kitchen appliances are stainless steel and washers and dryers have a high efficiency rating. Clerestory windows brighten each room with natural light. The rental neighborhoods are professionally managed. The houses are leased as soon as they are completed. Winsor, recently named a VP for BFL, completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Arizona in 1977 and has worked in the construction business ever since. He was with Richmond American for 18 years and D.R. Horton for six. He

190 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

We have the capacity to do 500 houses in Tucson and 500 in Phoenix next year. Dave Winsor, VP BFL Construction

was a VP for each company, supervising construction on thousands of homes. Winsor said he oversaw construction of a thousand homes a year for both of the home builders, growing both companies from 300 units per year to more than 1,000 units annually. When he arrived at PAB, “we were at zero and we are now near the top in

number of permits pulled per year in Pima County. “We have the capacity to do 500 houses in Tucson and 500 in Phoenix next year,” Winsor said. “Not only have we given struggling subcontractors work, but we have given them a steady flow of work. It puts them in a situation where they can hire and plan. It’s been very gratifying. I’ve been very fortunate to work for larger builders all my life and now I have the latitude to create a business environment where we don’t back charge,” Winsor said. “If a subcontractor accidently breaks a window, we pay for it,” he said. “We’ve also created a model in which the success in the occupancy rate compared with three-story walkups is appealing to the lending institutions.” Winsor said investors were able to locate properties and commit to this luxuryhome neighborhood concept early on. “I’m just lucky to be able to execute it,” he said. “I’ve always had the most satisfaction in providing a livable space at a cost per square foot that people can afford. And I’ve always been gratified to come up with a good cost per square foot.”

Biz

www.BizTucson.com


40

www.BizTucson.com

> > > BizTucson 191 Winter Winter 2014 2014


192 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


Photo: BalfourWalker.com

BizCOMMUNITY

Julie Culver President Partners for Housing Solutions

Affordable Housing Solutions By Sheryl Kornman Affordable housing expert Julie Culver moved from the public sector into the private to establish Partners for Housing Solutions, a new company that creates business opportunities for investors and property owners – and shelter for low-income families, developmentally or physically disabled individuals, seniors and military veterans and their families. Well schooled in the complexities of developing housing in a market-rate world, this work is where her heart is. Culver has two relatives who live in other states who have developmental disabilities and have had to struggle to find stable housing, medical and other services. www.BizTucson.com

What she is doing now will help individuals in that same situation to find a safe place to sleep, with supportive services from behavioral health agencies. Partners for Housing Solutions can help nonprofit organizations, builders and real estate investors, Culver said. It’s a winwin way to address a very real community need. Culver formed a relationship with BFL Construction to provide design-build-construction services for her projects. She knows the construction service component has the potential for problems that can derail a project. “BFL’s experience provides the risk management necessary to assure project success.” continued on page 194 >>> > > > BizTucson 193 Winter Winter 2014 2014


BizCOMMUNITY continued from page 193 Finding affordable housing is a problem, especially in Tucson and Pima County, where there are more than 10,000 people on the waiting list for 5,400 Section 8 vouchers. Where do these people go for help? This current demand started with the recession and as more and more people lost their jobs, they lost their homes and they began looking for alternative living arrangements – and that usually means rentals. As a result, prices have increased and it’s difficult to find a rental because of the demand. The fact that there are a finite number of both vouchers and rental units creates a rental bubble, Culver said. “I’m looking for new ways to create affordable housing. It’s not that there aren’t lots of units that need to be rehabbed, but my goal is to provide more than rehab. Rehabilitating existing units is important, but to be able to provide additional housing units is my focus.” Finding the money for subsidized housing requires tenacity and research – and Culver has the right mix of educa-

194 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

tion and experience, both as a bank loan officer and risk assessment officer for the State of Arizona Department of Housing, where she made sure allocations of state resources were appropriately utilized. She’s also completed coursework for a master’s degree in urban planning at the University of Southern California. “There are a limited number of programs that will help with affordable housing, so I keep current on when new funding rounds are opening, how much money is available and the targeted populations. It’s a process that is ongoing. Maximizing resources to develop as many housing units as possible is a challenge.” Today’s affordable housing is not built as infill in parts of town where no one wants to live, she said. “The state wants housing built close to public transportation and retail stores, charter or public schools with high performance ratings, and requires services and amenities be provided to residents.” Her road to Partners for Housing Solutions began in Los Angeles, where she

attended the University of California Los Angeles part-time to earn a bachelor’s degree while working in banking. It took her 16 years of working and going to school to get there. During that period she worked in the real estate division of Bank of America and later as a VP of First Los Angeles Bank. “My focus was on construction loans for builders of entry-level homes.” That was more than 20 years ago. She developed the interest and desire to develop affordable rental housing. Now her focus is on helping nonprofit organizations create relationships between housing and the services they offer. “More and more nonprofits are beginning to understand that if there is a lack of integration between housing and their services, their services are not as effective. For example, someone who is homeless needs services, healthcare and shelter in order to stabilize,” she said. “It has to be an integrated solution.” The nonprofit has an ownership interest in the housing and provides community support through the housing. It

www.BizTucson.com


BFL’s experience provides the risk management necessary to assure project success. –

becomes eligible for tax credits by forming a partnership or LLC with the equity investor. Rental fees are set by HUD. Affordable housing may be affordable to the renter – but there is no cost-cutting in the construction of this type of housing. “People call affordable housing low-cost housing and that’s not true. Comparatively speaking, it still costs the same amount of money to build. It’s the rental amount paid by the tenant that makes it ‘affordable.’ Affordable housing relies heavily on government subsidy to build.” Typically, developers will set their rent and income levels between 40 and 60 percent of the area median income

www.BizTucson.com

Julie Culver, President, Partners for Housing Solutions so they are targeting a particular segment of the population that is considered low income. “I welcome the opportunity to explain the housing programs to nonprofit organizations because there is a learning curve. I can provide information and some direction that will help them make a decision about entering the affordable housing market. The differences between affordable and market rate housing, especially with a program such as the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, is very complex and the financial structures are very different.” Culver points out what most experienced real estate investors accept – that

there is always risk associated with real estate development. But with affordable housing, it’s pretty much a win-win for all. “Rents are kept affordable for 15 years, that’s mandatory, then 15 more years by extension. It really helps the economy. It puts people to work and provides long-term affordable housing for the community. It’s also good for the nonprofit organization – they become more invested in the community.” She’s passionate about this affordable housing venture. “This really is where my heart is.”

Biz

> > > BizTucson 195 Winter Winter 2014 2014


From left to right â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

G.S. Jaggi Managing Director Iridius Capital Garry Brav Founder, BFL Construction 196 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

Photo: BalfourWalker.com

Roger Karber Real Estate Developer

www.BizTucson.com


BizDEVELOPMENT

Luxurious Gated Homes No Mortgage By Sheryl Kornman Real estate developer Roger Karber’s move into luxury rental housing began 10 years ago with development of the Finisterra Luxury Rentals community at Tanque Verde and Kolb Roads. He sought out Garry Brav, president of BFL Construction to handle construction. Together, they brought in investor G.S. Jaggi, managing director of Iridius Capital. Until then, most Tucson-area multifamily communities were built like caves, Karber said. They had three shared walls, little privacy and low ceilings. Most amenities were on the outside – in clubhouses, exercise rooms, community pools, spas and tennis courts. But Finisterra broke that mold. Finisterra apartments offered consumers an Olympic-sized pool, nine-foot ceilings, ceramic tile flooring, built-in flat-panel TVs under kitchen cabinets, fire sprinklers, security alarms, private balconies and patios – even a three-bedroom twobath option at 1,300 square feet. Finisterra residents moved in as quickly as buildings could be constructed and remains one of the industry’s top performers today. That success led Karber, Jaggi and Brav (now also CEO of BFL Ventures) to explore just how far they could stretch the product evolution – ultimately set-

tling on single-story detached luxury rental homes in gated neighborhoods. Operating as Alta Vista Communities

Today fewer individuals see a home with a mortgage as their best long-term housing solution, Karber said – especially when they can rent a new luxury home that is managed professionally. For their projects, the investors hired a woman-owned local affiliate, MEB Management Services, recognized for its consumer sensitivity. Today, operating as Alta Vista Communities, Karber and his partners are developing 11 single-family detached luxury rental home communities in the Tucson area. The properties, which are marketed to consumers as AVILLA, are in various stages of completion. Karber has nearly 40 years of Arizona real estate experience. He began in real estate while studying business at Pima Community College – on the advice of his father, a union pipefitter whose friends were helping to construct the Alaska pipeline back in the mid 1970s. The pipefitters were looking for investments and Karber’s father suggested Tucson real estate. With support from these small investors, Karber and his wife, Diane

Fitzpatrick, began buying and renovating rental houses, then moved up to 10-plexes, and on to 20-, 36- and even 40-unit apartment buildings, primarily in the University of Arizona area. They improved the properties and sold them, mostly to California investors. They also participated in the 76-unit conversion of the Tucson Inn annex into student rental apartments supporting Pima College’s new Downtown Campus. Karber’s early success as an entrepreneur encouraged him and he wanted to make real estate development his life’s work. He interviewed with Roy Drachman, Perry Bassett, George Mehl and Joe Freidheim, telling them he would work for free while studying economics and real estate. “I just wanted a chance to learn how to be a developer,” he said. Focusing on the Consumer

His interview with second-generation homebuilder Bill Estes Jr. paid off. He offered him a fulltime position developing large new rental communities. His new boss told him to keep studying business but get the job done – and he did. That was 1979. Karber’s first project for Estes was planning hundreds of apartments on a 40-acre site at Pantano Road and Fifth continued on page 198 >>>

AVILLA www.BizTucson.com

> > > BizTucson 197 Winter Winter 2014 2014


BizDEVELOPMENT continued from page 197 Street in Tucson. His second was planning an apartment community on 76 acres at Pantano and 22nd Street. “It was a great opportunity and I was ready for it,” Karber said. He completed more than 2,700 apartments in Tucson and Phoenix for Estes, working on both the construction and finance sides. With business partners, he formed ASR Investments, then merged it with the largest apartment real estate investment trust in the country, managing the acquisition of thousands of apartment units. And in a unique move at the time, Karber was able to broker group-rate cable contracts, using collective bargaining, for 80,000 apartment units in five states. With the fees from that deal, he started his own real estate development company, Karber Realty Advisors, always watching for changing consumer needs during ups and downs in the economy. He learned while working for Bill Estes Jr. that “you cannot lose focus on what the customer wants, what they can

198 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

afford and what it takes to truly satisfy their needs,” Karber said. “Rather than analyze what would work best for us as a company, Estes would focus on the consumer.” Bill Estes Sr. started his real estate development company in 1947 and by the time he left it as a private family owner, the company had built more than 40,000 Arizona housing units. Growing Demand for Detached Luxury Rentals

In the early 2000s, Karber began to see that consumers shopping for rental housing were “losing their attraction to the traditional amenity packages that focus on the external” – the large clubhouse, exercise facilities, spas – and “nobody was giving them a choice. Consumers want choices. What they wanted was more amenities on the inside,” he said. “We listened carefully and found there was a growing desire to have a detached luxury rental, where the maximum amount we put into it would go inside the individual family’s home and into private rear yards and upgrades – including higher ceilings, better quality

energy-efficient appliances and nicer finishes.” Karber saw that consumers in their late 20s, 30s, 40s and on into their 70s were less interested in a mortgage and were turning to other methods of growing financial security. “The necessity of buying a house has gone away,” Karber said. He and his investors now offer the concept of home in professionally managed new, gated neighborhoods. The rental home builder is BFL affiliate Preferred Apartment Builders. The business brands are Aerie Development and Alta Vista Communities and the consumer brand for all sites is AVILLA. The partners are also expanding the concept to properties outside Arizona under the business name NexMetro. By simplifying the plans for the homes, PAB is able to construct them quickly, efficiently and with precision, Brav said. GPS is used to locate utilities. This allows trenching for all the homes to be completed before slabs are poured in a production-line manner. Karber said he knew Brav’s reputation as a precision builder and his experience with

www.BizTucson.com


complex commercial projects such as hospital operating rooms and bio-tech facilities would be important to the success of Alta Vista Communities. Using Technology to Speed Process

Brav said plans are digitized for simultaneous distribution, project managers work with Smart Phones, iPads, and laptops, and data is stored in the Cloud so that projects move smoothly to completion in record time. Communication is first and foremost throughout the process, which is supported by a solid, structured administration. Production savings are re-invested in the home features that make the AVILLA product so appealing to residents. AVILLA home sites and surround-

ing areas are landscaped with native vegetation, with an emphasis on color throughout the year. The homes’ initial exteriors were built in classic Territorial style, blending easily into their surroundings. Newer communities are being designed with desert contemporary exteriors, as part of a continuing effort to evolve the product. Each rental neighborhood has a community swimming pool, hot tub and ramada. Residents have covered parking and the option of garage rental. The detached homes have private, gated backyards and clerestory windows atop traditional windows, similar to those in custom homes. The kitchen countertops, breakfast bars and bathroom vanities are granite, energy-effi-

cient appliances are stainless steel and full-size washers and dryers are front loading. Ceilings in all the homes are 10 feet throughout. The first Tucson-area locations to be completed are near Orange Grove Road and La Cholla Blvd., River Road west of Oracle Road, Thornydale and Ina Roads, Sabino Canyon Road near River Road, and Tanque Verde Road at Wrightstown Road. “They rent fast as we can construct them,” Karber said. The developer said he still remembers how he felt as a young man moving out of his parents’ home and into his first apartment: “That apartment was my palace.” And Karber knows that what the AVILLA consumer wants most is “that same feeling in their home.”

Biz

We listened carefully and found there was a growing desire to have a detached luxury rental. –

www.BizTucson.com

Roger Karber, Real Estate Developer

> > > BizTucson 199 Winter Winter 2014 2014


Photo: BalfourWalker.com

BizVENTURE

From left to right – G.S. Jaggi, Josh Hartmann, Don Diamond, Ken Abrahams, Marc Sandoff, Roger Karber, Garry Brav

Sunny Future for Luxury Rental Homes By Sheryl Kornman Embracing new opportunities in 2012, Garry Brav and the Alta Vista Communities partners joined with Don Diamond, Ken Abrahams and Marc Sandoff to create NexMetro Communities – a venture to develop and build luxury rental home neighborhoods in Phoenix and other Sunbelt cities. As investors in Alta Vista rental home 200 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

projects, members of the new venture saw the keen consumer interest in luxury rental homes and the potential for expanding into other markets. BFL Construction through its affiliate, Preferred Apartment Builders, will build the NexMetro rental home neighborhoods in Arizona and provide construction management support in mar-

kets outside of Arizona. NexMetro’s six principal owners together have more than 200 years of experience in the development and operation of nearly $3 billion in real estate projects in the Southwest. Joining Brav are Ken Abrahams, who has 30 years of experience successfully continued on page 202 >>> www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

> > > BizTucson 201 Winter Winter 2014 2014


BizVENTURE

When I first toured the rental home neighborhood and homes, I immediately knew it was a winner and I wanted to be involved. –

continued from page 200 developing real estate in diverse regional markets and is chairman and CEO of NexMetro Communities; Alta Vista Communities partner G.S. Jaggi, managing director of Iridius Capital; Roger Karber, an experienced apartment developer and operator; entrepreneur and investor Marc Sandoff, and financier and developer Don Diamond “When I first toured the rental home neighborhood and homes, I immediately knew it was a winner and I wanted to be involved,” said Diamond.

202 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

Don Diamond, Partner, NexMetro Communities To help map the future of NexMetro, Abrahams engaged a research team to examine and validate the housing product, identify key consumer demand and acceptance characteristics, and determine markets where the product could be successfully deployed. The research findings inform and guide NexMetro’s plans for the future. Built on Research & Relationships

Because NexMetro’s plans involve rental home neighborhoods in markets beyond Tucson and Arizona, the company is adapting the designs to suit oth-

er market conditions and local consumer preferences. NexMetro will continue to offer discerning renters, single-story detached rental homes in gated neighborhoods, in highly desirable locations, featuring luxury appointments and high-end finishes, private backyards and community pools and spas. The research also found that societal changes that have been in play for nearly a generation, combined with the prevailing economic conditions that persist after the great recession, favor the rental homes. Many home renters do not want to rent a traditional single family home

www.BizTucson.com


NexMetro offers a better rental option to serve the changing way many Americans think and feel about home ownership. –

with the associated maintenance obligation. Furthermore, many potential homebuyers remain wary of home ownership as a sound investment. Abrahams cited national housing market research by Morgan Stanley which notes that these factors are “moving the country towards becoming a Rentership Society.” “NexMetro offers a better rental option to serve the changing way many Americans think and feel about home ownership,” Abrahams said. NexMetro residents enjoy uncompromising quality with freedom from

www.BizTucson.com

Ken Abrahams, Chairman & CEO, NexMetro Communities a mortgage and maintenance, while providing privacy and a true-lockand-leave lifestyle. One, two and three bedroom energy efficient homes have high-end finishes, including granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, upgraded flooring, private walled-in backyards and clerestory windows that flood rooms with natural light. Researchers identified several consumer segments of the population that would be attracted to the luxury rental homes – including two income households with no children, empty nesters/ pre-seniors and financially solid work-

ing single people. As the primary decision makers, women are particularly attracted to rental homes that feature privacy, luxury home appointments and professional management and maintenance. Location is always important. Gated rental home neighborhoods are located in highly desirable and established residential areas – places where people want to live with nearby conveniences, services and amenities. continued on page 204 >>>

> > > BizTucson 203 Winter Winter 2014 2014


continued from page 203 Uncompromising Quality

Aerie Exceptional Rental Homes was the initial luxury rental home brand created by Alta Vista Communities, consisting of partners Brav, Jaggi and developer Roger Karber. After evaluating the long-term potential of rental home neighborhoods and homes in Arizona and other Sunbelt markets and cities, Alta Vista and NexMetro reviewed the Aerie brand and elected to adopt AVILLA as the future consumer brand for all existing and future rental home communities. “We want to build a strong brand at the enterprise level, at the project level and at the consumer level,” Abrahams said. “Brand consistency is important. We want the consumer to really understand the continuity and integrity of this, like any well-branded product.” MEB Management will lease and manage Alta Vista and NexMetro properties. The regional firm has more than 20,000 apartments under management and 15 years of experience successfully

204 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

managing rental properties, including single-family homes in Arizona and other Sunbelt states. “MEB is part of our team. They truly understand our product and are a key part of our success,” Abrahams said. “They’ve done a terrific job leasing and managing the hundreds of luxury rental homes completed in Tucson and Marana,” Karber said. MEB has been on the job on all Aerie Exceptional Rental Homes communities developed by Alta Vista and constructed by Preferred Apartment Builders. NexMetro Communities is built upon long-term relationships and strategic partners. At the core, the partners of Alta Vista and NexMetro enjoy longestablished business and personal relationships. In addition to MEB Management, strategic partners include the Thrasher law firm, Wells Fargo Bank, Alliance Bank and numerous architects, planners, engineers and marketing specialists. “Valued relationships and teamwork are vitally important when managing a growing enterprise” said Sandoff who

has guided many growth-stage enterprises. Simplified Expression of Design

NexMetro also partners with municipalities, community leaders and nearby property owners where AVILLA neighborhoods are planned. The AVILLA neighborhood is a low- impact land use that can fit comfortably into established residential areas where otherwise traditional apartments or high- impact commercial uses would typically be developed. NexMetro, along with governmental and community partners, seeks to create long- term asset value for the community as well as for its investors and lenders while providing a needed housing alternative. The partners acknowledge there is always risk in real estate investment, yet all those involved in NexMetro “have tremendous range and reach – which serves to help with risk management and protect the downside,” Jaggi said. The construction process is one way that risk can be managed. The integration of construction management into

www.BizTucson.com


BizVENTURE

Valued relationships and teamwork are vitally important when managing a growing enterprise. –

the ownership team provides a significant level of involvement and alignment of interests. Throughout the entire process, improvements are made to both accommodate renters’ desires and improve the efficiency of construction. For example, Brav said, “master bedrooms have been enlarged to accommodate a king-sized bed and establish a true master suite.” Various industry benchmarks and metrics are used to keep work moving efficiently and accurately. GPS is used to locate utilities within one inch of

Marc Sandoff, Partner, NexMetro Communities the future slab so that trenching can be completed before any pads are poured. Homes are built efficiently and to high standards by experienced subcontracting crews whose safety is monitored by onsite project managers. Local building inspectors are cooperative and timely, ensuring the efficient execution of each product. “The sophistication and complexity of the product can be easily under estimated,” said Brav. “The building systems and components used to execute them guarantee a long-lasting product,”

he said. “It’s very efficient to build, to operate and to live in – and that efficiency is because of a simplified expression of design. It ‘lives’ fairly low-tech. Lift the hood and there’s a sophisticated level of planning, process and application of building methods and systems.” NexMetro anticipates breaking ground in Phoenix and Dallas in 2014 with expansion into other western Sunbelt markets by 2015.

Biz

BizTucson Magazine is published quarterly by Rosenberg Media, LLC.,Tucson, AZ © 2014 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in columns or articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. For information regarding advertising or subscriptions, please contact Steve Rosenberg at 520-907-1012 or, steve@BizTucson.com

www.BizTucson.com

> > > BizTucson 205 Winter Winter 2014 2014


206 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com

Photo: BalfourWalker.com

David Williamson President & CEO Fairfield Homes AZ


BizDEVELOPMENT

Second-Generation Home Builder By Sheryl Kornman left the famous singing trio to raise her Fairfield Homes AZ is developing six sites for new homes in Southern Arichildren, David and Rex, in Calgary, zona. For five of the projects, President Alberta, Canada. David’s collection of his mother’s gold records and father’s and CEO David Williamson teamed WWII memorabilia, including his Purwith partner Garry Brav, president of ple Heart, is displayed in his office. BFL Construction. The family moved from Canada to Williamson worked with Brav on commercial projects and knew their Paradise Valley, near Phoenix, and Lowcombined experience would make an ell began to buy land in Southern Ariideal homebuilding team. “Garry has a lot of integrity. He’s a very bright man who knows construction.” Williamson is a second-generation developer who has already left a legacy in the desert. He partnered with his father Lowell Williamson and Paul F. Oreffice, of Dow Chemical to acquire the publicly traded Fairfield Homes’ brand in the early 1990s. Residential developments included more than 10,000 homes in Green Valley and Tucson. Fairfield in the Foothills, a community in the Catalina foothills, was one of the company’s most notable early projects. David learned the real estate business working alongside his father. They were – David Williamson partners until his father died in 2012. President & CEO His dad grew up in the Great DepresFairfield Homes AZ sion and studied music. But his educa- tion was interrupted by military service. Flying a B-17 mission toward the end of zona. David left Vanderbilt University World War II, the plane was shot down to join his father and learn the business over Germany. He spent the remainder of real estate. of the war in a POW camp. The expeIn the 1970s, Lowell bought 2,000 rience changed him, and with strong acres of Rooney Ranch. On 500 acres, he built the first destination resort in determination, he moved on to become a successful oil explorer in the United Tucson – now the Hilton El ConquisStates and Canada. tador Golf & Tennis Resort. It featured Through a serendipitous introducthree golf courses, 31 tennis courts, tion, he met one of the McGuire Sisa swimming pool, hiking and jogging ters, Dorothy. They married and she trails, horseback riding and fine dining.

The J-6 Ranch is a really beautiful place, cooler, with a higher elevation than Tucson, at 4,300 feet.

www.BizTucson.com

Each room has a view of the mountains. The remaining acreage from this purchase became the modern-day sites for Honeywell and La Reserve. On the eastside, the partners bought 320 acres located at the corner of Sabino Canyon Road and Snyder Road, now the gated community Sabino Mountain. In 1987, the company purchased 540 acres in Green Valley. With more than 1,200 homes built, this is now the Fairfield Homes’ community Las Campanas. The company is currently building the remaining 300 of the 1,590 lots. Homebuilding was a successful part of the Williamsons’ business ventures. From the mid-1990s through early 2000, Fairfield Homes built 250 to 300 homes a year in Green Valley. With a shift in the economy, the company took a break from developing homes and sold sites to Meritage Homes and Pepper Viner Homes in 2001. The Fairfield Homes name and brand, however, remained with the company. David continued with land development and land purchases. The company owns four golf courses and a hotel – the Wyndham Canoa Ranch Hotel in Green Valley. In addition, he sold the site for Green Valley’s first hospital, currently under construction. In 2008, he returned to homebuilding, joining with Brav to form Fairfield Homes AZ – a nod to the brand that has been widely recognized in the region for nearly 40 years. Williamson leads the business end while Brav focuses on construction, his expertise for the past four decades. continued on page 208 >>> > > > BizTucson 207 Winter Winter 2014 2014


BizDEVELOPMENT continued from page 207 In Green Valley, the partners have three sites within the 6,400-acre Canoa Ranch property – the Villas with 40 lots for townhomes, the Estates with 24 lots for single-family homes and the upcoming Resort Villas with 28 lots. Canoa Ranch also includes a mix of commercial with offices, a hotel and an 18-hole golf course on the property. David is partnering with American Land Fund for a future phase of Canoa Ranch, including 1,500 home sites. The company recently broke ground on J-6 Ranch, where they partner with Redhawk on 150 lots. The homes will be 2,000 to 3,300 square feet on 3.5acre parcels. The area features vast grasslands and is about 10 minutes east

of Vail and 30 minutes from downtown Tucson. “It’s a really beautiful place, cooler, with a higher elevation than Tucson, at 4,300 feet,” David said. With 70 lots, Fairfield Homes AZ will be one of the largest builders in the private residential golf community of Stone Canyon, located in Oro Valley. The semi-custom homes will be along the Jay Morrish-designed golf course. Rock formations and varied elevations offer a unique landscape for homebuyers – but can require special considerations in the homebuilding process to preserve natural rock outcroppings. “Care is taken to preserve the landscape,” Brav said. In addition to innovating for each site, Fairfield Homes AZ keeps an eye on

changing consumer expectations – especially retirees. According to the partners, green-building principles, modern recreation centers and additional amenities that help contribute to an active lifestyle have become increasingly valuable to homebuyers. “Retirement is evolving. How people retired 20 years ago is not how they retire today,” David said. Projects on the horizon for Williamson include developing an area west of the Biosphere for a new community called Cielo. David expects to build 3,000 homes on 4,000 acres – starting in 2017. “It’s a nice opportunity for the future,” he said.

Biz

Garry has a lot of integrity. He’s a very bright man who knows construction. –

208 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

David Williamson, President & CEO, Fairfield Homes AZ

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

> > > BizTucson 209 Winter Winter 2014 2014


Photo: BalfourWalker.com

BizINVESTMENTS

From left to right â&#x20AC;&#x201C;

G. S. Jaggi Managing Director WindRock Wealth Management Brett K. Rentmeester President & Chief Investment Officer WindRock Wealth Management 210 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


Trusted Quarterback Wealth Advisors By Sheryl Kornman WindRock Wealth Management is a new independent inoptions, emerging real estate projects led by respected comvestment management firm based in Tucson that seeks out inmunity-based entrepreneurs. Enter Garry Brav. He and Jaggi partnered in the successnovative investment opportunities for entrepreneurial-minded investors. ful development Finisterra Luxury Apartments, built by Brav’s The principals at WindRock believe that the mainstream Preferred Apartment Builders. WindRock clients have exclutraditional stock-and-bond portfolio will fail to deliver satisfacsive access to opportunities that Jaggi and Brav pursue through tory results for investors in the decade ahead. They are finding their operating company Alta Vista Communities. Today that opportunity is AVILLA – a gated-communipromising investment solutions beyond Wall Street for highwealth individuals and business owners. ty luxury home product being built throughout the Sunbelt The WindRock founders are seasoned financial adviser states. Jaggi said this concept is striking a chord with a growing Brett K. Rentmeester and successful entrepreneur and invesdemographic of Americans who don’t want to own a home tor G. S. Jaggi. – including empty nesters, single working people and pre-seRentmeester has been advising niors who want the freedom of renting luxury homes in communities of likeCEOs on investments since he was 22 minded individuals. – first as a manager of Arthur Ander“Luxury rental real estate is a great son’s Private Client practice, then as investment niche for the economic co-founder of a wealth management times ahead. It’s shelter. It’s fundagroup in Chicago that grew to $3 bilmental. Demand will remain strong,” lion in assets from 2002 to early 2013. Rentmeester said. He’s a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Arizona and “At WindRock, we bring clients inholds an MBA from Northwestern novative, interesting opportunities that University. Rentmeester serves as are hard to find, that investors don’t WindRock’s president and chief inhave access to at most investment vestment officer. firms. We partner with well-respected WindRock’s co-founder Jaggi is entrepreneurs like Garry Brav. That’s also managing director of Iridius how you find compelling investment Capital in Tucson, a private investopportunities,” he said. ment firm offering WindRock clients “We play a trusted quarterbackexclusive access to opportunities in adviser role, serving as a client’s adreal estate, private lending and invocate.” WindRock works in coopera– Brett K. Rentmeester ternational cross-border investments. tion with that individual’s or business President & Chief Investment Officer Jaggi previously was founder and owner’s team of advisers, including WindRock Wealth Management CEO of First Magnus Financial. attorneys and accountants. Rentmeester’s been Jaggi’s wealth ad“We deal with a more sophisticated visor for many years. client who wants someone who can help them navigate what They formed WindRock after “we found we had similar phihas become a more and more complex financial environment. losophies” regarding entrepreneurial investments, Jaggi said. By understanding their overall wealth, we become a trusted Both invest in the projects they recommend to their clients. voice.” “We are a unique option for investors who share our enWindRock has offices in Tucson and Chicago, serving clitrepreneurial mindset,” Jaggi said. Clients are encouraged to ents nationwide. think globally in a changing world about their financial future In today’s economic environment, innovative investment and look beyond stocks and bonds – to consider, among other continued on page 212 >>>

We partner with well-respected entrepreneurs like Garry Brav. That’s how you find compelling investment opportunities.

www.BizTucson.com

> > > BizTucson 211 Winter Winter 2014 2014


BizINVESTMENTS continued from page 211 solutions for wealth management are more critical than ever, Jaggi said. “We pay close attention to macroeconomics – the big picture of the world.” To preserve wealth and make money, investors need to address two key challenges ahead. “In the near term there is a struggle to find reasonable returns in a world of zero interest rates. In the longer term, inflation is the major unforeseen risk,” Rentmeester said. “Clients must position for this looming inflationary risk – a result of too much debt, unsustainable spending and unprecedented money printing.” Rentmeester and Jaggi see the common way of investing money as an out-

dated model. It assumes things are normal most of the time. Rentmeester said the stocks and bonds world has been good for 40 years driven by declining interest rates – but stocks and bonds are no longer poised to benefit in a future of higher interest rates. “The writing is on the wall that we will stay in a weakened low-growth world – here, in Europe and Japan,” Rentmeester said. “To counter those forces, governments are printing money – to attempt to paper over the weakness,” he added. “It’s a dangerous game with a bad outcome. Policymakers are once again inflating financial bubbles and creating dangerous imbalances. While they have temporarily postponed the problems, they have failed to address the roots of

the 2008 crisis – which are still all there, only bigger.” To protect clients from the forces ahead, WindRock advocates allocations in tangible or hard assets – investments such as precious metals, farmland and real estate. “The better path for high-wealth clients is to invest in things like emerging real estate opportunities – luxury rental homes in gated communities and farmland in the Midwest leased to tenant farmers. Investments like these can provide a more reliable return if inflation returns,” he said. WindRock is rooted in a passion for collaboration in the spirit of entrepreneurship, Jaggi said. “We think like business owners – because we are business owners.” Biz

We pay attention to macroeconomics – the big picture of the world. –

212 BizTucson

<<<

G. S. Jaggi, Managing Director, WindRock Wealth Management

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

> > > BizTucson 213 Winter Winter 2014 2014


BizMILESTONE Garry Brav

CEO, BFL Ventures

Photo: BalfourWalker.com

Garry is a connector of people, ideas and financial resources. –

214 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

Brenda Goldsmith, Executive Director El Rio Health Center Foundation

www.BizTucson.com


40

Building Community By Sheryl Kornman Garry Brav’s success over the past 40 years began with BFL Construction. The visionary entrepreneur has since diversified into a “family of companies” including BFL Ventures – through which he invests in emerging technologies developed in the region and is involved with a host of community nonprofits. Brav serves on the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and has for the past two years, along with other big business leaders and small business owners. The group identifies regional issues and business opportunities, and provides collective leadership to improve the economic climate and quality of life in the region. Brav supports the Science Foundation of Arizona and, through venture capital activity, encourages the expansion of bioscience ventures in the community. He participates in Desert Angels, an organization of accredited investors who meet monthly seeking opportunities to invest in early stage or startup ventures in the Southwest. The more than 95 members have invested $25 million since 2000 in more than 60 companies. Companies selected for funding are developing cell-based therapies for HIV, therapies for colon cancer, labware for genetics research, sports nutrition fruitflavored energy gels, a GPS tracking device children can wear. The investors are also funding commercialization of the SynCardia temporary CardioWest Total Artificial Heart. Investors have supported a biomedical nanotechnology company developing therapeutic approaches to cancer, traumatic brain injury and stroke, as well as a cryobank www.BizTucson.com

that allows individuals to store their fatty tissue and stem cells for use in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. Desert Angels also funds nonmedical technologies, including toys developed for children with special needs. More than 25 years ago, Brav began fundraising for the American Cancer Society, eventually serving as development chair and board chair. He began his association with the charity when a client urged him to get involved raising money for cancer research. His first act of charity for the nonprofit organization was a stunt. He went to “jail” in an improvised cell in the basement of University of Arizona Medical Center. He had to make successful fundraising calls to earn his way out. “It was fun and it made me feel good,” he said. “Now, we do a lot of charitable work.” BFL is the title sponsor for El Rio Community Health Center Foundation’s annual fundraising gala. BFL also supports the work of Tucson Values Teachers, United Way and other charities. At one point, 100 percent of BFL employees were donors to United Way. Brav said the construction work by BFL on six clinics for El Rio Community Health Center and for other nonprofit organizations – while not a donation of services – is especially rewarding for him. The new El Rio buildings bring medical services closer to the community health center’s populations. “Garry understands the nonprofit and for-profit sectors and sees the importance of both in creating a thriving community. He is a connector of people, ideas and financial resources – an

out-of-the box thinker and visionary who enjoys executing projects that will have an impact on the lives of others,” said Brenda Goldsmith, executive director of the El Rio Health Center Foundation. “He is an engaged business leader who understands the importance of developing a culture of philanthropy within his companies. He has been very supportive of El Rio Community Health Center and many nonprofit organizations – sharing his business expertise, serving on boards and being a generous donor.” BFL also built the Joint Technical Education District school building for Pima County’s publicly funded technical education programs, which help young people train for immediate employment in computer science, fire science, nursing, cosmetology, mining and automobile repair. “Everything JTED touches is just outstanding,” Brav said. In October 2013, BFL donated construction and related services to Edge High School, a nonprofit education organization that works with at-risk youth at two school sites in Tucson. The company installed new flooring and ceiling tiles, repainted, and added electrical capability for video conferencing in the school’s boardroom at the Himmel Park site. BFL also built publicly funded facilities for agencies that serve people with behavioral health issues, including Cope, La Frontera, CODAC, SouthEastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services, Tucson Urban League, Community Partnership of Southern Arizona and Primavera. Biz > > > BizTucson 215 Winter Winter 2014 2014


BizMILESTONE

216 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


40

www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 217


6 BizTucson

<<<

Spring 2009

www.BizTucson.com


www.BizTucson.com

Winter 2014 > > > BizTucson 219


220 BizTucson

<<<

Winter 2014

www.BizTucson.com


Winter 2014 bfl