Illinois Real Estate Journal November December 09 : Page 1

VOLUME 12, NUMBER 8 ©2009 Law Bulletin Publishing Co. Suburban success story s 2009 began, Opus North Corp. had the un- enviable task of filling a 251,000-square-foot speculative office facility in what would be a historically soft year for commercial real estate, A hen Mark Augustyn and James Brucato set out 10 years ago to develop their own design/build general contracting firm they wanted to establish it on the foundations of integrity, honesty and loyalty. Thus, Principle Con- struction Corp. began. Augustyn, COO, and Brucato, president, come but as December approaches officials at Opus have something to be cheerful about as the Highland Landmark V in Downers Grove is now 94 percent leased. Building on Principles W from different backgrounds, but their combined ex- perience and like-minded business approach makes themideal partners. An architect by trade, Augustyn began his career working with O’Hare International Airport, where he quickly learned the frustrations of the develop- ment process when multiple parties often failed to agree on direction. “In publicwork, Iwitnessed howconflict (amongst different contractors) would frequently break down the process,” says Augustyn. “I knew then that I wanted to be in design/build, because I wanted to control my portion of the process. I wanted respon- November - December 2009 The most recent triumph for Opus North came in early November as New York-based Dover Corpora- tion signed a 68,962 square-foot-lease at the High- land Landmark V. The relocation of the Fortune 500 company’s headquarters will bring 100 jobs to Illi- nois. This has been a huge win for Opus, the Village of Downers Grove and DuPage County. “This is a flawless example of how economic de- velopment and corporate partnerships can work,” says Greg Bedalov, president of the Elmhurst Eco- nomic Development Corporation. “I was thrilled to tell our mayor that Dover would be moving from Park Avenue to Highland Avenue.” While not the largest deal in the suburbs in terms of square-footage, it could be considered one of the most significant because the job creation. Dover had little presence in the Chicago market prior to this deal. To be lured away from its current home base took a concentrated effort from public and private officials. “It goes without saying we are fortunate to be in DuPage county and Downers Grove,” says Grady Hamilton, senior real estate director, Opus North. “At both the county level and the local level, Choose DuPage and the Downers Grove EDC have worked really hard. It’s been a great private/public partner- DUPAGE continued on Page 18 sibility and control of the design. If something went wrong, I could only blamemyself.” Brucato is a trained engineerwith a background at the Illinois Department of Transportation. He worked on road crews while in college atMarquette University and then as an engineer with IDOT. “I learned pretty early on that I wanted to build vertical structures rather than redesigning roads,” says Brucato. They both made their way toMcShane Construc- tion Corp. in the 1990s, where they helped grow the firminto a national contractor Although they couldn’t have known it then, the two picked a fortuitous time to begin a design/build firm. While the industry went through a downturn in the early 2000s, it came roaring back and the last several years produced a very fertile environment for grow- PRINCIPLE continued on Page 28 PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID LANSING, MI PERMIT 224

Suburban Success Story

As 2009 began, Opus North Corp. had the unenviable task of filling a 251,000-square-foot speculative office facility in what would be a historically soft year for commercial real estate, but as December approaches officials at Opus have something to be cheerful about as the Highland Landmark V in Downers Grove is now 94 percent leased.<br /> <br /> The most recent triumph for Opus North came in early November as New York-based Dover Corporation signed a 68,962 square-foot-lease at the Highland Landmark V. The relocation of the Fortune 500 company’s headquarters will bring 100 jobs to Illinois.<br /> <br /> This has been a huge win for Opus, the Village of Downers Grove and DuPage County.<br /> <br /> “This is a flawless example of how economic development and corporate partnerships can work,” says Greg Bedalov, president of the Elmhurst Economic Development Corporation. “I was thrilled to tell our mayor that Dover would be moving from Park Avenue to Highland Avenue.” While not the largest deal in the suburbs in terms of square-footage, it could be considered one of the most significant because the job creation. Dover had little presence in the Chicago market prior to this deal. To be lured away from its current home base took a concentrated effort from public and private officials.<br /> <br /> “It goes without saying we are fortunate to be in DuPage county and Downers Grove,” says Grady Hamilton, senior real estate director, Opus North.<br /> <br /> “At both the county level and the local level, Choose DuPage and the Downers Grove EDC have worked really hard. It’s been a great private/public partner- Ship to highlight the benefits of being in this location.” Roger Hopkins, president and CEO of Choose Dupage, an economic development engine for the area, says that the county was in competition against Atlanta and New York City for the Dover Headquarters.<br /> <br /> Hopkins was contacted by a search firm that he had worked with previously for the relocation of Hallmark Services to Naperville in 2008.<br /> <br /> The firm received such positive feedback from the move that it presented it as an option to Dover.<br /> <br /> “Dover was looking for a strong workforce, close proximity to higher educational facilities and a quality family environment,” says Hopkins.<br /> <br /> One of the biggest selling points Hopkins noted was the proximity to O’Hare International Airport.<br /> <br /> Dover executives were excited after a meeting with airport executives, regarding the airport’s commitment to key markets and found the access very amenable for visiting clients, says Hopkins.<br /> <br /> The Highland Landmark V proved to be the ideal location for Dover as it could offer a complete range of amenities difficult to find in other locations.<br /> <br /> The product recently received the NAIOP award for suburban office development of the year.<br /> <br /> “This is a new building with no existing conditions to demo,” says Hamilton. “A firm can take advantage of that and design the space that it needs. Dover needs large board rooms and training facilities. This building can lend itself to that.” Another important element for Dover was branding. The Highland Landmark V sits next to Interstate 88, lending to prime signage space. As part of the deal, Dover will receive name-branding on the building, displaying its name to thousands of passing motorists each day.<br /> <br /> Dover will join a cadre of corporate names in the Highland Landmark development.<br /> <br /> Microsoft, R.R. Donnelley, and JP Morgan Chase are a few of the big names that have a presence in the park.<br /> <br /> The firm will join DeVry Inc in the facility. DeVry inked a 165,000-squarefoot deal with Opus in March.

Building On Principles

When Mark Augustyn and James Brucato set out 10 years ago to develop their own design/build general contracting firm they wanted to establish it on the foundations of integrity, honesty and loyalty. Thus, Principle Construction Corp. began.<br /> <br /> Augustyn, COO, and Brucato, president, come from different backgrounds, but their combined experience and like-minded business approach makes them ideal partners.<br /> <br /> An architect by trade, Augustyn began his career working with O’Hare International Airport, where he quickly learned the frustrations of the development process when multiple parties often failed to agree on direction.<br /> <br /> “In publicwork, Iwitnessed howconflict (amongst different contractors) would frequently break down the process,” says Augustyn. “I knew then that I wanted to be in design/build, because I wanted to control my portion of the process. I wanted responsibility and control of the design. If something went wrong, I could only blame myself.” Brucato is a trained engineer with a background at the Illinois Department of Transportation. He worked on road crews while in college at Marquette University and then as an engineer with IDOT.<br /> <br /> “I learned pretty early on that I wanted to build vertical structures rather than redesigning roads,” says Brucato.<br /> <br /> They both made their way to McShane Construction Corp. in the 1990s, where they helped grow the firm into a national contractor Although they couldn’t have known it then, the two picked a fortuitous time to begin a design/build firm.<br /> <br /> While the industry went through a downturn in the early 2000s, it came roaring back and the last several years produced a very fertile environment for grow- Ing a company. Financing was freeflowing as speculative work and buildto- suite were in demand Principle saw its fair share of work, with more than 850,000-square-feet of speculative construction completed.<br /> <br /> The firm also made a name in build-tosuit projects, with the high water mark being a 600,000-square-foot facility for Rust-Oleum in Kenosha, Wis.<br /> <br /> In total, the firm has completed 6.5 million square feet of design/build, office, manufacturing, distribution, food processing facilities, heath care facilities and interiors totaling in excess of $250 million.<br /> <br /> This wave of construction was a boon to the firm, providing a cushion for the credit crunch and recessionary market that would follow.<br /> <br /> “We are very fortunate,” says Augustyn.<br /> <br /> “The market is not as robust now, but our success in the past has allowed us to weather the storm. We have worked hard to discover the aspects of our business that aren’t going away.” Medical developments have been a benefit to the company in recent months. In October, the firm was awarded a 3,300-square-foot build out for Richard Wolf Medical Instruments Corporation in Vernon Hills. In June, the firm completed work on the 14,734- square-foot Southwest Surgery Center in Mokena.<br /> <br /> In May, the firm broke ground on a 21, 044-square-foot build-to-suit for IDI Label in Lake Villa.<br /> <br /> Principle has found ways to navigate the down market, but both Brucato and Augustyn have learned lessons that will stay with them as they push forward with their business.<br /> <br /> “This year has been very sobering,” says Brucato. “We are going to have a different perspective going forward.<br /> <br /> Before, we never really thought about the economy tanking. I’d rather have read about this in history books than have lived it, but it did force us to diversify.<br /> <br /> Big box and spec building are dead. Now, we work more with tenant build-outs and medical buildings.” Brucato also believes that green building techniques and alternative energy options for commercial properties will be a major component to the industry as it moves forward. The down economy will allow the firm to regroup and prepare for the market that is to come.<br /> <br /> Augustyn knows that when the industry does pick up steam again, it won’t be on the same terms that so many had grown accustomed to in the past few years. However, with a strong list of clients and a solid team, he believes the firm will be ready to move forward based on the quality work it has delivered and the relationships it has forged in the past.<br /> <br /> “We didn’t loose our relationships or our reputation in this economy,” says Augustyn. “We are passionate about what we do. This isn’t just a source of revenue for us. We love it.”

Next Page


Publication List
 

Loading