Face Off: Adaptability is par for the course for these development leaders

Face Off: Adaptability is par for the course for these development leaders

By: Max Crampton Thomas

Patrick Lee

Andrew Burnett

3 min read August 2020 Although there have been major roadblocks stemming from the pandemic that have created some slowdown, development in South Florida has continued to show a steadfast resilience and adaptability as projects around the region have remained on a path toward completion. For companies within the construction and development sectors, there is an understanding that being adaptable to the communities’ changing needs is just par for the course. While the future may be uncertain, it’s important to keep a cautiously optimistic attitude. Invest: spoke with both Shorecrest Construction President Patrick Lee and Senior Principal for Stantec Andrew Burnett about their companies’ major developmental successes over the last year, the constantly shifting industry landscape and their best estimations of what the future may hold. 

What are some recent landmarks for your business in the Miami-Dade region? 

Patrick Lee: The main markets Shorecrest Construction focuses on are hospitality, boutique commercial and luxury residential. In the last few years, all of these markets have been extremely strong. We just completed the renovation of the Soho Beach House in Miami Beach, which included the refreshment of guestrooms and suites, bar areas and gym to keep guests engaged and coming back. In luxury residential, a mainstay market for us, we build high-end homes on the water and complete condo interiors in some of the most prominent South Florida neighborhoods. Shorecrest works closely with well-known architects and designers to bring their concepts to life. We just finished the penthouse at the Four Seasons Surf Club designed by Holly Hunt. In the last few years, we have gotten a stronger foothold in those markets.

Andrew Burnett: Recent landmark projects in full swing include Wynwood Square, a 12-story mixed-use facility that includes apartments and retail space; the 30-story YotelPAD Miami condo and hotel project under construction; and a 43-story Luma tower in Miami’s Worldcenter. And there are a lot of new projects to be announced soon and currently coming on board. Each asset within our portfolio contributes to our growth in the creative services space, beyond architecture and interior design, but also engineering and resilience. We think beyond traditional physical traits and focus on how our vast team builds our communities and what we create so there is continuity in our lives and the spaces we inhabit and to ensure that we protect diversity and creative thinking. We call it cultural resilience. 

Have you seen more cognizant efforts toward building for the future with sustainability in mind? 

Lee:  From a climate change perspective, we have been building at a higher elevation, which has been mostly code-driven. Having said that, we have worked on projects where our client has voluntarily built higher than the codes require. Miami Beach has been extremely aggressive in its efforts to raise sea walls to deal with issues stemming from sea level rise. As far as our clients, everybody is technologically savvy, so a lot of the smart home amenities that were reserved for the elite level of homes are becoming a more common feature in homes. We find a lot of our younger clients, in particular, prefer that kind of addition.

Burnett: There is a significant level of agreement across the industry related to what we are facing and where we need to go. It is only a matter of how and there are varying perspectives to harness. Our government agencies, utilities, partners, clients, insurance agencies and lenders all commonly understand the need to mitigate prevalent risks and maintain our quality of life. There is power in the collective movement and I am optimistic about our future and path. 

What does the rest of the year look like for your company?

Lee: Shorecrest has a couple of projects that will still happen as well as some ongoing projects that are still running, including a condominium at the Continuum South Beach and several single-family residences in South Florida. We have two luxury clubs and restaurants right on Miami Beach and the owners of those projects are still very bullish on the construction. I think there will be more of an influx of people who have been coming into Miami from the Northeast because they no longer want to live in such dense cities and prefer to live in a place like Florida. I predict that there will be a recovery in Miami relatively quickly. 

Burnett: We have been quite busy, which is a reflection of the busy private development market. Projects are moving forward and the entire development community is gearing up for when the play button is pressed. In 2009, during the H1N1 outbreak, we established a pandemic committee, granting us an effective way to respond quickly to the pandemic and set up a remote work setting. Fast forward to today: Our productivity levels have allowed us to meet established deadlines and keep projects moving forward, continuing business as usual. Our current outlook for 2021 does not project significant levels of interruption. We want to continue to support that in any way we can. 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.stantec.com/en

https://shorecrestgc.com/

 

 

Spotlight On: Andrew Burnett, Senior Principal, Stantec

Spotlight On: Andrew Burnett, Senior Principal, Stantec

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read June 2020 —Global design and engineering firm Stantec likes to think beyond traditional traits to focus on building communities,  Senior Principal Andrew Burnett told Invest: Miami in an interview. The company goal is to deliver continuity while protecting diversity and creative thinking. Stantec calls it “cultural resilience.”

 

 

What recent Stantec landmarks in the Miami-Dade region would you like to share? 

Recent landmark projects in full swing include Wynwood Square, a 12-story mixed-use facility that includes apartments and retail space; the 30-story YotelPAD Miami condo and hotel project under construction; and a 43-story Luma tower in Miami’s Worldcenter. And there are a lot of new projects to be announced soon and currently coming on board. Each asset within our portfolio contributes to our growth in the creative services space, beyond architecture and interior design, but also engineering and resilience. We think beyond traditional physical traits and focus on how our vast team builds our communities and what we create so there is continuity in our lives and the spaces we inhabit and to ensure that we protect diversity and creative thinking. We call it cultural resilience. 

How has your emphasis on cultural resilience unlocked your success? 

From a business perspective, a model that focuses on a single person is inherently limited to that individual. Whereas a business with tremendous expertise and resources in multiple channels, like Stantec, focuses on collaboration and the bandwidth to achieve more. When we empower people and foster collaboration, we are able to affect more positive change, get more involved in opportunities and better affect our clients’ bottom line. 

How would you rate local industry efforts on environmental resilience? 

There is a significant level of agreement across the industry related to what we are facing and where we need to go. It is only a matter of how and there are varying perspectives to harness. Our government agencies, utilities, partners, clients, insurance agencies and lenders all commonly understand the need to mitigate prevalent risks and maintain our quality of life. There is power in the collective movement and I am optimistic about our future and path. 

What opportunities and innovations can we expect from the post-COVID-19 period? 

There is a shift of trust and working in a different way. It may pose opportunities to bring in industry experts who normally could not access a project in South Florida. Now, they can have an influence and we can tap into knowledge we may not have been able to tap into before. Companies can even attract a different type of workforce that we could not attract before by operating with new flexibility. Also, we take proximity for granted and do not always make the best use of our time because of it. When it is an amenity or a luxury, you make better use of it. 

What will 2020-21 look like for Stantec and Miami-Dade? 

We have been quite busy, which is a reflection of the busy private development market. Projects are moving forward and the entire development community is gearing up for when the play button is pressed. In 2009, during the H1N1 outbreak, we established a pandemic committee, granting us an effective way to respond quickly to the pandemic and set up a remote work setting. Fast forward to today: Our productivity levels have allowed us to meet established deadlines and keep projects moving forward, continuing business as usual. Our current outlook for 2021 does not project significant levels of interruption. We want to continue to support that in any way we can. 

To learn more, visit: 

https://www.stantec.com/en

 

 

Spotlight On: Diane H. Crews, President & CEO, Orlando Sanford International Airport

Spotlight On: Diane H. Crews, President & CEO, Orlando Sanford International Airport

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Since 1971, the Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) has been fulfilling its mission to bring convenient air travel to passengers and economic value to Central Florida. Today, SFB is one of the fastest-growing airports in North America, and it’s undergoing an expansion effort that will be completed late this year. SFB’s President and CEO, Diane H. Crews, spoke to the Invest: team about their recent accomplishments. 

What is the status of the renovation project, and what changes are being implemented?

Our terminal expansion project is on schedule for completion in the fourth quarter of 2020. Basically, we are taking the existing footprint of the airport and making it more efficient and user-friendly for passengers and staff alike. Also, we are continuing to grow, and we know that maybe 10 years down the road we will need a new terminal building, but in the meantime, we need to facilitate our ongoing growth so we are adding four new gates and related improvements. For example, we are consolidating screening into one location, creating more way-finding signage and pathways to help passengers get to their destinations with more ease, adding more bathrooms and baggage belts, and even changing the façade of the airport to include an extended canopy to keep people out of the rain. We want our visitors to always feel comfortable while they travel. Our airport code is SFB, which we have adopted as a motto to mean Simpler, Faster, Better. It is important that the changes we’re making reflect this ideology. That’s what sets us apart. 

To what do you attribute the significant passenger growth you have been experiencing?

I attribute the passenger growth to increased public awareness, getting the word out and letting people know we are here and that we offer over 75 nonstop destinations. The growth of the region has had a significant impact as well. We bring our passengers an easy and convenient experience overall, and that is very appealing. The Orlando Sanford International Airport has been used mostly for leisure travel, especially because our flights do not have the frequency that business travelers need. However, that is starting to change. We are seeing more business travel, and we are going to be working toward increasing that component of our operation. 

What has been the impact of your rebranding and new website?

The primary emphasis for the airport’s rebranding and new website was to modernize our appeal and accessibility. Based on the feedback we have received thus far, we have hit a homerun in both areas. The focus on travel convenience and a myriad of affordable and diverse travel opportunities showcased via an updated, mobile-friendly website has proven to be a winning combination. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Orlando Sanford International Airport: https://flysfb.com/ 

Face Off: The growth of Gaston County

Face Off: The growth of Gaston County

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020 — In the last few years, Gaston County, located an hour away from the Queen City, has greatly benefited from the activity happening in Mecklenburg County. As a result, Gaston County, home to cities like Gastonia and Mount Holly, is experiencing growth in its residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Its proximity to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport and available land make it a suitable place for businesses and new residents to settle in and still tap into the energy of nearby Charlotte. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, city of Gastonia Mayor Walker E. Reid and Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough talk about how their perspective cities are adapting to the growth, changes in infrastructure, and their vision for their cities moving forward. 

 

What areas are witnessing growth in your cities?

 

Walker E. Reid: Residential is growing in the southeast part of the city. It is an area we invested in a while back in hopes of developing it. As we speak, 411 single-family homes are being built within Nolen Farm. Also, we are going to bolster the zone’s water infrastructure and improve the sewage system. Eastridge Mall is in the process of being revitalized as well. For this project, some investors are willing to inject between $100 million and $150 million. It will include apartments and an aquatic center. We are working on the details of traffic patterns in and out of the mall. We are also working with the Transportation Commission to get the Silverline light rail into Gaston County.

 

Bryan Hough: We are one of the closest cities to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Our proximity to the airport provides an opportunity for travelers and professionals to see Mount Holly and take an interest in the city. They’ll see that we have a small town atmosphere but can take advantage of a large place like Charlotte and the amenities they provide. The exposure the airport provides is good for job growth and opportunities for commercial growth. For 2020, we expect to see more investment coming to Mount Holly. We are going to see additional growth in both residential and commercial. We also plan to expand the greenway system. Our arts community has been blossoming and we expect it to continue to grow. 

Walker E. Reid

How is the local infrastructure dealing with the region’s growth?

 

Reid: The county was traditionally and primarily focused on the textile industry. When those businesses and jobs were lost, we had to adapt to find our next business niche, which turned out to be infrastructure. Now, we sell water to municipalities in Gaston County as well as in Clover, South Carolina. We also provide water, sewage and electricity services. The Gastonia Technology Park is a great testament to our diversification efforts. Businesses from all over the world have come to Gaston County to capitalize on this park. It has 24-hour uninterrupted power. We have a qualified workforce, training facilities and the infrastructure to assist new businesses looking to set up shop in Gastonia.

 

Hough: “Mount Holly, located in Gaston County, is home to 16,000 residents. In the past year, we have seen a lot of investor interest and development in Mount Holly. Investors in the manufacturing and distribution sectors are interested in development opportunities. We have a new hotel being built on the edge of our city, off of Interstate 85, which is connected to Charlotte, and is 10 minutes away from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Our economic development department created a strategic vision plan based on significant economic input that highlights the attributes of Mount Holly, and provides investment information for businesses that want to bring their operations to the area. We work with the Gaston County Economic Development Commission to attract and retain large commercial companies. We want to make investment information accessible to investors.  

Bryan Hough

As mayor, where do you see your city heading in the future?

 

Reid: We have set some very aggressive goals related to our infrastructure, healthy communities, good government, economic vitality, our community identity, and for the safety of our community. In the coming years, we will continue to build on our momentum of growth and entrepreneurship. We also must continue to bring everyone to the table because we are a diverse city. One other goal that I would like to see the city work toward is for more diversity and inclusion. I want to put more emphasis on getting our residents from different cultures and different age groups involved in our city’s future – to build a sense of belonging and bring everyone together. Let’s hear more and different voices. I want the city of Gastonia to become the best city we can possibly be. Considering we are between Charlotte and Atlanta, we have a lot to offer.

 

Hough: Quality of life has been a key focus for the city. We want to be connected to the Catawba River via a greenway system that we are developing. We will have around 9 miles of greenway development near the river and 200 acres have been preserved for eco-tourism, such as canoeing and kayaking. We will have a bridge near the Dutchman’s Creek greenway area that will help with development near the river. The greenway system will stretch from I-85 to Highway 16 once it is completed. Mount Holly is home to very active residents who like to swim, bike and kayak. We want to connect with nature, which is part of our logo. That is our niche in the Charlotte Metro Area.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.cityofgastonia.com/

https://www.mtholly.us/

Spotlight On: Liz Babson, Director, Charlotte Department of Transportation

Spotlight On: Liz Babson, Director, Charlotte Department of Transportation

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read November 2019 — As Charlotte continues to grow, the Department of Transportation is looking at ways to improve and innovate its transportation system. The department has been keen on leveraging capital investment with private development to build a safe transportation network for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Safety is a top priority for the department heading into 2020, said Liz Babson, director of the Department of Transportation, in an interview with Invest: Charlotte.    

How has Charlotte’s transportation system kept up with economic growth in the past decade?

 

“Charlotte, like other major cities, is experiencing economic growth and is seeing the effects of that in its transportation system. We have seen congestion increase throughout the community. The city must look at multiple ways to solve and manage its transportation system. We put a lot of investment in transit and other transportation improvements and continue to manage  congestion. In the last decade, we have seen a shift in the way we look at transportation investment throughout the city, not just on the transit side but making sure we are connecting our networks, such as our walkways and bikeways, and giving people a choice when they travel throughout the city. We are making a major shift from traditional roadway projects and single occupancy vehicles.”  

 

What is the state of the transportation system in Charlotte?

 

“In the last few years, the state legislature was changed to reprioritize transportation investment throughout North Carolina. As a result, there is a tremendous amount of investment at the state level that is coming to Charlotte. Some $3.2 billion in state transportation investment is earmarked for this city. Those are projects that will improve the freeway systems throughout North Carolina. As your capacity increases in those facilities, it gives people more travel options to use Charlotte’s surface streets for local, short trips. We then have more capacity at the surface street level to improve the transportation system for cyclists and pedestrians.”  

 

How is the Department of Transportation working with the private sector to speed up projects in Charlotte?

 

“We work to find ways to align our capital investment to where we know new development or redevelopment is happening. The Camp North End project north of Uptown and the River District are good examples where we anticipated the type of development and redevelopment we want to see happen and set aside capital investment dollars to partner up with investors and developers. It allows us to see projects developed quicker. The challenge is finding equitable and balanced ways to do that. We have always tried to be strategic with our partnerships; sometimes the private side is faster and more efficient.”    

 

How is the Department of Transportation working with the community as Charlotte continues to grow?

 

“We are developing our 2040 Comprehensive Plan. We are engaging the community, elected officials and private partners in a way that we have not done before to look at how we want to grow as a community and how we will do that. We are engaging the community as we have those conversations, so they can understand the challenges and how we can work together as we head into the future. We are having those tough conversations in a meaningful way. This is an important undertaking for the city. It will be transformational for the city from an organizational structure and how we do our work and engage the community.” 

 

How is the Department of Transportation using technology to improve transit operations?

 

“We have close to 850 traffic signals and close to 350 miles of fibers that communicate with 90% of those signals. From one central location, we can change signal timing for the entire city. That fiber infrastructure also manages our traffic camera system, which is comprised of around 450 cameras located throughout the city. It’s a shared system. We work very closely with the police and fire departments. Together we can make on the spot decisions that improve emergency response times and help get the roads cleared faster when there are bigger problems. We have the infrastructure in place to test and implement new smart traffic technologies. We are looking at the possibility of leveraging the connected traffic system with people’s smartphones to share information from the traffic signal operations with pedestrians who want to know when the bus is coming or commuters who want to know when the traffic lights will change. Those are the kinds of things we are starting to look at.”  

 

What are the Department of Transportation’s priorities heading into 2020?

 

“We are working to do road projects that are transformational, as well as small, safety improvements to expand our safe and efficient transportation system for our cyclists and pedestrians. We are a Vision Zero city and are working toward no deaths or serious injuries on our streets by 2030. The goal allows us to take a data-driven approach when it comes to capital investments. We are continuously looking for opportunities to leverage private development with capital investment to build a safe transportation network. There is a real intentional focus to improve the safety of our cyclists and pedestrians.”  

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://charlottenc.gov/Transportation/

ATLNext Targets New Heights

By Sara Warden

 

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 For the 21st consecutive year, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport was named the world’s busiest airport this month. With passenger traffic of over 107 million in 2018, the airport continues to serve as a major economic driver of the city. Capital Analytics took a closer look at the characteristics that make the airport the world’s transport hub.

ATL is the state of Georgia’s largest employer, generating 63,000 direct on-site jobs and creating an estimated $34.8 billion economic impact for Metro Atlanta – or almost 7% of total state GDP. The 47,000-acre Hartsfield-Jackson facility has 263 concessions, 193 gates, seven concourses, five runways and the tallest control tower in North America, coming in at 121m.

“It’s a complex operation,” Airport General Manager John Selden told How Stuff Works. “One little piece going astray can cause massive chain-reaction ramifications. To keep the complexity of this operation running smoothly, it takes a village.”

But to keep operations running smoothly, the airport must constantly keep up with growing passenger numbers through more and more expansions. “As you look at passenger flow over time, it’s always trying to eliminate the bottleneck,” Tom Nissalke, the airport’s assistant general manager of planning told How Stuff Works. “Sometimes, when you fix one bottleneck then it’s another bottleneck somewhere else.” 

In 2016, the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport unveiled ATLNext, a $6 billion capital investment in the continuous expansion of existing infrastructure. By 2022, a total of $1.9 billion is to be invested in the modernization of the central passenger terminal, which will include aesthetic renovations that involve landscaping and lighting, as well as the extension of Concourse T to add five new gates and the addition of 10 new gates to Concourse G.

To accommodate growing air traffic, $1.3 billion will be invested in airfield upgrades that include a sixth runway, slated to be completed by 2034. Investments in auxiliary services such as parking and a mixed-use hotel and office space development are also planned. Air cargo facility upgrades will come in at around $200 million.

“The infrastructure has to keep up with the growth,” Selden said to Reporter Newspapers. “We cannot turn into [New York’s secondary airport] LaGuardia. My goal and my team’s goal is to do everything we can to work with everybody that we need to [in order to] ensure that Hartsfield-Jackson is not a limiting factor on the growth of the Atlanta region.”

The investment is a joint venture between the public and private sector. A consortium of three companies – CH2M Hill (since acquired by Jacobs), RohadFox and Parsons Transportation Group – won the contract to carry out the ambitious expansion. Overall, PPPs are an innovative idea in airport projects, but could be the future, allowing the public sector to free up funds for other priorities. “I think we’ll see other examples where other companies get involved. And gradually, familiarity builds, and it won’t seem outlandish at some later date when the subject of the whole airport comes up,” said Robert Poole, director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

http://next.atl.com/

https://reason.org/

http://www.rohadfox.com/

http://www.jacobs.com/ 

https://www.parsonsgroup.co.uk/

Philly Life Science Leaders Boosting Infrastructure, Partnerships

by Yolanda Rivas

 

2 min read July 2019 — With more than 800 related companies and a rich network of health and education systems, the life sciences sector in Greater Philadelphia is growing at a steady pace. All the activity is driving local organizations to develop new infrastructure and local partnerships to cater the burgeoning segment. One prime example: uCity Square 

“There’s nothing like it right now in the Philadelphia region,” Steve Zarrilli, president and CEO of the University City Science Center, told Invest:. A community for entrepreneurs and innovators, uCity Square is an example of the recent efforts to connect businesses, residents, institutions and innovators to form a growing hub in Philadelphia.“Spark Therapeutics and Invisible Sentinel are two of the companies located in University City, and we recently announced that Amicus Therapeutics is creating one of its research centers here as well. These and other companies at uCity Square will play a significant role in the growth of Philadelphia’s life sciences sector,” Zarilli said. 

More than 80 percent of all companies in the life sciences industry have a presence in the Greater Philadelphia region. As stated in Invest: Philadelphia 2019, health-focused sectors provided an economic impact of $88.5 billion for Pennsylvania in 2016 and an economic output of $24.6 billion total between 2011 and 2016 for the Greater Philadelphia region.

Numerous research, biotech and medical devices organizations contribute to the role of life sciences as a key player in Philadelphia’s economy. The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is an example of that impact, with more than 3,400 people employed at its Upper Providence research and development facility. According to GSK Vice President of Medicine Opportunities Research Unit David Payne, the site is the company’s hub for pharmaceutical R&D in the United States, and represents 40% of its global pharmaceutical R&D workforce. 

As part of its efforts to contribute to the local life sciences sector, GSK continues to look for partnerships and alliances. “We want our U.S. R&D hub at Upper Providence to be a magnet for talented scientists, researchers and physicians. This is a great research center for innovators to build their careers. Every function required in the ‘molecule to medicine’ journey is represented at our hub, providing opportunities for employees to broaden their R&D knowledge and enable career progression and diversification,” Payne said.

Besides the demand for qualified professionals, there is also a need for infrastructure development to support the region’s scientists, entrepreneurs and life sciences companies. As Zarrilli explains, the Science Center’s goal is “to build an additional 3 million square feet of office, lab, residential and retail space over the next seven to 10 years, to further define the leading-edge community we envision at uCity Square. We will do our part to help make Philadelphia a leader in gene therapy and other areas of life sciences.”

As the growth in Philadelphia’s life sciences sector continues, it will impact different areas and draw more entrepreneurs and companies to the region. According to Zarrilli, the advances in the life sciences arena, especially in therapeutics, will lead to additional advancement in areas such as medical devices and digital health. “Life sciences is clearly the strongest area of innovation in Philadelphia, but it will spawn activity in other areas that are complementary.”  

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:

University City Science Center: https://sciencecenter.org/ 

GlaxoSmithKline: https://us.gsk.com/en-us/ 

uCity Square: https://ucitysquare.com/