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VOL. 129 | NO. 129 | Thursday, July 3, 2014

Problem Solvers

CBRE Memphis team helps properties function during redevelopment

By Amos Maki

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Rick Smith is director of property management for Finard Properties, the commercial real estate firm that owns and manages properties such as the landmark Poplar Plaza shopping center at Poplar Avenue and Highland Street.

The CB Richard Ellis Memphis project management team, from left, Hank Hopkins, Michael Hughes, Scott Campbell, Kevin Clarkson, Paul Winter and Joe Hipp at Volvo Group’s new distribution center. 

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

When he and his team gathered to review plans for the redevelopment of the retail center, they realized just what a massive undertaking the project would be.

Smith was worried that the project, which would require moving several tenants and creating a new Kroger grocery store while the old Kroger store operated continuously, would consume most of his team’s time and could divert attention from the company’s other properties.

“When we got this project queued up we knew we would need some assistance,” he said. “It was a layer of time-consuming difficulty that never stops that was going to require continuous effort. It was going to take so much of our time that our other projects were going to be lacking and we didn’t want that from our standpoint, and we didn’t want that for our clients.”

So Smith and Finard selected the CB Richard Ellis Memphis project management team to handle the mammoth redevelopment process, including moving six tenants within the retail center, demolishing three buildings and constructing the new Kroger, all while the original Kroger continued to operate. The entire process took two years.

“(The CBRE team) tram was an integral part of it all coming together,” said Smith.

Paul Winter, the project management team leader at CBRE Memphis, said he vividly remembers the first time the scope of the project was explained to him.

“I’ll never forget the first time I sat down with them and they laid out the time frame,” Winter said. “It was a project where if one thing goes wrong, it all falls apart. We made it work and it really was beautiful to see this puzzle we figured out.”

The CBRE Memphis project management team is used to piecing together the construction puzzles of its clients.

Originally formed in the 1980s and made a more formal part of the CBRE Memphis business in the 1990s, the project management team is responsible for all aspects of the construction process for its clients, such as tenant improvements, due diligence, pre-construction, design, bidding, construction and move management.

“We cost money, but our fee is much less than the mistakes people who don’t do this every single day can make, which can cost more time and more money and can push back the lease commencement date.”

–Kevin Clarkson
CB Richard Ellis Memphis

The team performs these tasks for buildings managed and leased by CBRE Memphis and with a growing third-party side that focuses on companies that CBRE does not represent, such as Finard Properties.

“We get involved to help the client understand and develop what they want,” said CBRE’s Kevin Clarkson. “We’re involved from day one from the concept they want to put together to the scope of work and the team. We can help them figure out what it should cost and the rest of the team they can pull together the land options, the design team and anything else they will need. Its cradle to grave service.”

The CBRE team is providing project management for the development of Volvo Group’s new 1 million-square-foot distribution center inside Panattoni Development Co.’s Gateway Global Logistics Center.

And the team is currently managing the redevelopment of the Memphis Health Center on Crump Boulevard, which provides health care services to uninsured and lower-income underinsured patients in the Mid-South. While the center is being upgraded, it has to function at 100 percent as if nothing is going on.

“When that project is finished it will be a 100 percent remodeled clinic while they operate 100 percent of the time,” Winter said. “It’s a major undertaking to completely renovate that clinic without any interruption of service.”

Clarkson and Winter said that since they deal with construction and buildout on a daily basis, their expertise can help companies who may move to a new location once every 10 to 15 years.

“These tenants that do this once every five to 10 years, it can be such a challenge for them,” Clarkson said. “It’s much easier when you’re doing that multiple times a year as opposed to every 10 or 15 years. We cost money, but our fee is much less than the mistakes people who don’t do this every single day can make, which can cost more time and more money and can push back the lease commencement date.”

The services the project management team provides allow its customers to focus on what’s most important to them: their business.

“Our goal is to bring our projects in on budget, on time and with great workmanship,” Winter said. “Our clients need to be doing their business and focusing on their business trying to learn all of this one time for a move that they may be doing every five to 10 years takes away from their focus on their business.”

PROPERTY SALES 83 405 4,276
MORTGAGES 104 424 4,814
BUILDING PERMITS 148 883 10,151
BANKRUPTCIES 53 264 3,149