ATLANTA, GA – GreenbergFarrow, an international architecture, engineering, planning, and development services firm, today announced the hiring of two new Directors: Tao Wang and Tianyi Gu. Based in the firm's Shanghai office, Mr. Wang and Mr. Gu were hired to spearhead GreenbergFarrow’s Shanghai operation.
Mr. Gu and Mr. Wang both have over 16 years of architectural design, and management experience in both Europe and China. Prior to joining GreenbergFarrow, Mr. Wang worked as a Studio Leader in a top 10 international multi-disciplinary design company and Mr. Gu worked as the Director in the largest architectural design practice in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Wang will lead GreenbergFarrow's Shanghai architectural team, and Mr. Gu will focus on expanding the company’s clientele. "Tao Wang and Tianyi Gu are the perfect fit at the right time for GreenbergFarrow,” said President and CEO Essie Ghadrdan. “As the economy in China continues to improve, we expect the growth of our practice to accelerate, and Tao and Tianyi will be a crucial part of making that effort successful. We are fortunate to have them on the team.”
Since their arrival, GreenbergFarrow has added an additional fifteen employees to their Shanghai team. To date, their office has completed over thirty architectural and master planning projects, including six developments that are each over 1.5 million square feet in size.
High-rise towers have been changing Downtown Brooklyn's skylines, but renters in the area who are looking to live in a building with Old World charm will have their chance when the Offerman House opens in the spring.
The landmark-designated building at 248 Duffield Street, which sits on an oddly shaped lot at Fulton Street, is named after Henry Offerman, the president of the Brooklyn Sugar Refining Company who commissioned the structure. The building's current owners, United American Land, is turning the top five floors into 121 apartments, while leasing the lower floors to retail tenants, which currently include Nordstrom Rack and Old Navy.
There will be studios to three-bedrooms available for $2,900 to $5,000 per month, many with 15 foot ceilings and oversize windows, according to David J. Maundrell III, the executive vice president for new development in Brooklyn and Queens at Citi Habitats, which is handling the leasing.
Built between 1890 and 1893, the Romanesque Revival building housed many commercial tenants, but its most famous was Martin's Department Store, which operated there for more than 50 years until closing in 1979. Known for its bridal wear, the store was considered a high-end counterpart to the Abraham & Strauss department store across the street, which now is a Macy's.
"It wasn't as fancy as Saks Fifth Avenue, but it was close," said Barbara Shernoff, a Brooklyn Height resident who has shopped on Fulton Street since the late 1960s. "I remember all the beautiful dresses, shoes and coats, but i loved the jewelry."
Fulton Street has been a shopping corridor for more than 150 years and today has more than 100,000 shoppers daily, according to the Fulton Mall Improvement Association. Many buildings along the street date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Duffield Street is also called Abolitionist Place, in honor of those who helped run the Underground Railroad that ran along the street.
The current downtown landscape has housing, offices, schools and residences right on top of each other. There are about 6,000 rental units under construction in the area, according to the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, but Mr. Maundrell said the "historical authenticity" of the building will draw tenants when leasing starts in February.
"This is not your cookie-cutter residential tower," he said.
Adele Perera, a senior project manager at GreenbergFarrow, the architecture firm restoring the building, said she was shocked to find an interior rotunda and skylight about 30 feet in diameter hiding behind various building materials.
"There were so many amazing features that had been covered up, so it took time to bring it back to it original glory," she said.
Some loft units that were carved out of the main showroom areas will have platform floors, with trundle storage underneath, she said. Cast-iron columns were restored and wood rafters were reclaimed for flooring in the common areas.
The rooftop lounge will have a fire pit, grills, a lawn area, and a large movie screen, said Jody Laboz, a principal of United American Land. He said turning the building into a condominium was not an option, because the building was bought by his father in 1980 and has sentimental value.
"There are details here that you don't see in other building," he said. "It is an asset that we'd like to keep in our family."
The restoration of the historic structures on Fulton Street, which include the former Dime Saving Bank and Macy's building, is emblematic of what Downtown Brooklyn has become, said Regina Myer, the president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
"All these building being retrofitted for homes or offices signals how exciting this area has become," she said. It shows there's quality of life in a high-density area."
On July 28th, Zhuhai Yuchengxin Technology Corporation broke ground on their latest mixed-use development, Hengqin Island, located in the cosmopolitan city of Zhuhai, in the Southern province of Guangdong, China. With dignitaries from the Zhuhai Government in attendance, the groundbreaking ceremony marked the construction of this 680,000 square feet development designed by GreenbergFarrow. Hengqin Island’s program will encompass luxury residential units, Class A office space, and high end retail which is set for completion by 2018.
GreenbergFarrow’s innovative design looks to perfectly balance the relationship between technology, sustainability and site location. This is accomplished by utilizing a system of terraces and overhangs that provide shading and green roofs throughout the entire design. This Urban Oasis most striking aspect is the one of a kind sky bridge, located roughly 200 feet in the air and will span the entire length of the site. This element was designed to be a “living bridge”, containing various amenities including a private club, infinity edge pool and observation deck, giving its occupants spectacular views of the entire island as well as nearby Macau. The underside of the bridge will have the latest in LED technology, allowing the bridge to uniquely display light shows and animations.
The project is divided into two sections, with lower height townhomes and retail scaled to meet the pedestrian traffic at the street level. The higher scale 325-feet tall towers will be set back from the street. These two sections will be linked with a connective tissue of inner courts, retail pavilions and a unique clubhouse building, all of which are wrapped in green landscaped areas. All three towers will have floor to ceiling glass to take full advantage of the spectacular views surrounding the site.
The project contains 335,0000 square-feet of residential program, 215,000 square-feet of office, and 130,000 square-feet of retail.
• Total Development: 680,000 sf • Residential: 335,000 sf • Office: 215,000 sf • Retail: 130,000 sf • Total Height 325 ft • GreenbergFarrow Services: Architecture • Client: Zhuhai Yuchengxin Technology Corporation
Earlier this year, an alert YIMBY reader spotted a commercial building being transformed into a residential project in Long Island City. Today, we have a look at the planned final product.
The Hakimian Organization, which is converting the two-story office building at 33-01 38th Avenue into a six-story, 94-unit residence, has revealed a rendering of their project. When complete, the gray and brick building will encompass 65,916 square feet of residential space, per Department of Buildings filings. That works out to about 700 square feet per unit.
There will be 10 apartments on the first floor, plus a unit split between the first floor and a mezzanine level. Floors two through five will have 19 apartments each and the sixth floor will have five apartments. There will be outdoor terraces on floors two and six and the roof, while the basement also has space for amenities including a lounge, game room and exercise room.
The building is located on the northern edge of Long Island City in Dutch Kills. It is about a block from the M/R station at 36 Street and Northern Boulevard and not far from the N/Q station at 39th Avenue and 31st Street.
The Hakimian Organization purchased the property for $14 million in 2014. GreenbergFarrow is the architect.
Hakimian states online that the building is set to be complete next year.
A recent road study has city officials seeing green.
Bella Vista has roughly 292 miles of roads in "good condition," as defined by architectural/engineering firm GreenbergFarrow, Alderman John Flynn said.
Flynn presented the firm's findings Monday, May 11, at the City Council's work session. In March, aldermen approved a $37,000 contract with GreenbergFarrow, which has an office in Bentonville, to provide "pavement distress data collection services," according to the agreement.
"(GreenbergFarrow) felt pretty good about (the results)," Flynn said. "Just (looking) at the map, that's a lot of green."
As chairman of the Streets Committee, Flynn and the rest of the committee have been working with Michael Morgan, a consultant at GreenbergFarrow, to assess the conditions of the city's streets and develop a plan to carry out repairs.
"We use a government-issued rating system (to measure and obtain) pavement condition index and break that down into color codes," Morgan said. There are four levels of ratings: green (good), yellow (fair), orange (critical) and red (lost).
"It's a good, economical way to get a real quick summary (of the streets)," Morgan said, adding that there are plans to incorporate an inventory system so the city can track repairs and performances of its roadways.
It took about a month to drive the more than 500 miles of roads in Bella Vista, video, photograph and then catalog them, Flynn said. About 53 percent of the streets are in good condition, meaning they don't need immediate action, Morgan said. Yellow streets account for 164 miles. There are 19 miles of orange roads.
And to the council's delight, only 3.3 miles were designated in red (lost). There are about 71 combined miles of unimproved and abandoned roads, according to the report. Morgan said unimproved roads are composed of either gravel or dirt, while abandoned roads are do not carry daily traffic and lack surrounding development.
Morgan said the difference between a critical road and lost road amounts to a cost-benefit analysis. "If you have a road that is lost, it would cost more to fill the potholes and cut out the sections that have structural damage, than it would be to go ahead and rebuild those roads," Morgan said. Flynn said the orange (critical) roads might need immediate action in order to prevent them from slipping into red. However, bids for roads in need of repair were sent out before the study was performed, Flynn said.
"(Street Department superintendent) Mike Button was already in the process of (repairing those roads)," Flynn said. "Generally, Mike's roads matched up with (GreenbergFarrow's) map." The chip-and-seal system was heavily utilized to build roads in Bella Vista, Flynn said. The process ultimately amounts to a road that is "better than a gravel road but less than an asphalt road," Flynn said.
"You can tell when you're on a chip-and-seal road," Flynn added. "It's not real smooth. A lot of (chip and seal) roads were overlaid with asphalt."
According to the Federal Highway Department, the chip and seal technique is best for rural or "low-volume" roads.
"(There is a) structural advantage to asphalt," Morgan said. "For roads without a lot of traffic, chip and seal is cheaper, and it may last. It's all about the structure of what's underneath the road. Some might have to be retouched every five years. And with very little traffic and (the road) stays dry, it may last longer. Preventative maintenance is always encouraged."
However, Bella Vista's unique topography, coupled with a population boom over the last 30 years, has wreaked havoc on the chip-and-seal roads. The amount of stress put on the roads by semi-trucks hasn't helped either, Morgan said.
Mayor Peter Christie said he was delighted to hear that over half of the city's roads were in good condition, but noted that tackling the fair and critical roads would by costly.
"Take the (fair and critical) roads and that's 183 miles," Christie said. "It costs roughly $70,000 per mile. That's a total of 12.8 million -- a hefty number."
Christie said a tax bond might be issued to pay for road improvements. No matter what, though, Christie said the constituents will be involved.
"This (data) is the first step," he said. "We're not going to casually toss this out there. It's serious business and serious money. The constituents will have the final say."
For now, Flynn plans to keep up the project's momentum. He mentioned compiling a five-year plan for the streets, similar to what Christie requested of the fire and police departments.
"(The Streets Committee's) task is to figure out what to do about the fair or the critical (roads)," Flynn said. "Maybe some maintenance to keep good ones good for a longer period of time. We're going to dig into the details and figure out an approach to the data."
The Streets Committee is composed of Flynn, Button and citizen volunteers Rory Crivello, Rick Neal and Al Langley. The committee meets at 3 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month in the conference room at City Hall.
GreenbergFarrow, an architectural, engineering, planning, and development consulting firm, recently opened its twelfth U.S. office in the Philadelphia region to serve the needs of its growing client base.
“One of the keys to our success has been the ability to open offices that support our clients’ needs within those markets wherever they are experiencing growth,” said the firm’s president, Essie Ghadrdan. This strategic approach started in early 1980s, when the firm expanded nationwide, opening offices in key regions to support Home Depot’s rapid growth.
According to principal, Keith Johnston, “Our Philadelphia area office, located in King of Prussia, will initially provide civil engineering and development services to support IKEA, Panda Express, Speedway and other clients within that area." With established offices in New York City and Somerset, New Jersey, Johnston adds, “An office in the Philadelphia area has long been part of our growth plans for this key market which includes the entire Mid-Atlantic region, especially since more and more of our clients are either located there or are expanding into it. As our clients’ needs dictate, we may also expand our services here to include architecture and other disciplines, but it’s always one step at a time.”
Established in 1974, GreenbergFarrow is a full-service architectural, engineering, planning, and development services firm with 12 offices nationwide, as well as international offices in Shanghai and Mexico City. The firm’s broad spectrum of services range from pre-development zoning and land use studies to architectural and engineering design, project management and construction administration. The firm specializes in large-scale retail and urban mixed-use developments; national and international specialty retail and restaurant roll-out programs; and, mid and high-rise luxury residential developments. A sample of GreenbergFarrow’s prominent development clients includes The Related Companies, Forest City Ratner, Toll Brothers and Vornado Realty Trust. Select retail clients include IKEA, Gap Inc., L Brands, Whole Foods Market, The Home Depot, Michaels, Speedway, Panda Express, Murphy USA, Clean Energy, and Texas Roadhouse.
Liz Cole, an award-winning designer with more than 20 years of experience in providing planning, design and implementation services for a wide variety of public and private sector clients, has joined Atlanta-based GreenbergFarrow as Senior Project Manager. Ms. Cole’s responsibilities include expanding the firm’s Planning and Landscape Architecture Department, as well as providing design services to new and existing clients throughout the U.S. and abroad. She will be based in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Liz is the perfect fit at the right time for our firm” said GreenbergFarrow’s President and CEO, Essie Ghadrdan. “As we continue to diversify our product offering in the market place, we expect our Planning and Landscape Architecture Department to play a key role in our firm’s future, and Liz will be a crucial part of that effort. We are fortunate to have someone with her level of talent and experience on our team, and know that she will provide our clients with exceptional service.”
Ms. Cole’s expertise lies in assisting clients with the development of projects that incorporate resource conservation and sustainable design principles. She has been responsible for assisting non-profit groups and governmental agencies with the development of land conservation greenprints, green infrastructure design guidelines, and community-based recreational systems. Representative projects include the Greenprint Plains for the Trust for Public Land, the Chattahoochee River Greenway Planning & Design Guidelines for the Chattahoochee River Land Protection Campaign, and Frederica Park for the St. Simons Land Trust.
In August, construction commenced on Dongguan Jewelry Park, located Guangdong Province, China. This multi-phase mixed use project designed by GreenbergFarrow will encompass 30 buildings covering a site of approximately 40 acres. The master plan includes 5,800,000 square feet of above grade construction. The program includes factory buildings, office towers, hotel, residential, retail, museum, and conference center.
The challenge for such a vast site with multiple program types was to give the project a sense of unity. The vertical elements of the towers are brought together with the horizontal elements through a network of connecting plazas, bridges, and terraces. GreenbergFarrow organized the massing of the site and the architectural language of the buildings to be understood as one entity while allowing the functions of each component to be clear to potential users through a developed hierarchy of forms and materials.
Architectural, engineering, and development services firm, GreenbergFarrow, recently opened a permanent office in Bentonville, Arkansas. As the company's eleventh U.S. office, it provides the 40-year-old, Atlanta-based firm with a central location that further supports its ongoing national retail development programs, as well as serves the sustained growth of the region.
In addition to providing a full range of architecture, engineering and permitting capabilities, the Bentonville office offers a new specialty service – Pavement Analytics. Pavement Analytics integrates advancements in computerized mapping with state-of-the-art analytics to help Facility Managers with large inventories of paved parking and other surfaces apply the right treatment to the right pavement at the right time.
Based on American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standards, Pavement Analytics is a proven methodology for increasing the lifespan and appearance of pavement; reducing guesswork; and, significantly lowering lifetime maintenance costs.
Bentonville office manager, Michael Morgan, states, "GreenbergFarrow has a long and successful history of serving its clients' every need, from pre-development through their grand openings. Bringing an expertise in Pavement Analytics to the firm allows us to provide another value-added service to support our clients' post-occupancy operational and maintenance needs, and to further expand our capabilities to support other retailers, as well as the residential, industrial, educational and institutional markets."
About GreenbergFarrow Founded in 1974, GreenbergFarrow is a fully integrated architecture, planning, engineering and development services firm offering a comprehensive range of services to the development, residential, and retail communities. Strategically located in offices nationwide, as well as China and Mexico, GreenbergFarrow employs over 200 professionals.
Specializing primarily in mixed-use, retail, residential/hospitality, commercial/industrial, historic/adaptive re-use, interiors and sustainable developments, GreenbergFarrow's list of clients includes an impressive array of some of the nation's most prestigious developers and residential and retail clients.
GreenbergFarrow employees, Matt Budde and Paul Phillips, designed the exterior infiltration system, and storage pond along with site engineering and storm water addition, prior to joining GreenbergFarrow earlier this year. Read Full article from DCD Magazine:
Western Technical College’s existing Sparta Facility was constructed as a training facility for police and fire professionals. Built in three phases the original building was constructed in the early 1990s.
Today with the latest renovations and additions the Western Technical Colleges’ Public Safety Training Facility is a self-sustaining environment receiving LEED® Gold Certification.
The facility's number one priority is the education of safety and a large portion of the professional student body is centered on teaching fire protection skills. This allows for numerous opportunities to integrate actual building life-cycle costs measures with actual learning opportunities.
With water as a central theme, a natural recycling system has been engineered to model the earth’s own natural water recycling process. Water is extracted through a naturally occurring artesian well, utilized for domestic purposes and discharged back into the earth through a combination of ponds and infiltration fields. Located above the aquifer of origin, the water slowly cleanses itself through layers of engineered soils covered in native water tolerable vegetation until it finds its way back to replenishing the aquifer. During periods of temperate climate, when no additional heating or cooling needs are required to provide for a comfortable working environment, the water by passes the building and discharges directly into the pond and infiltration fields.
A major component of the design includes an open-loop geo-thermal heating and cooling system whose 50-degree baseline temperature is locally tempered through a zoned distribution of VAV boxes to meet the different thermal comfort needs of the building areas.
Due to the naturally flowing water supply that fills the pond and infiltration fields, a pressurized water supply is set up and maintained as a sprinkler system reservoir. This water level is balanced in a nearby satellite sprinkler house where the water is held back for reserve emergency firefighting procedures. When needed, a large fire pump inside the sprinkler house extracts the water from the reservoir providing additional water pressure to the fire suppression system. Whether it is supplying the facility’s fire suppression system, filling the emergency fire fighting vehicles and practice site fire hydrants, or maintaining the building grounds through a grey water site irrigation and plumbing fixture supply systems, the entire facility becomes a living, natural occurring training environment for educating its area first responder professionals.
This reservoir also provides for a large diversification of hands-on water training exercises. Designed with a compacted gravel drive extending from an access road, automobiles can be lowered into the pond to different levels of submersion, providing students with opportunities to conduct controlled dive rescues in preparation for real life situations. In the winter, the frozen pond allows for break through type rescues.
To complement the geo-thermal system energy efficiency, the exterior walls are constructed of insulated concrete forms. These ICFs consist of a dense high R rigid insulated outer shell with a 10-inch wide reinforced concrete structural wall within. A cool roof and window orientation atop optimize natural day light adding to the building’s passive solar design.
The majority of the facilities ICF wall system is clad in a single wythe, split face insulated concrete block creating a bearing wall condition for the metal joist and roof deck above.
Read full article on page 35.
GreenbergFarrow is pleased to announce the following Associate Program promotions for 2014.
Frank Duncan, AIA from Atlanta, and Michael Leocata, AIA from New York, have been promoted to Senior Associates.
GreenbergFarrow has also promoted Jason Kimball, Armando Mata, Amit Bhatia, Victor Lu, Lakeisha Manuel-Jones, Deborah Dunn from Atlanta, and Erik Arellano from Chicago to Associate.
“While it is true the announcement of our associate promotions at the end of year celebrations recognize their past successes, I see the true value of their accomplishment as I look to the future. Please join me in congratulating these team members as they embark on their role of leadership and shaping the future of GreenbergFarrow.” – Essie Ghadrdan, President
The Texas Roadhouse in Steubenville, Ohio, hadn’t yet been open a week when I drove up early this past summer. The faux-rustic building with flags flying atop a standing-seam metal roof brought to mind a frontier outpost high on the Texas or New Mexico plains circa 1850—albeit an outpost built by frontiersmen with a penchant for tidy riverstone borders and well-groomed shrubs. And instead of plains there was asphalt—this roadhouse is located at the edge of a parking lot at the Fort Steuben Mall, with the only nearby buttes labeled J.C. Penney’s and Macy’s.
Texas Roadhouse is a fast-casual restaurant chain that prides itself on providing diners a fun, memorable experience. Since opening its first restaurant in Clarksville, Ind., two decades ago, it has expanded to more than 400 locations. It’s still a fairly minor contributor to Sprawl America—by comparison there are 14,000 McDonald’s, 12,700 Burger Kings, and 5,900 Wendy’s around the country. But Texas Roadhouse continues to grow, with about 30 new restaurants opening each year.
Just inside the front door in Steubenville, it was as crowded as an airport gate the day before Thanksgiving. People held discus-sized buzzers waiting to be shown to their tables, and wore the looks of people whose flights had been canceled but were warily optimistic that they’d get on the next one.
The host found me a seat at the bar. Even before my beer arrived, a small commotion broke out behind me. Kenny Loggins started belting “Footloose” through the speakers, and a half-dozen servers in black T-shirts suddenly lined up in a long aisle then broke into dance—step, step, clap! step, step, clap!—letting out an occasional hoot. A few diners stopped with their forks halfway to their mouths and gaped. Others put down their forks and clapped and joined the hooting.
It was fun, and my beer and steak were tasty. But I actually hadn’t come here for the food or dancing. Rather, I was trying to better understand the process of how Sprawl America gets built. As a consumer who’s walked through the door of many of these places, I’ve often wondered: How do these thousands of chain restaurants and retail clusters and big box stores get designed and constructed so quickly? What role do architects play?
GreenbergFarrow, based in Atlanta, has provided Texas Roadhouse with architectural, engineering, and site development services since 2004. Over the past decade it’s been involved in virtually all of the chain’s new restaurants. The firm has also worked with corporate giants such as Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Murphy Oil, Hertz, AutoZone, Old Navy, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Kohl’s.
GreenbergFarrow didn’t set out to become an architect to the chains, but an early commission directed it down that path. The firm was founded in 1974 by Marty Greenberg and Larry Farrow (both now retired), and for a number of years remained a modestly sized operation majoring in local retail with a minor in residential. Along the way, firm leaders learned what it took to usher retail from concept to grand opening.
That client? The Home Depot. Their idea? Build big, build fast, and build everywhere. “Our strategy from the very beginning was to just follow them where they would take us, and to provide whatever services they needed,” said Hughes Thompson Jr., AIA, GreenbergFarrow’s managing principal and senior vice president.
It’s been a fruitful symbiosis. Since then, GreenbergFarrow has been involved in the design and development of some 2,000 Home Depot stores. In the process, the firm morphed from being a modest outfit with some retail design expertise into a one-stop shop for regional and national restaurants and retailers. GreenbergFarrow hired staff with expertise in site development as well as entitlements (development rights granted by a municipality or other local authorities). “And we added engineering services—electrical, plumbing, and mechanical engineering—because we needed that,” Thompson says. “It was a great learning experience for us. And then we just followed them across the country. That’s how we ended up basically coast to coast.”
GreenbergFarrow now has offices in California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, Massachusetts, Arizona, Ohio, and Wisconsin, as well as in Mexico and China. The firm employs around 200 people worldwide, with annual gross revenues of about $27 million.
While GreenbergFarrow has worked in densely urban environments—the firm was behind 80 Metropolitan Avenue, a 123-unit condominium in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, N.Y.; as well as a nearly 1-million-square-foot, three-story urban mall in the north Bronx—it’s perhaps best known as a Big Box Architecture Shop for Big Box America. GreenbergFarrow works at the speed and scale that’s required for fast-growing corporations whose success is built on hitting dates and numbers on dozens of projects under way simultaneously. Indeed, from the outside, what GreenbergFarrow does looks less like traditional architecture and more like air traffic control.
China has more than 650 cities. The United States has fewer than 300. One American architectural firm recently set up an office in Shanghai to tap the potential in the country's rapidly developing second, third and even fourth-tier cities.
"I see this market really, really maturing and growing in the next 20 years," said Rodney Abney, Jr, a principal at GreenbergFarrow and head of the firm's Shanghai office. "I think it's a place we have to be to carry GreenbergFarrow forward to the next life cycle phase of the firm."
GreenbergFarrow is an architectural, planning, engineering and development consulting firm based in Atlanta, Georgia, with offices throughout the US. The firm officially opened its China office on Aug 1 and also opened an office this year in Mexico City.
"We've definitely seen demand," Abney said about US architecture firms entering China. "There's quite a lot of opportunity, in spite of the challenges that come with working in a different market."
Establishing a presence in China came directly from the firm's participation in a Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce trade mission in 2012. Contacts made during the mission led to its first project - a roughly 2.75 million square-meter, mixed-use project in a second-tier city in central China.
It is a massive, massive project," Abney said. "The client came to us for our retail expertise, which we're well known for here in the US."
Founded in 1974 and now among the top 10 retail design firms in the US, GreenbergFarrow has worked with prominent clients, including Whole Foods Market, IKEA, Wal-Mart, Gap Inc, Bed Bath & Beyond and Meijer.
Abney said the project in central China is at the conceptual stage. The development will be a two-level shopping outlet with more than 500 stores, ranging from small boutique shops to large brand name anchors. The complex will also include residential towers with 1,400 residential units and hotel accommodations with a total of 800 rooms.
After entering a design contest, GreenbergFarrow won its second multi-use development project, which is also in the conceptual stage and will take place in China's southern region. The project is Western and contemporary in style and includes office, entertainment, residential and retail components. The office and residential towers will have 360-degree views of the city. The complex will also house a television broadcast center and a multi-level conference center.
Because the project is located in a tropical region, the American firm aims to mitigate potential solar heat gain and other impacts of constant sunlight and heat, and have incorporated a series of horizontal sun shades in the design of the faade. The reduced heat will not only lower cooling costs, but also the design will allow for natural light to enter the spaces within the complex.
The sustainability-minded firm has also planned a series of cascading green spaces, large and small-scale, between the ground and upper terraces, among other designs that will utilize green technologies.
"Working in China has been very exciting," Abney said. "For me, it's been a tremendous challenge and it's been tremendously satisfying to get where we're at."
The first Whole Foods Market in Savannah, Georgia, was recently awarded three Green Globes by the Green Building Initiative (GBI) for demonstrating leadership in applying best practices regarding energy, water, and environmental efficiency. The 37,400 square-feet store’s key sustainable design features include the use of reclaimed wood paneling, building materials with high recycled content, skylights for natural lighting, LED light fixtures throughout the entire store, dual-flush toilets, low-flow sinks, metering and controls for lighting and building automation and high-efficiency commercial kitchen and food processing equipment.
Following his evaluation of the store, Green Globes Assessor, Emile Picard Jr., AIA of Picard Associates, Inc. stated, “Whole Foods Market has clearly demonstrated a commitment to sustainability through the policies and procedures implemented as part of the construction of their new facility located in Savannah, Georgia. Verification of the self-assessment and modifications by the Assessor has resulted in a rating of 75% or Three Green Globes for the Savannah Whole Foods Market.”
Self-help is not a way of saving labor in IKEA’s style of warehouse stores. The concept of customers helping themselves to their merchandise reflects the retailer’s southern Swedish roots of team effort in order to reduce the costs, self-reliance and reduction of unnecessary frills.
The global home furnishings retailer founded by 87-year-old Ingvar Kamprad has united disparate cultures worldwide with one cleanly designed aesthetic for furniture. This aesthetic also is applied to the multitude of other accessories that the company produces for itself or under exclusive arrangements with other companies that it may own. The only brand sold by IKEA is IKEA.
Expanding worldwide, IKEA has opened 38 stores in the United States. The thirty-ninth is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014 in Miami-Dade County, Fla., and the fortieth in fall 2014 in Merriam, Kan. Renowned for their awe-inspiring scale, the newest IKEA stores average from 350,000 to 450,000 square feet, although some of the older stores are smaller.
IKEA has five distribution centers in the United States, several of which are up to 1.8 million square feet in size, U.S. Public Affairs Manager Joseph Roth reports. “Since we display and inventory everything onsite at a store, the distribution centers need to be large enough to ensure appropriate goods flow to the stores,” he says. “The full product offering is roughly about 10,000 items, and the goal is to have everything available for the customer to take home.”
The goal is for each store to carry every one of those 10,000 items, Roth maintains. “That’s why the stores are so big,” he points out. “The distribution centers receive the goods from the suppliers – whether here in North America or from Asia or Europe – and then have regular rotations in which they are distributed from the distribution centers straight to the stores based on the combination of what the stores need and what they should be selling.”
Each store receives approximately seven truckloads of merchandise daily. “Every day after hours the stores are restocked, because only the first two shelves of the self-serve furniture area are customer-accessible,” Roth explains. “So the rest is up in the air or at a higher level of racking. In the interest of safety, we do not allow forklifts on the floor during business hours.”
When locating a new store, IKEA seeks out trade areas that have a population base of 2 million people within 30 to 40 miles of a store location. “Unfortunately, there are some metro areas where there will never be an IKEA store,” Roth concedes. “Our stores are rather large, and we need a large population to support them.”
Finding a prime retail location within those areas can be quite a challenge for a store with a large footprint. “In a perfect world, we prefer to build a store that is at grade and typically requires 20 to 30 acres of land,” Roth prescribes. “We purchase our land – we do not lease it – and we build our own buildings.”
The iconic colors of blue and yellow are used on all the stores because they are the colors of Sweden. “While we do not have much flexibility with regard to the store design, we can have flexibility with regard to the parking configuration, depending on the characteristics and constraints of a site,” Roth notes. “In certain markets where we find a great site, we are able to elevate the store above the parking, so it is essentially on stilts.”
IKEA has a property retail expansion department that includes real estate, construction facilities management and commercial planning. GreenbergFarrow is the U.S. architect. The company hires construction management companies to build the stores.
“The stores follow a set design,” Roth states. “They’re all very similar. GreenbergFarrow takes the plans from Sweden and applies them to local codes.” The construction materials and techniques may vary somewhat based on location and climate.
“If it’s an at-grade store in a warmer climate, we usually will do concrete tilt-up,” Roth says. “If it’s an at-grade store in a colder climate, we use steel. Then we have composite panels we install to basically form the shell of the building. If we are elevating above the parking, we typically use precast concrete for the parking structure and then do steel on top of that for the actual store.”
IKEA’s iconic blue and yellow exterior colors are painted on concrete tilt-up structures or the steel panels used on a store’s exterior are custom-manufactured in those colors.
On August 7, 2013, co-hosts Lee Kantor and Stone Payton of Results Matter Radio on Business RadioX® welcomed to the studio Rene Ferandel and Rodney Abney with GreenbergFarrow to discuss recent international expansion.
Headquartered in Atlanta, GreenbergFarrow is a fully integrated architecture, planning, engineering and development services firm offering a comprehensive range of services to the development, residential, and retail communities. GreenbergFarrow specializes primarily in mixed-use, retail, residential/hospitality, commercial/industrial, historic/adaptive re-use, interiors and sustainable developments.
Rene Ferandel and Rodney Abney, both Principals with GreenbergFarrow, announced on the show the international expansion this year into China and Mexico. According to Abney, "We went on a trade mission with the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Mayor back in March 2012, and we got our first project through that trip." That project led to others in multiple cities in China and ultimately to opening an office there. Ferandel commented further on the benefit of the trade mission, "I think the trade missions are fantastic opportunities to network and connect the community here with local business people."
Abney explained that the China office will target the retail, residential, mixed-use, hospitality and master planning segments. However, the Mexico office in Mexico City will operate differently, building upon existing architecture work in the country on behalf of a large, U.S.-based retailer. According to Ferandel, "In Mexico, we will concentrate on the retail and restaurant sectors, while also pursuing residential and mixed-use opportunities."
(Please Click the Read More Button to hear the full interview)
GreenbergFarrow has been selected by United American Land to design the residential conversion of 319 Broadway, a landmarked, five-story, cast-iron office building in TriBeCa.
“GreenbergFarrow has extensive experience in the design and redevelopment of historic properties,” said Robert Yuricic, director of GreenbergFarrow’s New York City office.
“We are pleased to have been called upon to deliver a gracious, residential component that will fit well with the historic character of 319 Broadway.
“Converting landmarked structures always presents a few extra twists and turns,” he said. “GreenbergFarrow has years of experience working with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. We have developed a reputation as the ‘go-to’ firm for projects like this.”
Architectural, planning, engineering and development consulting firm GreenbergFarrow has opened offices in China and Mexico.
The Atlanta-based firm said its opening of a China office in Shanghai came directly from the its participation in a Metro Atlanta Chamber trade mission in March 2012. Contacts established during the trade mission led to a GreenbergFarrow assignment to design a massive, nine-million square-foot, mixed-use project in a second-tier city in central China.
The China office will target the retail, residential, mixed-use, hospitality and master planning segments.
Its office in downtown Mexico City will build upon its existing architecture work in the country on behalf of a large, U.S.-based retailer of domestic merchandise that it did not name. In Mexico, it will concentrate on the retail and restaurant sectors, while also pursuing residential and mixed-use opportunities.
GreenbergFarrow was recently selected among the winners of the 2013 Building Brooklyn Awards for the Retail and Multifamily categories for City Point and 205 Water Street (respectively). The Building Brooklyn Awards recognize new and renovated construction projects that enrich and enhance the fabric of Brooklyn's neighborhoods.
City Point will enliven an already bustling office and retail district in the heart of Brooklyn. Next to the Metrotech office complex and along two major thoroughfares in central Brooklyn, this 1.9 million square foot development on a 2.75 acre site features over 500,000 square feet of retail, approximately 280 hotel rooms and 800 residential units along with 250,000 square feet of office space. This signature tower will rise to over 65 stories, rising above the Brooklyn skyline.
This modern take on the industrial past of DUMBO, Brooklyn, this dual building, award-winning project uses a variety of materials such as poured-in-place concrete, cor-ten steel, and walnut to create an inviting, playful building. Its 67 luxury condominiums look over an amenity terrace fitted with a mesh of green space and concrete pavers.
Conshohocken, Pa. -- Ikea said Wednesday that contractors have been hired and a building permit is pending for its future Miami-Dade store in Sweetwater, Fla., putting the home furnishings retailer on track for a groundbreaking in 60 days and a summer 2014 opening date.
Ikea selected Balfour Beatty Construction to oversee the project. Other Florida firms involved include Kimley-Horn and Associates for civil engineering; ATC Associates for geotechnical services; GFA International for testing and inspection services; Holland & Knight for local land use counsel; The Goldstein Environmental Law Firm for Brownfield expertise; real estate brokerage The Shopping Center Group for site selection support; and Procacci Development Corp. for selling the land. Atlanta-based GreenbergFarrow is the project architect.
EL DORADO, Ark. -- After opening more than 200 new or redesigned convenience stores over the past five years, Murphy Oil USA Inc. has "several dozen" others in the design stage to be opened in coming months.
Working with GreenbergFarrow, an Atlanta-based architecture, planning, engineering and development consulting firm, Murphy Oil USA has been ambitious with its store design program, driving growth and value for the retailer.
GreenbergFarrow is proud to contribute to the national success of Murphy Oil," said Rod Abney, a principal of GreenbergFarrow. "Having delivered thousands of outlets for many of America's largest retailers, we understand that rollout execution is a complicated undertaking that needs to consistently support the client's business objectives. Murphy Oil appreciates this approach and philosophy."
Michael O'Brien, senior director of real estate for Murphy Oil USA, said, "GreenbergFarrow's best-in-class service has helped Murphy Oil maximize our ability to open new stores. Their cost-effective approach has proven to be of great value to us."
"Four key factors drive a successful retail rollout program," said Abney. "The rollout provider must understand the client's needs and objectives, the focus must be on customer service, quality deliverables are paramount and value must be added to the process at every opportunity. GreenbergFarrow leverages these strategic elements in support of Murphy Oil."
Dunham Place, a 160-unit Williamsburg rental, reached the 50 percent leased mark in just about a month, the Corcoran Group said in a statement today. Marketed by Corcoran’s Christine Blackburn and Lior Barak, the waterfront property at 15 Dunham Place hit the market in late October — and thanks to the 50 percent lease mark, the building now has its certificate of occupancy. Move-ins at the property, designed by Greenberg Farrow and developed by L&M Development Partners, began this past Saturday. A total of 23 active listings — one for a 909-square-foot one-bedroom listed for $3,900 per month and another for a 1,050- square-foot corner penthouse two-bedroom at $5,200 per month – are available on Streeteasy.com.
Strained by Online Commerce, Changing Shopper Preferences and Trendier Competition, Many Outmoded Malls Face Bleak Future
By Randyl Drummer
The widening gap between strong malls with rising sales and failing malls that are hemorrhaging retailers, sales dollars and foot traffic has led to dire forecasts by some analysts for the future of older enclosed malls as changing demographics and buying habits suck the life from aging and poorer quality properties.
Many trade areas are unable to support multiple malls, with dominant properties increasingly attracting retailers and shoppers at the expense of outmoded centers. Some of these properties, memorably documented on web sites like Deadmalls.com, are so devoid of shoppers and stores that they may be suitable only for demolition or as sets for an episode of "The Walking Dead."
REITs like Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) and General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP), the nation's largest mall operators, have gotten the message and are busy divesting lesser-performing properties. Meanwhile, emboldened by low prices for these older malls, investors are beginning to snap up the properties, confident they can reposition and turn around malls that are on life support, or raze it to gain access to the often-valuable land to build apartments or other uses.
The litany of issues facing distressed malls and large shopping centers is well documented, with ills ranging from changing neighborhoods, increased competition from online sales, the appeal of newer lifestyle and power centers, consolidation of anchor stores and sharp downsizing by in-line tenants.
In a widely quoted report, Green Street Advisors has forecast that 10% of the nation’s 1,000 enclosed malls will fail by 2022, eventually converting to uses other than retail. Age appears to be a contributing factor. Of more than 200 malls and large U.S. shopping centers with 250,000 rentable square feet or higher that are hampered by vacancy rates of 35% or higher -- a clear marker for shopping center distress -- 86.5% were built before 2000, according to CoStar Group data.
Of these distressed regional mall, power center and community center properties, 43.5% were built in the 1970s and ‘80s, another one-quarter were built in the 1990s, and 17.5 % were built in the 1960s and prior. The average center in the distressed group was built in 1983 and had a vacancy rate of 50.6%.
Among the 44 regional and super-regional malls (usually malls of 1 million square feet or above) with distressed vacancy, the average rate was 54.5%, with older super regional properties built from 1960 to 1990 averaging just under 60% vacant. We're Not Overbuilt, We're Under-Demolished
"I don't think we're overbuilt, I think we're under-demolished," said Daniel Hurwitz, president and CEO of DDR Corp., a Cleveland-based REIT, during ICSC's recent Western States conference in San Diego. “When you have [tenants] looking for space and nothing new being built, and we're sitting at mid-90% occupancy levels, it's hard to argue we're overbuilt when they're scrambling to find 10,000 square feet."
"There is a sense of reality that we all have to come to that there are projects that are not going to lease. Retail has a finite lifespan and once you reach that lifespan, you can put up all the signs you want, and charge as low rent as you want, but that doesn't make [tenants] want to take the space." As DDR's Hurwitz makes clear, shopper's preferences have changed and demand for large enclosed malls is quite different than it was 20 years ago. Changes in shopping patterns and preferences is also readily apparent in the shrinking number of department stores and the consolidation among traditional shopping center anchors like Sears Holdings, Kmart, Best Buy, The Gap and Office Max.
All of those chains have announced plans to shut down stores in 2012. The announced closures for these five retailers alone could add another 15 million square feet of mostly mall and power center space to the market this year, according to analysis from Property and Portfolio Research (PPR), CoStar’s real estate analytics and forecasting company.
But analysts also see the closings and repositionings as a healthy process. As market forces cull weaker properties, successful malls grow stronger.
"Malls and buildings age. We don't design for the life-cycle of buildings like we used to 50 or 60 years ago," said Robert Yuricic, an architect with GreenbergFarrow, a retail-oriented design firm and the second-largest restaurant architect in the country. "Malls are designed for a much shorter shelf span and they need to be refreshed."
Many of the earliest malls were buildings connected by pedestrian walkways and common areas, similar to today’s lifestyle center. Many malls began to turn inward in the 1960s and ‘70s, with the typical suburban mall composed of department stores and smaller shops connected by a roof, essentially forming an air-conditioned cave, Yuricic noted.
Walking into such malls is "like going into the bowels of a casino, where the door seems to disappear and you can’t find your way out," he said.
"People want to go to what's new and shiny and if you don't give it a facelift, it becomes old and tired and not able to attract the younger, more chic crowd with more disposable income," Yuricic said.
Kristin Mueller, executive vice president and director of retail business development with Jones Lang LaSalle in Atlanta, has a simple message to those who would write their obituary: Malls are not dead.
"The vast majority of the malls in the U.S. will continue to be incredibly relevant and are thriving," Mueller said. "There are many indicators that show malls are going very strong; you see it in their sales performance and in the REIT stocks of those that own two-thirds of the malls in this country.
"There are many different ways that we as an industry are working with malls to make sure they're relevant for their shoppers and communities, usually through a combination of new retail and other alternative uses," Mueller said.
Mueller acknowledged that some, "perhaps more than a handful," of the country's stock of 1,200 to 1,400 enclosed malls are in serious trouble. "Those malls have usually been unfavorably impacted by their surrounding communities, or they’ve been outflanked by bigger, better competition" from lifestyle and power centers, Mueller said.
Distress is still a significant factor for these properties, even as the bear market for retail investment appears to be coming to an end and transaction activity is now at par with the average annual volume of the past decade.
About 11% of total deal volume by dollar value over the past four quarters was from forced sales, down from nearly 20% in early 2011 but well above the average 1% from 2000 to 2008, according to PPR.
It appears almost certain that the pipeline of distressed retail property will continue to flow, with plenty of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loans backed by collateral that's behind on payments and carrying thin debt service coverage ratios.
These distress deals often reflect financing issues rather than prevailing market conditions. Not surprisingly, their troubles have drawn the attention of Wall Street rating agencies that are sufficiently worried enough about the widening gap between the country's best and worst performing malls to put out warnings that could further affect the supply of credit and financing to the mall sector.
Fitch Ratings said its "very cautious" outlook on U.S. malls has prevented the agency from rating some CMBS transactions this year. While it's fairly easy to understand the dynamics of the best and worst properties, the condition of the second-tier malls in the middle is more difficult to parse, Fitch said in a recent report.
Fitch-rated deals include about 1,150 retail loans of over $20 million, many secured by malls. Of these, 126 are already in special servicing and 44 assets are real estate owned (REO) and many are among the largest contributors to Fitch Ratings’ overall expected deal losses. Who Will Buy A Dying Mall?
In its own report last summer, Moody’s Investors Service also noted the widening performance gap between stronger and weaker malls. When a marginal mall defaults, losses can well surpass those typical for a commercial property loan.
"Renovating or reconfiguring an underperforming mall may cost many millions of the dollars," said Tad Philipp, director of Moody’s CRE research. "What’s more, should the location lose its viability for retail altogether, the value to revert to land less demolition cost [will produce] an even greater loss."
Overall, however, mall investment has actually been stronger over the past few years as a percentage of total retail investment than it was during the peak of the last cycle, said PPR real estate economist and retail specialist Ryan McCullough.
CoStar COMPs data for the largest U.S. markets shows that mall investment comprised 34% of total shopping center transaction dollar volume from 2010 to the present, up from 28% between 2005 and 2007. "I don’t think that investors have necessarily been scared off from malls due to the obsolescence of a subset of the category,” McCullough said. “Investors, however, are pickier about the quality of the mall properties purchased today, which is showing up in the pricing data.”
On a dollar-per-square-foot basis, malls with a vacancy rate of 5% or less traded at a 45% premium over those with higher than 5% vacancies from 2010 to present. During the 2005-07 market peak, the premium was a negligible 2%, he noted.
"The short of it is that investors are recognizing quality malls -- those with high occupancies, solvent anchor tenants, good population density and access to affluent shoppers -- as stable, low-risk, income-producing assets and will pay up for them today," McCullough said.
"Poor quality malls, on the other hand, are either not trading or selling at a steep discount, and perhaps are scheduled for demolition or conversion."
"As an industry, we're not going to start throwing up malls as the economy recovers," added JLL's Mueller. "In fact we stopped building malls a while ago and started to build lifestyle centers in niche infill locations between malls."
Instead, real estate services providers like Mueller and her JLL team are focusing on creative redevelopment and repositioning strategies for distressed properties. Often means changing out the type and size of the retail -- or considering non-retail uses, such as a university or health care facility. Mega-churches have taken over former anchor spaces. Others have become call centers and government offices.
Even malls that continue to thrive are being redesigned as town squares - adding more entertainment and service elements. Simon Property is remodeling 15 to 20 malls a year, adding such amenities as electric-car charging stations and stadium-seating theaters.
Malls today have to “provide a unique set of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences,” Simon's President and COO Richard Sokolov told the New York Times, including scheduling 20,000 events a year to draw traffic, such as cooking demonstrations.
Few thespians would turn down the opportunity to debut in New York City, and lately the same could be said of retailers. Be they of domestic or international origins, numerous purveyors hawking wares ranging from turtlenecks to tea leaves have decided to enter the Manhattan market recently. It's the right location at, apparently, the right time.
Practically every other week the summer, retail chains announced plans to venture into New York City for the first time. Thirty-five years after shoppers were first able to avail themselves of Irvine, Calif.-based ASICS american Corp.'s athletic footwear in the United States, the opportunity has spread to New York. The manufacturer signed a lease in June with Savitt Partners for 3,500 square feet at 530 Seventh Ave. In July, Atlanta headquarters Teavana, seller of loose-leaf teas and teaware, made the commitment. The five-year-old chain linked a deal with the MP 1291 Trust to occupy ground-level space at 1291 Lexington Ave.
"...Toll Brothers, one of the country’s largest residential developers, has two condo buildings opening in the coming months: the Touraine, a 22-unit structure at 132 East 65th Street with prices from $1 million to $15 million, and 205 Water Street, in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn.
The latter, in a cobblestoned part of the neighborhood dominated by converted factories and warehouses, has 65 units. Prices will be around $850 per square foot, according to David Von Spreckelsen, the president of the Toll Brothers City Living division.
The building, designed by GreenbergFarrow, is seeking LEED Gold certification for environmental sustainability, and has apartments ranging from 550-square-foot studios to a 2,300-square-foot penthouse, Mr. Von Spreckelsen said. The list of potential buyers, he added, is more than 1,100 names long..."
Completed March 2011, GreenbergFarrow’s design of the new 40,122 square-feet North Raleigh Whole Foods Store attained the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Commercial Interiors (v2.0) Gold Certification in April 2012, scoring 33 out of a possible 57 points. The attached video presents the store’s design and some of its key “green” features.
In addition, the store achieved the following percentages that contributed to its Gold certification:
81.83% reduced water 91.93% Energy Star compliant equipment and appliances 91.59% construction waste diverted from landfill 100% electrical usage offset by renewable energy credits
The 57,763 square-feet shopping center, developed by Regency Centers, attained LEED® Core & Shell (v2.0) Silver Certification.