Building Blocks to Success
As Vice President of Block Construction Services (BCS), Brad Simma currently directs a staff of six project managers, in addition to support staff, and oversees approximately 25 projects which are currently under construction or in the planning stages. We interviewed him to find out more about BCS, who was recently selected as a Leading Expert in its field.
Since joining Block Construction Services (BCS) in 2003, Vice President Brad Simma has managed construction and development projects including office, industrial, distribution, multi-family, retail, medical office buildings, and mixed-use facilities. Brad begins the interview by detailing more about his own extensive experience and introduces us to the impressive work of BCS.
“I have extensive experience handling all aspects of owner representation, including site selection, entitlements, incentive negotiations, pre-construction services, contract negotiation, debt/equity, and contract administration.”
“BCS is uniquely qualified to handle an array of construction and development projects.The vast experience BCS has acquired over the years allows us to provide an unparalleled level of expertise in facilitating the real estate development process from start to finish. BCS manages every step along the way, from site selection to construction of the base building as well as tenant finish phases.”
“BCS represents various ownership groups in the construction and development of over $3.0 billion of new projects in the industrial, office, medical office, and retail sectors. Our tenant finish division also manages approximately $20 million worth of construction projects each year.”
BCS provides expertise in the following areas:
- Construction management/owners’ representation
- Financial analysis
- Design/entitlements/city process coordination
- Scheduling/estimating/job costing
- Contract administration
- LEED construction
- Tenant finish
Brad then gives detailed background about the firm, how long they have been established, plus the changes he has seen over the years.
“BCS has been a staple of the commercial real estate development scene for over 14 years. During that time, we have built meaningful relationships with our clients by consistently exceeding owners expectations, making us a strong construction and owners’ representation firm.”
“Even following the 2008 recession, when BCS had no new ground-up construction, tenant finish and interior remodelling projects were at an all-time high. This speaks to BCS’s trusted reputation, even during periods of economic decline.”
"In 2011, we expanded our services in St. Louis, Missouri. Over the past several years, BCS has managed several projects in Arkansas and we are currently in the design and planning stages for a 200-acre, mixed-use development in Omaha, Nebraska.”
Brad is keen to explain more about his own role as the firm’s Vice President, including his overall aims and the strategies that have contributed to his success and the internal culture of the firm.
“I feel my unique perspective, experience and pride in a job well done allows me to provide accurate direction to our partners, institutional and private investors, clients, and tenants. I treat every project with the same determination to provide the best services possible, whether we are undertaking a build-to-suit assignment or arranging for equity funds in today’s demand-driven real estate market."
“I believe that the hard work and the knowledge I’ve acquired working in the construction industry are my major strengths. Attention to detail is also a key contributing factor.”
“In terms of the culture within our firm, I would like to stress that we work together as a team. I see myself as the coach of the team, making plans and assuring that they are carried through to fruition. Each team member plays a vital role in the success of the group and it is my job to ensure that every player has the guidance, support and encouragement they need. I stay involved on every level of each of our projects. I meet with staff regularly to discuss progress and timelines. I also make myself accessible to my staff on an as-needed basis, so that I can answer their questions and help solve any problems as they arise.”
Turning his thoughts to the wider industry, Brad reveals how he distributes his expert knowledge and experience, as well as offering his reflections on the construction industry.
“I regularly meet with executives from companies in the construction field to brainstorm and discuss development and construction activities in the Kansas City area. I value these opportunities to exchange expertise and ideas with other industry leaders.”
“Every development project presents challenges on an almost daily basis. Every site presents its own unique challenges. It could be the terrain, sub-grade rock, permitting or the US Army Corp of Engineers. Overcoming each of these challenges makes my team and me stronger, more knowledgeable and much better prepared for the future.”
“BCS is leading the planning efforts of an approximate 200-acre mixed-use development located at the intersection of 192nd Street and Dodge Road in Omaha, Nebraska. The project, known as Avenue One, is anticipated to generate an economic impact of over $1.28 billion for the Omaha region and Nebraska. BCS, along with the design team, has been working to provide a comprehensive master site plan that will create a dense and truly mixed-use community. The plan will focus on wellness through walking, hiking and bicycling trails as well as a superb transportation and street plan that continues the walkable community theme with crossable streets, open site lines and a landscaping plan that is second to none. Mass grading efforts are planned to be underway in 2017.
“47 Madison Avenue is another exciting project for BCS. 47 Madison is a 15-story multifamily development tower planned for the west side of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. Current plans include structured parking with approximately 288 units with an unprecedented amenity package for the Plaza area which will include a roof top terrace. The Plaza is known as an outdoor museum of romantic Spanish architecture and European art. Designed in 1922 as the nation’s first suburban shopping district, the Plaza’s fountains, sculptures and murals bring to the heart of the city the very best of the old world and the new.”
Brad Simma is keen to draw our attention to a few more of the firm’s projects including Traders on Grand, a historic redevelopment project located at 1125 Grand Boulevard,in Kansas City, Missouri. He explains more about this in his own words, plus two more fitting examples of the firm’s outstanding work.
“The 21-story property will be redeveloped and converted into market-rate residential apartment units (approximately 190-200 units). The basement will be converted to common area/tenant amenity space. The first and second floors will be rehabilitated for commercial use and common area space. The 21st floor that currently houses the building HVAC system will become a pool and amenity area. Construction is slated to begin this year, with first occupancies taking place in mid-2018.
“The next multifamily phase of our CityPlace project, a 90-acre mixed use development in Overland Park, Kansas, is The Apex at CityPlace. Construction on The Apex is slated to commence in mid-2017. The Apex is a Class A multifamily project that will include 36,623 square feet of retail and 408 multifamily units. The development will feature two levels of structured parking, a clubhouse, two amenity area courtyards, swimming pool, spa and many more outdoor activity areas.”
“Another part of the CityPlace mixed-use development is CityPlace Parcel VII. This phase of the development will include four stand-alone retail buildings totalling approximately 30,267 square feet. Construction is slated to begin this year.”
Source: BUILD Magazine