Friday, March 28, 2008

New Team Member

Acoustical considerations in most any type of building product deserve some sort of time and attention. I recall being in a physician’s examination room and being able to rather clearly understand what was going on in the adjacent examination room. Not good.

On the last project GBBN and I worked together on, Soaring Eagle Lodge, we engaged the services of Brian Kubicki with Acoustical Design Group. In a hospitality project like Soaring Eagle Lodge, you clearly need appropriate acoustical control between the rooms or downstream issues might emerge for the development team. In an office project, there are clear issues to address and I know Brian will bring a lot to the party. Interestingly, Tony and I were both considering an office to office detail that we had both seen designed in the past and Brian very matter of factly informed us that the referenced detail did not work….Hmmmmm….Glad Brian is on our team.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Will Frischkorn-Racing in Europe in breakaway

OK...well...this has nothing to do with 209 but I'm a friend of Will's and I thought, seeing how it was Sunday, I had some editorial right to go down this path. Will grew up in Charleston and now lives in Boulder. Checkout his BLOG

Here is an article about this race Milan-San Remo

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why BLOG??

I walked onto the job today and Bob the builder….see the post from March 19…asked me why did I set up this BLOG? Great question….and here is a short answer.

I truly enjoy what I do professionally for and with my clients. I’ve always been attracted to collaborative experiences and a BLOG is a way to express this passion to a broader audience and a way to involve the entire team in the experience as seen thru my eyes. So…sharing and connecting is somewhere on the map….be that real or imagined. (OK, I use Goggle analytics and I have a real solid idea how many folks are looking each day).

There is a marketing component to all of this. I have about as much work as I can handle at the moment, but who knows what intriguing project is lurking around out there. By reading this BLOG, you can begin to get a sense of the attention and scope of services.

I have imagined that this BLOG might inspire a bit higher level of performance. How’s that??…..well, with 50-60 people checking in every day, the word will get around if you are doing great work as I will make every attempt to spread the good word when it reveals itself to me. Work harder and smarter everyone!

Anyway…….that’s a start on WHY BLOG.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Who am I going to sue??

Pictured above are Brian Glasser and Chuck Little. Brian/Chuck and Ben Bailey were all together at Bowles Rice and left several years ago…I think around 1997, to start Bailey & Glasser. We just met to decide who will do the debt financing for 209. More about this in future posts.

So….about the title of this post. About 3 weeks ago I am hosting a meeting with the architect and contractor. Chuck Little (who was once an IRS investigator and has put his fair share of folks behind bars)…sits down and….as a conversation starter, says..”OK…if this deal screws up, who am I going to sue?”

Right…..thanks Chuck. My only answer was….not me!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Welcome Bob Settle!!

This is a photograph of the project superintendent Bob Settle taking the lead in the hand excavation of the elevator pit. Bob is a superior superintendent and this is a perfect job for him. Glad to have you on board Bob!

We are likely 90 percent complete with demolition. The walls around the staircase on the third floor have been removed as have the walls on the same staircase between 2 and three. We still have debris to remove from the basement as well as the existing stair that goes from the basement to floor two.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

209 and the WV Supreme Court

The internet is an amazing research tool, yes? In an attempt to learn more about Mr. Geary (the second owner of this building), I searched for Geary and unearthed a case from the West Virginia Supreme Court relative to the transfer of this piece of property in 1917. I’m sure very few readers would be interested to know what I learned about all of this, but the link is included just in case you want to do your own research.

In summary, the case revealed the building was occupied by Colonial Amusement, Diamond Shoe and Garment ( later known as The Diamond Department Store), and Cablish Brothers (Candy Makers). When Geary purchased the property in 1917, he immediately sold 75 feet to Mr. Butts so he could expand the Fleetwood Hotel. Butts and Geary were not sure of the quality of the title and so they basically asked the Supreme Court to affirm the quality of title.

Here’s the link if there are any students/historians out there.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Man on the Moon?

OK….this is not a shot of a man landing on another planet. This is a trained employee skillfully removing paint that had some trace amounts of lead in it, bagging it up and disposing of it properly. A building like 209 that has a history of over 100 years, will present a few opportunities for improvement in the world of environmental engineering. We have at least 2 groups to be concerned about…..the ultimate end user and the construction worker. So, we are looking for and achieving safety for both classes.

We’ve encountered asbestos in pipe insulation, floor tile, and mastic. We have a little bit of lead paint. There has been some remediation of mold. All going good and all anticipated in the development budget.

Below is Pray Construction’s fearless leader from the office world…Erich Reggi…a project manager at Pray who is also a stockholder. Obviously, he is not in the office in the shot below but assisting double checking a few critical dimensions.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hotel Fleetwood

The above article illustrates one of 209's neighbor's, the Fleetwood Hotel which was constructed in 1909. The Fleetwood has a place in history as the Charleston home of labor leader Mother Jones. The hotel had a major fire in 1936 after which it became a low rent hotel and closed in the early 1950's.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fire a part of early life downtown

We went to the premier of A Moving Monument this evening at the WV Cultural Center. This film reminded me once again of the prominent role that fire played in downtown environments in the latter part of the 19th and early/mid part of the 20th century and the role fire has played directly and indirectly in 209 Capitol.

The location of the WV Capitol moved a number of times and was once located on Capitol Street and was bounded by Washington and Lee and Capitol and Dickenson Street (this is where the old Kanawha Valley Bank Building, The Diamond Department Store, and Stone and Thomas were located). That building burnt on January 3, 1921 which caused the new Capitol Building to be constructed ( by architect Cass Gilbert and contractor The George A. Fuller Company) at its current location .

This cleared the way for the new Diamond Department store which of course was then housed in 209 Capitol. The building owner, Wehrle B. Geary then leased 209 to Kresges.

During the history of the building, 209 was damaged by fire on the north side by the Woolworth’s fire in 1949 and earlier on the south side by a fire in the adjacent hotel.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Procuring Debt Financing

I get a fair amount of questions about what it is I do.

One of the services I organize and have been involved with for the past several weeks involves the procurement of debt financing….which on this project involves the debt during construction and then ultimately the permanent debt. So, this service involves explaining the project in terms that debt financiers understand, such as a schedule of prospective cash flows and a schedule of sources and uses of capital.

I use a real estate modeling program known as Argus, and various models of this transaction have been on the table for well over a year. The final one was prepared today and will be tweaked tomorrow.

One of the sources of capital is Net Operating Income (NOI) that is driven by operating revenue and that is reflected in a lease. So, beyond the preparation of the financial projections, I also worked with outside counsel to structure the leases (which debt financiers would want to see). Too, I negotiated the contract for construction and then had that expressed in a contract and that too was sent along to the financiers.

So, we received proposals from 6 banks and they were all competitive. Now I am involved in understanding the final offerings from three banks and I suspect this whole process will conclude this week.

I have not been asked to obtain equity on this project, but I also have the ability to bring equity investors into a project.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spring in West Virginia

March 2 (Sunday) and it is absolutely beautiful in West Virginia. Thought a small human interest entry might be in order. Laura and I had a good walk this morning. Here she is with our senior German Shepherd (Darcy) brushing out some winter hair.