Designers speak a common language of color and space, proportion and balance. When they collaborate and share their unique expertise toward a collective vision, it all comes together into a beautiful, functional design with lasting value.
That was evident throughout our collaboration with Kirsten Gordon, owner of Bloom Magic Weddings, an award-winning floral design shop that is sought after for its stunning creations and personalized approach.
Kirsten chose Design Construction Concepts to help renovate her home’s primary bathroom suite to better reflect the Prairie-style architecture of the house, which was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Rather than gutting the room to merely replace outdated fixtures, Kirsten was looking for a return to form, incorporating the classic Prairie-style principles of open, horizontal space, natural light and purposeful ornamentation.
It was equally important, however, that the new bathroom not become a time capsule of early 20th century American design. It had to reflect Kirsten’s personal style and include the modern conveniences homeowners have come to expect, while also retaining value for decades to come.
As Kirsten is an expert in color and creating sensory experiences, we followed her lead to conceptualize a room that would be beautiful, functional, durable and of lasting quality.
Just as she does with her floral designs, Kirsten created a color palette that would support an atmosphere that is both luxe and natural. Her inspiration included an oil painting of a sunset, a recurring motif in her worldwide travels, from which she extrapolated hues that would create the desired energy and ambiance.
From this master plan, we collaborated on different materials, from lighting to tiles, faucets to overall finishes, to bring the project to life. The vanity and mosaic tile feature wall were selected as the focal point of the room, creating a collage of color and character offset by brushed bronze accents on the medicine cabinets, towel bars, vanity accents and faucets.
Design Construction Concepts reimagined the room’s floor plan to create a more open and functional space, while also providing new storage options. A full-steam shower, freestanding soaking tub and heated floors round out the room, creating a cohesive, relaxing environment that is as functional as it is beautiful.
We not only helped Kirsten bring her vision to life, we did it with the finest, most durable materials, on time and within budget, creating what is now one of the finest rooms in the house.
Design Construction Concepts Commences Construction on New Brightmont Academy Location in Northfield, IL
NORTHBROOK, IL (AUGUST 4, 2020) – Design Construction Concepts, a full-service design-build renovation firm, is pleased to announce the start of construction on a new educational location for Brightmont Academy at 1799 Willow Road in Northfield, IL, just west of the Edens Expressway. The fully accredited private school’s Northfield campus is being designed by OKW Architects to provide a positive learning environment with individual spaces for safe, one-to-one customized instruction.
“We’re very excited to be able to rejuvenate a challenging site and revitalize the gateway to Northfield,” said Andy Poticha, Principal at Design Construction Concepts. “This building is an ideal place where parents can walk to downtown Northfield, grab a coffee next door, or run errands while their kids receive individualized instruction inside.”
Located in a former showroom, adjacent to the Starbucks at the north-east corner of Willow Road and Central Avenue, the 3,500-square-foot renovation will retain many of the existing eclectic ceiling features and wall treatments. The renovation will convert the space to meet the needs of Brightmont’s unique one-to-one educational model.
“It’s been a pleasure partnering with Design Construction Concepts on this renovation of eclectic space,” observed Andrew Koglin, President at OKW Architects. “Their solutions-oriented approach was a good cultural fit for this unique educational model. Andy Poticha and his team have been good partners for us and Brightmont as we developed design solutions that married the school’s needs with the unusual existing space within their budget.”
Brightmont Academy’s fully accredited, unique one student to one teacher educational approach has helped thousands of students in grades 6-12 succeed academically. Brightmont serves students who thrive on individual instruction, whether they are gifted or have learning challenges. They empower students to actively engage in their studies at their own pace and offer a range of programs from full-time school with open enrollment, to individual courses, tutoring, and skill-building programs.
Design Construction Concepts (DCC) offers highly-customized, curated commercial and residential design-build services and is a brand affiliated with Mosaic Construction. Led by Andy Poticha, Ira Singer and Mike Frazin, DCC delivers uncompromising customer service as they realize client visions in locations across the United States. For more information, visit dcc-inc.net and mosaicconstruction.net.
Design Construction Concepts Completes Summer Camp Improvement Project New pool house and pavilion await 2020 Apachi Day Camp campers
NORTHBROOK, IL – Design Construction Concepts, a full-service design-build renovation firm, is pleased to announce the completion of a series of construction and renovation updates at JCC Chicago’s ‘Z’ Frank Apachi Day Camp in Northbrook, IL. Designed to be welcoming and accommodating, the 14,000-square-foot renovations to the pool house and outdoor pavilion are ready and waiting to greet a new season of campers this summer.
“We are proud to partner with JCC Chicago on its Apachi Day Camp renovation and contribute to creating a positive, accessible and inclusionary camp experience for all,” said Andy Poticha, Principal at Design Construction Concepts. “We truly value our long-standing relationship with JCC Chicago and the Jewish United Fund (JUF), and are especially excited for this project as it is located in our own backyard.”
The renovated 9,500-square-foot pool house features new shower rooms, new bathrooms and new outdoor lockers with an eight-foot-high shade tree canopy and playful tile, all built in compliance with ADA standards with specific focus on the needs of campers with disabilities.
The newest improvements at ‘Z’ Frank Apachi Day Camp complement the expansive 4,500-square-foot outdoor pavilion completed last fall by Design Construction Concepts. The all-season, wooden focal point was designed for all camp events, including Shabbat celebrations.
“‘Z’ Frank Apachi Day Camp has been a summer home for campers for generations,” said Addie Goodman, President & CEO, JCC Chicago. “Working in partnership with Design Construction Concepts and our generous funders has allowed us to bring today’s vision for ‘Z’ Frank Apachi to reality. We can’t wait to see our campers enjoy these beautiful campus improvements when camp opens on July 6th.”
These projects were generously funded by community support and a grant provided by Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Yashar Initiative, funded by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. The Yashar Initiative grants enable Jewish day and overnight camps to make important capital improvements to increase accessibility for campers and staff with disabilities.
JCC Chicago is a non-profit organization inspired by Jewish values, bridging traditions and generations to create a more vibrant, connected community. JCC Chicago is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving the community.
Design Construction Concepts (DCC) offers highly-customized, curated commercial and residential design-build services and is a brand affiliated with Mosaic Construction and Cannabis Facility Construction. Led by Andy Poticha, Ira Singer and Mike Frazin, DCC delivers uncompromising customer service as they realize client visions in locations across the United States. For more information, visit dcc-inc.net, mosaicconstruction.net, and cannabisfacility.net.
Our Principal Ira Singer shares his insights on how multifamily investors can achieve the greatest ROI on their properties through value-add renovations while ensuring that workers are practice COVID-19 protocol. With a recession looming, Ira discusses how choosing building improvement projects carefully is more important than ever before. For multifamily owners and investors, it’s essential not to over-improve a building; updates that reflect the asset class of the property are most advisable and should be designed to drive occupancy and increase rents.
Read more of Ira’s thoughts on RE Journals.
Our goal as a design-build firm is to create value for our clients through outstanding service-delivery and building trusted relationships. One of the many ways we achieve our goal is how we structure our contracts. Our clients want to know what they’re paying for, and we are able to clearly spell that out by providing stipulated sum agreements.
What is a Stipulated Sum?
Also referred to as a lump sum contract, a stipulated sum requires a builder to agree to provide specified services for a fixed price based on labor and material costs. The builder is responsible for executing the job properly and will provide its own means and methods to complete the project. Specifically, we use stipulated sum agreements with our multifamily and commercial projects, and they allow us to better define the scope and schedule of projects.
“The Mosaic Construction way is to be a client-first company in which we anticipate needs and focus on relationship-building,” said Singer. “We’ve always led with this approach, and our clients understand the value of that.” – Ira Singer
Why We Use Stipulated Sums
Mosaic Construction uses stipulated sums so that our clients know what they’re getting, and we know exactly what we need to deliver. Our contracts are predictable and easy to manage and benefit our clients in the following ways:
No Hidden Fees
One of Mosaic Construction’s key differentiators is that we never stick our clients with hidden fees, compared to cost-plus-fixed-fee and other contracts. “Our fees are transparent compared to other contractors,” said Ira Singer, Principal of Mosaic Construction on the This is the Real Estate Investing for Cash Flow podcast. “We have no incentive to say, ‘Okay, it’s going to be this much money for cost.’ Stipulated sums are integral in forging trusted relationships with our clients.”
Our clients value the predictability of stipulated sum agreements, especially since they reduce risk and give them more confidence. With an agreed upon sum in place, our clients are not liable for any cost overruns. “We formulate construction based on our time and our investment to manage that project and steward it,” added Singer. “Whatever the cost of the project, our timeframe for completion and our fees will remain the same. In this respect, both parties are incentivized to stay on schedule and finish the job on time.”
We find that stipulated sum arrangements foster a greater degree of collaboration between Mosaic Construction and our clients. We are able to execute tight project management and more efficient communication to ensure that both parties are adhering to the scope of work. “The Mosaic Construction way is to be a client-first company in which we anticipate needs and focus on relationship-building,” said Singer. “We’ve always led with this approach, and our clients understand the value of that.”
The design-build methodology supports our goal because it allows us to streamline the construction process, which ultimately benefits our clients and our management team. “We view our projects as investments in our clients’ growth and development,” added Singer. “We never think in terms of being one and done; rather, we create an atmosphere where our clients can focus on business development, while we do the best work possible for them.”
MB 170: MAXIMIZING ROI IN VALUE-ADD MULTIFAMILY DEALS – WITH IRA SINGER
Announcer: This is the Apartment Building Investing Podcast, with Michael Blank, episode 170. Let’s do this.
Announcer: You’re listening to the Apartment Building Investing Podcast, where we’ll talk about all aspects of buying apartment buildings with a special focus on raising money from others.
Announcer: And now, your host, Michael Blank.
Michael Blank: Hey everyone, and welcome to the show. I am your host, Michael Blank. I’m super excited that you’re here to learn more about apartment building investing. The best way to become financially free with real estate.
Michael Blank: Excited about today’s show. We’re going to talk about construction today, and the different ways that we can build value.
Michael Blank: So actually I have two guests. A construction expert, and someone who’s very, very intimately familiar with ROI based on amenities, and other improvements. So we’re going to really drill in on how to manage a construction company, and different ways you can add value to a value-add deal.
Michael Blank: I also want you to know, I’m being really, really active, or trying to be, on social media. Actually on the Facebook page, and Instagram, the handle is themichaelblank, that’s T-H-E- Michael B-L-A-N-K. So hang out with me there. Say hello.
Michael Blank: I also have a new Facebook group called Apartment Investor Networks. I’ve got several thousand people on there, and so myself, and our mentors, and our advisors, are active there. It’s a great place for you to ask questions. So make sure you check us out.
Michael Blank: Hey, in a couple of weeks, we’re going to be at Deal Maker Live. That’s July 26, 27, in Dallas. We still have a few tickets left. We’re expecting well over 500 people there, and we just added a few more tickets to that. So head over to dealmakerliveevent.com, or just google Deal Maker Live, and try to grab your tickets before they’re all gone. So we’re going to have a huge lineup of multifamily experts there, including Robert Helms, real estate guys Joe Fairless, Michael Becker, Adam Adams, Corey Peterson, and our keynote is Hal Elrod, the author of The Miracle Morning. Super excited to get to know him a little bit more, as well.
Michael Blank: All right. So with that, let’s get right into the show here, to learn about construction and ROI.
Michael Blank: Ira, welcome to the show today.
Ira Singer: Thank you. How are you?
Michael Blank: Very good. Very good. So we’re going to get all into construction, and ROI to get out of that construction. So I’m really excited to get into it.
Michael Blank: Before we get started, just give us a quick background on you and your company.
Ira Singer: Thank you. My name is Ira Singer. I am one of the principals at Mosaic Construction. We are a general contractors in Northbrook, Illinois, with a construction management practice that prefers the design build methodology, where we are at the table, helping with selection of finishes, scope of work, pre-budgeting.
Ira Singer: But we are experienced and adept at working in the multifamily industry, both in asset classes from market rate, to affordable, into senior housing. We’ve worked in student housing. We’ve done, in our geographic, and adjacent to our state, we’ve had value-add. We’ve had repairs, exterior work. There’s a lot of things that we have experience in, from both an exterior, and an interior point of view. We’ve worked in units. We’ve made accessibility choices with our clients. So it runs the gamut.
Ira Singer: I’m looking forward to our discussion, and what I can help your listeners with. So let’s get going.
Unsightly building exteriors, unwelcoming, cold waiting areas, and dated examination rooms will drive patients away from your medical office properties and give them second thoughts about trusting your provider tenants. The best medical practices are centered around making the patient feel safe and relaxed, and these are achieved by the following medical office renovations that focus on the patient experience:A More Homey Atmosphere Patients are more comfortable when a medical office feels like their home and less like a sterile, cold facility. Pediatric practices, for example, recognize this and have renovated their waiting rooms, installing play areas for kids and tablet stations where they can play games. Modifications to lighting and the use of sofas, chairs, and side tables create a living room-style environment. In addition, providing outlets for power and USB cords allows patients to occupy themselves or get work done.
“This trend really helps increase patient satisfaction by improving comfort and mental well-being, “ says CME. “Patients in waiting rooms that are well-designed are often more patient and find average wait times more agreeable.”
Innovative medical practices design spaces that leverage technology to improve patient satisfaction and make it easier for staff to do their jobs. Renovating offices to incorporate digital kiosks, for example, creates many advantages. Patients can check themselves in or out and make follow-up appointments, front desk staff can focus on important tasks, and congestion due to foot traffic is reduced.
All-In-One Spaces From primary care to specialty and multi-specialty practices, consolidating services or co-locating all providers in the same space can enhance operational efficiency and patient satisfaction. Consult room remodeling is gaining a lot of traction as a way to combine exams and consultations in a more inviting setting. This concept allows for better engagement between patient and provider.
“This current landscape is in large part the result of private physicians joining group practices at large healthcare systems and institutions creating specialty clinics to maximize their service offerings and broaden their reach,” According to Healthcare Design Magazine. “And exactly what shape those efforts take is key to providers differentiating themselves among the competition.”
Appealing Outdoor Space
Making use of outdoor green areas can also create a more appealing atmosphere for patients and caretakers. Landscaping green spaces–including easily accessible areas for those confined to wheelchairs or patients that need walkers–invites patients and caretakers to relax. “These green spaces don’t need to be elaborately designed, but rather serve as a small garden setting with purposefully placed shrubs or trees to create a cozy area blocked from traffic or parking lots,” adds CME.
Staff Benefit, Too
The more functional a medical office, the better engagement and productivity are among staff. Care team members benefit from collaborative spaces, compared to dedicated physician’s offices. These onstage/offstage layouts are growing in popularity and place clinical staff in a central core and create group work areas where nurses and physicians work alongside each other.
In many ways, bedside manner extends beyond provider and patient interaction to the way patients feel about the environment of a medical office. Renovations that are patient-centric and cater to their comfort needs will create a winning situation for them, as well as providers, and property owners and managers.
Baby boomers and millennials have their sights set on dynamic, live, work, and play opportunities in the suburbs. In other words, the urbanization of the suburbs is here, and multifamily investors are responding in kind. In a sense, the suburban market is being turned on its head as investors create a practical transfer of urban-style features–including walkability, access to retail and restaurant amenities, and dense housing–beyond the city limits.
These factors outline how multifamily investors are urbanizing the suburbs.
Determine Your Target Tenants If Baby Boomers and Millennials are the largest cohort making the transition to the suburbs, it’s important to focus on demographic subgroups. “Maturing” Millennials, for example, are leaving urban communities to give the suburbs a dry run before raising a family. They expect class A market features but at lower rents. Then there are “gray-collar” renters whose household income and education levels and population-growth exceed national standards.
Investors understand that you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole by trying to replicate city-living in the suburbs. “As these sub-hubs multiply across the country, what’s clear is that no single prototype will work since suburbs vary from tiny communities with a single stoplight to large ones considered small cities,” According to Multifamily Executive. “Yet, the locations most likely to thrive share the common denominator of being hybrids that borrow some parts from their lively urban counterparts and retain their bucolic and other suburban advantages.”
Proximity to Jobs and Transportation
Employment opportunities close to residents can be a strong incentive for investors when selecting one suburban site versus another. There needs to be some form of mass transit or highway network to get residents to them. Chevy Chase Lake, for example, is a mixed-use, transit-oriented community in the Maryland suburb of Chevy Chase close to Washington, D.C. with access to the Metro’s Purple Line. Just to the north in Rockville an 1,100-unit multifamily neighborhood is being developed in a 90-acre industrial park along another Metro line.
However, development is proving to be more challenging in Tysons, Virginia, an “edge city” of DC. “The grid of streets planned for Tysons exposes the challenges of transforming suburbia,” according to Public Square: A CNU Journal. “The grid is mostly internal, with few connections to surrounding subdivisions. Three highways interrupt the network. The plan now underway is a huge improvement, yet ongoing retrofit is needed, perhaps decades from now, that connects the downtown to surrounding cul-de-sacs and loop roads.”
“Placemaking, if applied thoughtfully and well executed, provides the soul for our communities through the design of a contextual urban framework of pedestrian friendly neighborhoods, open spaces and a vibrant urban environment created by the layered realm of architecture, landscaping, signage and lighting.”
Gain Buy-In From the Community
Compared to large cities, elements of multifamily renovation can be more difficult in suburban areas, including zoning and acquiring variances. Building trust with the community is an important step in choosing a community location.
Multifamily Executive emphasizes this point, using the example of a multifamily property in Richmond, Virginia: “Richmond, Va., which experienced a boom in Millennials moving downtown after 2010, is now seeing a swing back to the suburbs. Good infrastructure was already in place in Richmond’s suburban counties like Henrico County. But to attract mixed-use, multifamily living, the suburban counties recognized that traditional policies and approaches to land planning needed to adjust. Rather than create big urban-like downtown cores in various suburbs, the goal was to fashion compact, pedestrian-focused projects along existing corridors to stimulate development and rejuvenation that takes advantage of existing infrastructure.”
Locate Near Office and Retail
Retail, office, and residents need each other. The success of a neighborhood relies on the well-planned intersection of commercial and multifamily renovation. Similar to the proximity of communities to transit, everything should be close by. Tenants want to live five minutes from
from coffee bars, grocery stores, and entertainment. Finding the right balance is key, according to Multifamily Executive: “The answer for both suburbs—as well as cities, even large ones—may lie in seeking retailers that have learned the importance of experiential features that consumers seem to find more relevant rather than stacks of merchandise. Entrepreneurial leaders like Apple are rolling out ideas such as workshops and classes.”
Amenities, Amenities, Amenities
Amenities are significant considerations for multifamily living. We’ve written previously about the importance of amenity upgrades to attracting new tenants. To avoid the risk of trying too hard and unrealistically to mimic vibrant cities, investors are taking advantage of neighborhood natural amenities in their backyards, like parks, lakes, and trails. We recently renovated multiple units and hallways, as well as the package room and pool-area restrooms of a multifamily, student-centered apartment building in Evanston, an edge city of Chicago. Students also have access to the Clark Street beach and trails along Lake Michigan.
There is a shift afoot in which investors are attracting renters from the big cities. We’ll give the last word to Jose Sanchez, retail and mixed-use design leader at DLR Group, who told GlobeSt.com, “Demographic shifts illustrated that we are becoming a society that values main streets more than backyards. Walkability, density, sense of community, mixed uses and a diverse population are bringing new life to the suburbs. Placemaking, if applied thoughtfully and well executed, provides the soul for our communities through the design of a contextual urban framework of pedestrian friendly neighborhoods, open spaces and a vibrant urban environment created by the layered realm of architecture, landscaping, signage and lighting. It is also vital to understand that these new town centers should be developed in a way to attract multiple demographics and economic classes through inclusive design and programming.”
Expanding a Successful Construction Company from the Culture Up – with Ira Singer
Speaker 1: You’ve been searching for the best way to generate passive income in your life, and heard that real estate is a great way to do it. But you’re tired of all the so-called gurus, who are all talk and no substance. Get ready to celebrate because Kevin Bupp has spent 14 years successfully making it happen.
This is the Real Estate Investing for Cash Flow podcast. Now, here’s Kevin Bupp.
Kevin Bupp: Hey, guys. Kevin Bupp here. I want to welcome you to another episode of the Real Estate Investing for Cash Flow podcast. Our mission is to help you build and maintain massive amounts of cash flow through income-producing real estate investments. Now, our guest for this week’s show is real estate investment and construction expert, Ira Singer. Ira has been a principal of Mosaic Construction since 2005 and currently leads new business development, estimating, construction production, project management, and the management of trade partner and vendor relationships for Mosaic Construction.
Kevin Bupp: Guys, now, without further ado, I’d like to welcome our guest for today’s show, Ira Singer. Ira, how are you doing today my friend?
Ira Singer: Kevin, doing great. Thank you. Appreciate time on the phone and the introduction, so I’m looking forward to the conversation.
Kevin Bupp: Yeah. Looking forward to having you here. You bring a breath of knowledge and experience on the construction trade to this call, which is … Your expertise is one that we haven’t necessarily had on the show before. It’s interesting because we’re going to take it from a little bit of a different angle today. We interview many different investors that specialize in different types of asset types. We’ve had, I don’t know, probably 100 multifamily guys on the show over the years. We’ve had retail guys, office guys, student housing guys, senior housing guys on the show, and gals. I shouldn’t just say guys. Guys and gals that are in the investment side of the space.
Kevin Bupp: Well, those folks are basically your clients. They hire your team, your construction firm, which is on a national scale, to help them with their projects. Whether it be rent large scale renovation projects, new builds and probably everything in between. Real excited to take it from this perspective and dive into your business and what it is you guys do over there at Mosaic. But before we do, Ira, maybe if you could take a few minutes. I gave you a very brief introduction. Your background’s much more extensive than that. Take a few minutes and tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself and really how you got started in this business.
Ira Singer: I’d be happy to. All of those different asset class owners are potential clients for Mosaic Construction. We’ve had a breadth of experience that didn’t start that way.
Ira Singer: I was in the window business, straight out of school in 1990. In 1993, I started my first window, siding, roofing company that was catering to homeowners. Was successful at that, had a partner in that. Learned trade by residential work. Going in and picking up clients one at a time. That led to some business introductions of real estate owners. A couple of years into business we were working on multifamily construction doing window replacements on a large scale basis, 300, 500, 600 windows, either vinyl or aluminum.
Ira Singer: That, of course, continued into interior renovation work because while we’re there, a trusted contractor, which is an important component of an investment in real estate, to have a trusted GC. They ask the question. They’re happy with our window work, so we got started on doing all kinds of different makeovers, and all kinds of different multifamily projects. Whether it was senior housing, and it was in units, or whether it was market rate apartments in with amenity spaces, or common area spaces. The senior housing market is all about safety and accessibility. There’s all kinds of different value adds and different projects that we’ve been involved in.