Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Torturing the property manager and guys over 50??

OK...I admit it. I thought having a urinal 18" from the floor was a challenge...I mean it's a challenge for me with my 56 year old prostate! (I know too much information). Anyway....I was thinking it was put this low for the occasional 5 year old that might show up once every year or so.

Wrong....and I thank Tony Yunker with GBBN for changing my paradigm. The reason the urinal is like this is it accommodates someone in a wheelchair....and I honestly had just not thought about that. In 2002, I was in a bad bike wreck and drove my femur thru my pelvis. This was a BIG DEAL and after it was miraculously repaired by the best orthopedic trauma surgeon in West Virginia (Dave Hubbard...Ruby Memorial), I was confined to a wheel chair for a month or so.

I really learned what barrier free means and committed to always have my projects respond to folks with disabilities. It might be a very small percentage of the population...but if it's you, it's a big deal.

I'm glad this project was built to be responsive and I'm glad GBBN kept us on track. The American with Disabilties Act might seem like a pain sometimes, but one needs to get out of their own skin from time to time and take a view from the other side of the street, so to speak. This is a law we should all embrace.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bailey (Ben) & Glasser (Brian)

In a way, this is what the entire team strives for...a happy client at the end of the engagement. Above is an iPhone photo (not bad) in front of the new bar.....i.e. transaction counter at reception (Brian christened it a bar). B&G hosted a holiday party at their new digs last night...and it was great to see the "place" in action.

We all build/design/develop "places"....and they are 100 percent incomplete without their market/occupants using them. (Thus the term placemaking which is prevalent in the industry). A place can look real cool but just not work...yes?

This one seems to definitely be working well.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Pains of Moving In...the next phase

Ben Bailey's Office (Before)

I had a good visit today with Mark Grigsby, the president of Pray Construction Co. As we bring this project to conclusion and wrap up a few details, I asked a probing question....what are your desired outcomes from this project? He had several good thoughts and then mentioned...he hoped the lawyers (of B&G) would realize (and appreciate) how much better their personal and professional life was due to the involvement of PrayWorks, Pray Construction, and GBBN. I personally think mission accomplished.

And so...what the hell does the above picture have to do with any of this? Thanks for asking. Recently GBBN/PrayWorks was hired to provide the last finishing touches on this project and we are dealing with artwork, accessories, minor architectural changes (yes Brian...in the fitness room), and operational issues with how the building is used. This is a piece frequently omitted and so the intent of the design (and construct) team is never fully realized.

This is a small piece of work...but very exciting to be moving forward. I'm not sure if I have shared this, but I have moved into 209, so this is a very intimate look into how the facility actually fulfills the design intent.

Hope I don't get kicked out!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tools of the Trade

So.....a whole lot of "what I do" revolves around numbers...the projection of....say as in a statement of prospective cash flows....and then the management of.....as in the crafting and administration of an agreement (i.e. contract)...and then the reporting of results. Many times the scenarios are modestly complex and the interaction of the various "cells" not apparent. Because I'm involved in development projects from the ground up, I tend to learn the interaction of all of the cells early and then the challenge is to get the owners or investors to "get it"....i.e. understand the risk, the rewards, and the progress.

So, my subcontractors...which used to be plumbers and electricians...are now lawyers and accountants....so clearly my quality of life has degraded!

Right now, I'm working with Gibbons and Kawash (209's accounting firm) on a report to the investors on this project and there has been a lot of number chasing going on. I enjoy this aspect and enjoy making the projections come to life.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

BLOG within a BLOG

Crestron Controller

Plasma Monitor in Conference Room

We designed a large, flexible conference area that is located on Capitol Street. The street exposure is beneficial because of the natural light that fills the room, but creates challenges for the use of the room. Confidentiality is of highest concern in a law firm and so the design needs to be responsive.

To help aid in the management of bypassing eyes on the street, we installed an electric blind system and these are controlled by a touch screen system manufactured by Crestron. So, a user touches the screen where it says lower blinds, and the blinds all lower in unison. The standard blinds basically provide visual privacy when looking in from outside during the day. Additionally, there is a blackout blind which is activated by another switch on the Crestron unit that will make the room completely private day or night.

The room has a phone system with wireless microphones which can be spread around the room, 63” plasma for the review of items either on one’s laptop or the C-room computer, DVD player, and VCR player.

The room is still being tweaked, but it will prove to be a real benefit to the firm.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Punchlist Process

Projects (and the associated relationships) can be enhanced (or they can deteriorate) during the execution of the work associated with the punchlist.

To start, the punchlist is the list of either incomplete or defective work that is attached to the certificate of substantial completion which list is issued by the architect. A project is substantially complete essentially when a project can be used for its intended results. It is finally complete...and a certificate of Final Completion is issued...when all of the items attached to the certificate are complete.

Other items that reveal themselves that are in need or improvement, generally are repaired but are seen as warranty items.

There were a handful of items at 209 that were substantial and were not complete because Pray Construction did not have the material available to complete the work.

Last night, a substantial uncompleted piece was (almost) completed which involved the lobby ceiling....see the above photos.

Monday, October 20, 2008

And Life Goes On....

All of us have a lot of incoming stimulus that we are involved with on a day to day basis. For the most part, it’s hard to see the whole picture of a co-worker, vendor, or associate. And that’s understandable yes? I guess some of the power of a blog or a social network is that one has the opportunity to paint a more complete picture and/or use the medium as a canvas of sorts for self expression.

I have had a lot to do with my Mother over the past years including moving her to Charleston from her home in Florida, helping her adjust to her new community, coaching her out of driving her car, encouraging her on her weekly trips to Innovative Fitness, taking her to the Doctor, listening to her stories, moving her to Edgewood Summit, keeping her walking and socializing, dealing with her insurance company, managing her money, hiring caregivers, taking her to the Emergency room, listening, engaging Hospice, and ultimately helping her transition to another, better place.

My Mom passed away last Tuesday afternoon.

Here is the obituary: (i.e. Charleston Gazette, Sunday, Gertrude Malasky).

And the point of all of this is to (1) Create a more intimate environment….i.e. in..to..me..see and (2) Reflect out loud about all the things we just don’t know about our family and friends that might be having an impact on them. Very sick children or other family members, personal health matters that are really big deals ( cancer, heart disease, fill in the blank), family members that are the victims of or even the perpetrators of serious crimes….we’ve heard it all and it is all happening around us every day). Mind you I come form the old school…stiff upper lip and so forth, but it is worthy to reflect upon the old Covey matter of paradigms. We sometimes just don't see the whole deal and if we did, we might see the young woman not the old woman.

Anyway…..my Mom was an elegant, charming, loving person and she will be missed.

But as the saying goes, life goes on and so does life at 209 Capitol Street. I’ll be back with more tidbits relative to this project in the not to distant future.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Phones and Computers (aka Voice and Data)

Employees of Advantage Technology and Black Box worked most of the night and all day to get the phones and computers completed...up and operating....and they are! This BLOG is being written from the new space over a very fast Internet connection.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Move Day

Man..What a week! More on that to follow, but the project is now substantially complete and the move is in progress! See the above photos of signage for the movers.

Great job!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Front Entry Door in Progress

Pray Construction received their certificate of occupancy today from The City. Substantial completion will be achieved in the next few days as long as the woodworkers do their job.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Signage at Capitol Street Elevation

All constructed projects are a combination of a multitude of details designed and executed by various team members (Architect/Interior Designer/Superintendent/Engineer/Vendor/Subcontractor. These are truly collaborative adventures....and I like that. Door hardware, stain colors, tile colors, space planning, workmanship...really...the list goes on...are the sort of details I'm referring to. We spent time and attention on the internal and external signage on this project. The above is an applied sign that really accurately mimics the impression of etched glass...or maybe even better.

This work was manufactured and installed by Plastigraphics, a company I became familiar with from my Soaring Eagle Lodge project. They do good work!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Basement...I mean Lower Level

Marketing types are appropriately concerned with/about language. So, I've been attempting to refer to the basement as the lower level for months/years. Let's face it, the lower level always felt like a basement, or maybe more appropriately a dungeon. I mean, the lowest level in the building was downright scary....a real mess.
And now look at it!!!!! Man.....sweet.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Furniture Hits the Streets

The furniture began arriving next week. Luckily, no rain!

By Wednesday of this week, all of the furniture for the offices and open office areas will be in place.

Bringing 'Er In

Pictured above (L to R) is Mark Nary with M&L Electric, Bob Settle and Erich Reggi with Pray. The picture above ilustrates the cooperation that has been present under a fair amount of pressure.

The team now projects substantial completion will be obtained on this Friday, September 26th.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


On the first floor there is a lounge where employees can eat lunch and informally collaborate.

Front of the House

These images are a bit difficult to make sense out of context, but they are progress photos of the lobby and front of the house conference areas. The glass walls (borrowed lites in trade vernacular) are used between several spaces.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Lower Level (aka basement) take shape

The lower level is being utilized for paper processing, storage, a large war room, is the location for IT, storage of supplies as well as an exercise studio.

Second Floor Carpet Being Installed

The second floor carpet install began today. The second floor carpet will be complete by the end of the day Tuesday.

Lobby Emerges

This photo has the building lobby in the foreground, B&G's lobby in mid ground, and a large conference room in background.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Second Floor Taking Shape

Actually, the whole project is moving so quickly, the visual change is dramatic every day. I'll try and keep posting daily and focus more on photos which I hope will be self explanatory.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Acoustic Control

Ever been to a physician's office and clearly heard the conversation taking place in the exam room next door? Right...me too. Great opportunities for litigators.
Anyway...the attorney to attorney office acoustic control is really not analogous to the adjacent patient room example. Virtually all clients are seen in conference rooms. However...if one lawyer is by nature loud...well this is just a distraction that the lawyer next door to that loud attorney will grow to potentially resent over the years.
The photos above illustrate the detail at the floor. Because of the DuraCap, the gypsum on the walls needed to be separated from the liquid DuraCap. If the gypsum was allowed to come into contract with the liquid DuraCap, then moisture would likely be absorbed into the the gypsum and then our friend "mold and mildew" might be welcomed into the firm.
So.....this leaves us with a gap between the DuraCap and the gypsum. The floor was tested yesterday by a testing agency and we are ready for floor finishes. So, recently, acoustic caulk is introduced in the gap between the DuraCap and the gypsum. This plugs up a short circuit in the wall and will help maintain good acoustic control office to office.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bring on the Carpet

OK...it might appear to be a bit early for carpet. The date of substantial completion is yet three weeks away, so there is a lot of work to perform before the carpet is installed...right? Well, that is correct. One of those tasks is to install the last window on the second floor, so to facilitate the installation of carpet beginning the week after next, it's appropriate to get the goods at least in the building in the simplest fashion possible. That's what's going on in this photo.
Material handling on some projects can be much more troublesome. I recall building a restaurant in Jersey City in a regional shopping center. We had to take delivery of some paneling for the facility and, to do so, we were obliged to schedule our time at the loading dock which was restricted to one hour per day. So, the panelling shows up at the appropriate time and the superintendent goes down to unload it from the truck. The teamster (this was a hard line union project), looks at the superintendent when he arrives and the back door is still closed on his truck. He says he'll be leaving in 30 minutes. "Well....how do I get this truck door open?". Answer..."$100 will do the job."
Ahhhh...life in the northeast.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This should be a Weekend Post

OK.....in response to my friend Karen Farmer (far right), I take the liberty of adding this photo to BLOG.

I'm surrounded by attorneys (Farmer/Long) which is dangerous I know, but the more I know about lawyers, the more likely I am to help make their facility great. Anyhow...that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

DuraCap Poured

Beginning with preparation on Thursday and then pouring proceeding on Friday and Saturday, the DuraCap installation began and was completed. I'd say this was the most dramatic visual improvement to the building yet.
This work was done on Pray's schedule, so we are still looking at September 19th as the day the project will be substantially complete.

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's Crunch Time!!

I can always tell when a job is coming to the end because I feel like I need a body guard to accompany me on the job tour. Managed creative conflict.

In one week, the overlay of the existing floor (Dura-Cap) will take place...so the Pray team has been pushing the gypsum installation (which wants to be completed before dura-cap) and they have gotten permanent power in place in order to operate the air conditioning on a temporary basis for humidification control.

To top things off, the basement is experiencing some leaks, so now that source needs to be discovered and corrected.

The September 19th date stands per Pray Construction management.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pat Brown Takes a Tour

Pat Brown is the executive director of CURA and I recently extended Pat an invitation to take a tour. As Pat mentioned, its great that the building is being renovated, but notably it is great that the building will be the downtown day-time home to so many people which is just good for the downtown environment.

209 Capitol was purchased from the trust department of a bank by CURA essentially to keep the building from becoming a surface parking lot. Good move.

Isn't Construction Work Easy??

Construction is still a world that is full of some tough manual labor. Pictured above is superintendent Bob Settle's (at the left) "A Team". Bob is a lead by example kind of fellow, and here is the team taking a pause for a photo opportunity after completing the task of manually filling the stair pans with concrete.
Tough work.....and thankfully now complete for both stairs.
Great job team!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The 3 P's

Laura and I were had the pleasure of dining with some friends this weekend whose family has been in the automobile business in Charleston and Huntington for many years. When the patriarch was bringing the next generation along many years ago, he mentioned to be wary of the 3 P's regarding credit.....Politicians....Police...Preachers. However, there was one P that could always find the cash...the Prostitutes!

I thought that was worth sharing.

Completion Date September 19

Pray Construction has recently committed to a completion date of Friday, September 19. Over the years, Pray has developed a reputation for on-time delivery, so I do trust they will make it happen.

Stay tuned and find out how it goes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tour Sprinters and Breakaway Riders

I hope you've been making some time to see the tour this year. We're clearly seeing Mark Cavendish establish himself as one of the sport's all time great sprinters. 4 stages wins!

The local newspapers now report Will's place in the gc (general classification) standings, which to a degree misses the point. But I get it...the sport really is too tough to understand unless you grew up around it (as many Euros do) and/or raced at some level yourself as I did,

Assuming you don't fit either categories, and perhaps want to figure the sport out a bit, here is an interesting link from Saris that might be worth a read. (Topic is Tour Sprinters and Breakaway Riders).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mark Grigsby's Involvement in 209

I’ve been involved in this industry for over 30 years now and have interfaced with a lot of owners as a contractor/design-builder; I’ve represented a lot of owners and been an owner myself. Clearly, one of the dirty words from an owner’s point of view is the two words “change order”.

That’s understandable. I’ve seen very few owners that have an open check book. Money is always an issue. The goal of course is to go through the design/construction process and stay within the boundaries of tolerance for the deal. And, it is only good business that all parties in a transaction are rewarded fairly.

Most of the aspects of this project were relatively simple to project. However, one area that was quite difficult was the process and associated compensation for the demolition scope of work. So, we elected to perform this scope of work on a cost of the work basis. In effect, Pray Construction Company would not be at risk for the unknown, have no opportunity to disproportionately enrich themselves, and the owner assumes more risk.

Along the way, we discovered several structural defects with the building’s flooring system that required extensive repairs. Similarly this work moved forward on a cost of the work basis, plus a markup for the work. This put some pressure on the deal and made the administration of the contract (particularly from a financial point of view), heightened.

As clear as this all sounds now as I write them, there were different points of view of what the contract said and how it was or should be administered.

So…how to resolve this dispute? This is when character makes a difference and one of the great things for me is observing the leadership and character Mark Grigsby (Pray’s president and my successor) brings to the table. Mark steps up, gets involved, and helps craft a resolution to a brewing dispute that is fair for all.

I’ve told Mark this privately and now say it publicly; Pray Construction has a great leader with Mark Grigsby.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blogosphere...Trolling for work

I recall when I was growing up, there was no advertising by most professionals. I really don't have a comment about that one way or the other frankly. Seems like if you need an attorney, as an example, one ought to be able to look around as one would for any other type of service provider.


Checkout the above link. Put aside your thoughts and feelings about the plaintiff's bar for a moment, and review how effective this BLOG is. This is an effective way of checking out a firms expertise if you are in need of service.

Real Estate BLOG that may be of interest


Friday, July 11, 2008

iPhone arrives...camping out....other stuff

So, this week, in addition to my normal duties on 209 (getting furniture moving, negotiating details of various change orders, dealing with issues involved with this week's downpour), I have been swamped with Soaring Eagle Lodge.
So...I get to drive back and forth to Snowshoe on Tuesday and, as I'm carting all my stuff into my home around midnight, I inadvertently leave my cell phone on the roof of my car. Well, it pours all night and Razrs don't do well in water. Alright...fine. I've been eyeing the new iPhone anyway. So, I go to AT&T and visit with a sales rep. She brings up my record and tells me I can come up Friday and get a new one.
So, I'm up at Southridge at 6:30 am camping out! Clearly the oldest guy on line. Around 8:15 I make it in...pickout my accessories...but wait....you're a CORPORATE CLIENT.....we can't do this for you.
Hmmmm...thought this new phone was aimed at the business market.
But I was cool and I choose not to come back and open fire. Instead, my dear wife Laura spent 2.5 hours and got the deal done.
So....the photos are a shot at the line and the man is the fellow that showed up at 4:00 am.
Thought my readers would like to see him.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Will Frischkorn Second in stage, Third overall!!!!!!!!!!!


Cycling News will have tons of information. What a ride! Wow!!!!

General classification after stage 3

1 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel
2 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Barloworld 0.35
3 William Frischkorn (USA) Garmin Chipotle - H30 1.42
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1.45
5 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Columbia 1.46
6 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
7 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
8 David Millar (GBr) Garmin Chipotle - H30
9 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto
10 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas

See attached video.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Fire Service Line

Sometime in the recent past, the City of Charleston replaced the main fire service line located under Capitol Street. When the new line was installed, they also provided lateral taps to the building. So, what's going on here is the installation of a new line (exclusively for fire service) from the building to the saddle on the new fire service line. The reason this work is being performed is because the existing lateral will one day deteriorate and leak/break and then the repair takes place on the pipe's schedule, not ours.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Open Cell Spray Foam Insulation

The above photographs illustrate an open cell spray insulation known as Icynene. Icynene is a more expensive choice when compared to traditional fiberglass insulation, but in this building, it will provide a much more complete envelope and substantially reduce infiltration.
We theorize the savings in fuel costs will pay for the additional cost. Certainly, Icynene is high on the list of green products.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Have you tried No Assital??

No Assital is a great over the counter drug used by construction superintendents across America to ward off the potential impact from ass chewing a super can receive from a project or development manager.

Bob Settle, our very diligent superintendent, swears by the stuff and believes he has needed a ton of it to get thru this project.

I told him I'd share this hint with our readers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Indoor Air Quality

I was reminded today about how much our industry has changed over the past few years. Why you might ask?

As an example, today I stimulated and participated in a conference with the project’s environmental engineer (Chris Belcher with Pinnacle Environmental) . Now, I’m pretty sure 20 years ago environmental engineers worked in industrial engagements. I’m all but sure the concept of having a team member lead a thoughtful discussion about how to create an appropriate inside air environment would have never been an agenda item.

Today, we talked about dust control, protecting material (like duct work) from being contaminated during construction with dust or (heaven forbid) creating an environment for mold to prosper, relative humidity inside the building during construction and methods to manage, techniques for monitoring the same, how to protect gypsum board from creating a home for mold growth, appropriate carpet adhesives and so forth.

I’m sure we all end up with better buildings and this of course is a good thing. But the development teams of the past are a far cry from what the market wants/needs today.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Will Frischkorn goes to Le' Tour!!

Yesterday, Slipstream Sports ( rather Garmin-Chipotle) announced its Tour de France Team and it includes my friend and former West Virginian Will Frischkorn.

As the press release notes, Will is one of four Americans riding in Le Tour this year. I imagine this is the first West Virginian ever to ride in what is arguably the toughest endurance sporting event in the world.

I know Will reads this BLOG....from all your WV buddies Will....go get em'! What an honor.

Also, here is Will's BLOG. As noted, he'll be writing a daily journal for Velo News.

Also, see my March 22nd post.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Welcome Real Estate Resources

209 will be professionally managed by Real Estate Resources. A property manager manages all (or most) of the financial transactions with the building, manages vendors (janitors, window cleaners, elevator mechanics, HVAC guys, etc), prepares reports for investors, cleans away the snow, manages special events....and the list goes on.

RERI manages a lot of buildings in downtown and it is great to have them on board!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Major 209 Blogger Fan...Kent George

Kent (Kent is the managing member of Robinson & McElwee) and I spent a few tough days last week in Palm Beach attending a practice group meeting with attorneys and clients from around the country. (Alfa International).

This was a bit like drinking from a fire hose.

Most of my business friends would probably die if they heard may say this, but I've been reflecting on class action law suits. You know....there exists the potential that some contribution is being made to society by pursuing the potential wrong doing that has been levied on a group that singularly might not be able to do anything to right the wrong.

Checkout http://www.newsinferno.com/ which is the highest rated class action lawsuit according to Levick Strategic Communications. I had the pleasure to hear Richard Levick at the Alfa conference and he was a very strong.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Technical Preservation Service's Website

John Sandor from the Department of the Interior and Chris Knorr from State Preservation office, made an interesting presentation for the AIA chapter on Friday.

Checkout www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps for more information.


Have You Seen the Painted Wall?

So, I arrive at work this morning and this is what the parking lot attendant asked me. Of course, I immediately thought the worst.
No....he went on to sat how great it looks, and I could not agree more.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Great Article in Today's Paper

Link to Daily Mail Article....Bang it Here!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

North Wall

This is the so-called north wall, looking good after the installation of window openings. Painting will start soon.

McCrory's is Dead!!

What is notable about this photo is what it is missing...i.e. the McCrory's sign. I recall having a conversation with local historian Richard Andre about this building's history and he said "please stop letting people refer to this as the McCrory's building!" Richard...the sign is down! I'm doing my part.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Some of my Favorite Gals

OK....this was meant to be a weekend post (recall I can go off topic on weekends), but I didn't get around to it. I looked in the Blogger Handbook and it appears that one can sneak into Mondays with personal stuff "on occasion". So...check out...from the top...my granddaugther Zoe napping, Zoe with wife Laura, and Zoe with niece Michele. Being a grandpa is cool!
This is all from a recent visit to the Cincinnati area where son Josh goes to school (at UC engineering school) and daughter-in-law Judy is an elementary school teacher.