Leads CenterBuild SIG’s Michael Greeby led an ICSC CenterBuild Specialty Industry Group (SIG) session entitled Center Re-Boot in Phoenix, AZ this year. More than 30 professionals joined Michael and his panel of industry all-stars, Andrea Hidalgo of JBG, Stephen Trommsdorff of Kite Realty Group, and Jim Steman of CenterCal Properties, LLC to redevelop an imaginary 50,000 sf shopping center. The team broke into four groups to act as branding, leasing, design and construction teams where they developed a center logo, design vernacular and elevations, merchandising plan and proposed income, and estimated budget.

The group proposed that the estimated income for the of $1.25 M / year and a total capital expenditure of $16.5 M, the cash-on-cash ROI would be 7.4%. In less than one hour, the team nearly got the pro forma to pencil on its first pass. Great work and thanks to all who attended!

DDCM – How to Search

Tenant Criteria Manuals are packed full of important information needed by Tenants, Leasing, design and construction team members to close deals and open projects. With the DDCM Search feature, you no longer have to settle for flipping through cumbersome paper manuals or hitting control F repeatedly.

Watch our quick How to Search video to find out how to use this powerful feature. Can you keep up?

Retail Delivery & Technology Manager

Welcome pirates! I applaud your ambition and thank you in advance for your interest. Here’s what’s up:

Retail Delivery & Technology Manager

We are looking for a dynamic team member to join our young and expanding real estate technology and consultancy firm. This position requires one to be able to multitask, prioritize, and complete projects independently. Must be able to learn on their feet and never miss a deadline. Seriously, missing deadlines is not an option.

If you are the type of person that wants to:
1) learn the retail real estate industry from the ground up;
2) leverage your creativity and design skills to solve common industry challenges;
3) organize and take projects from concept to implementation (or abandonment if appropriate);
4) take initiative and have a voice;
5) help a small firm grow and become an influential company;
then this is the position custom made for you and we need to talk.

Responsibilities would include, but certainly not be limited to:
A) Project management for the production and deployment of our custom digital tools;
B) Acting as primary client contact for those who have purchased our services;
C) Creating and meeting deadlines for the production of tools and delivery of services;
D) Training customers on how to use our tools;
E) Supporting principal to produce client deliverables including reports, exhibits, lease abstracts, lease plans, and digital tracking systems;
F) Providing design input and review for retail Tenant store facade, signage and interior design;
G) Reviewing base building and retail tenant drawings for conformance with Landlord design criteria;
H) Assisting with corporate administration including tracking systems for employee related production, contact management, digital marketing, presentation support for CEO, and anything else that we create.

We make tools and provide services to help others become better artists at their craft.

Our clients choose us because we are innovative, responsive, personal and accessible. We make their jobs and lives easier by solving common problems that currently bog them down and detract from their core value at their organization. We make their jobs and lives easier and more fun.

You will get to work on numerous commercial and mixed-use retail projects across North America. From small boutique single Tenant projects to the largest regional shopping center Owners, we assist our clients by providing technology tools and consultancy services that accelerate and support the development, leasing, design, tenant delivery and construction for retail projects.

Our corporate structure is simple and there are no corporate politics to navigate (regrettably there is also no softball or fantasy football league either – yet). We expect our team to be able to work independently, remotely (home, road, airport, Starbuck’s), and collaboratively to start and complete tasks as required. We have, but often times do not use our Bucktown/Wicker Park and Humboldt Park office, as clients and projects often times require us travel to their sites or offices. If you are NOT from Chicago, that is cool too we are completely open to discussing … wait for it … working from your existing location.

Growth potential is unlimited and we are looking for the right candidate to help us expand to not only meet, but create our next opportunities.

Qualifications / Skills:
We value, celebrate and require the following personal attributes:
1) Initiative – we set the direction
2) Collaboration – we can’t do it alone
3) Integrity – we must never compromise quality
4) Honesty – we have no greater value
5) Responsibility – we lead by example
6) Accomplishment – we are expected to get it done

Without the natural talents above, success in this position will be impossible.

Candidates must have the following skills:
1) Familiarity with commercial/retail real estate development, design & construction
2) Fluency with MS Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
3) Fluency with digital image manipulation (resizing, cutting, cropping)
4) Fluency with Adobe CS (Illustrator, InDesign, PhotoShop)
5) Proficiency with all web browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome)
6) Proficiency with social media platforms (twitter, linkedin)
7) Familiarity with WordPress
8) Familiarity with Prezi
9) Familiarity with MailChimp
10) Familiarity with Google Drive / Dropbox / box and/or other cloud files sharing applications
11) Familiarity with Google Hangouts / Skype / FaceTime
12) Architectural, Engineering, Construction or Development background

Ideal, but not essential:
1) AutoCAD
2) Revit
3) Sketchup
4) Fluency in Spanish

Email me and I promise to answer your questions regarding this one of a kind, exciting position. Make sure to tell me why you are even interested and the right person for our small team. Cheers!


Happy Holidays 2015

Another year comes to an end and we want to wish you a Merry and Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Pancha Ganapati, Newtonmas and/or Festivus. We look forward to working together in 2016 with our clients, advisors, friends, and colleagues. Be safe and stay warm. Cheers!

Atlanta Braves Select DDCM for Stadium Retail

The Atlanta Braves and their development partners, Fuqua Development, have selected’s Digital Design Criteria Manual (DDCM) as the retail information platform for their new mixed-use project, The Battery Atlanta, connected to the new National League baseball stadium – SunTrust Park.

Welcome to The Battery Atlanta from The Battery Atlanta on Vimeo.

Avalon – ULI Project of the Year Atlanta

Avalon is one of the country’s most desirable mixed-use projects. Developed by North American Properties (NAP) and opened in 2014, it raises the bar on experiential development. With more than 300,000 sf of high-end retail, two buildings with high-tech office space and 400+ residential units, this complicated project required a dedicated team of which was proud to have been a part.

Check out this quick video showcasing what gives Avalon it’s unique character and made it an easy choice for Project of the Year.

Find out more about how helped deliver this project and how we continue to be involved in Phase II with our new Digital Design Criteria Manual (DDCM).

A Mall Divided – Planet Money Episode 562

Although this is 1 year old, it is still an interesting listen into the wonderful world of retail and politics.

5 Phases of Retail Tenant Delivery

You’ve created your merchandising plan with the perfect tenant mix. You’ve honed your development pro forma to pencil. Your team is out on the street chasing down the deals that you need to meet or exceed your vision and financial goals. We’re done – right?

Retail development is a fine balance of art and science. The next step is to have a clear process that allows your team to deliver the many, many promises that you have or will be making to your retail tenants. The 5 Phases of Retail Tenant Delivery below provide the battle tested framework for successful and happy merchants at your shopping center.

Phase 01 – Leasing Support


We all know that time kills deals, so having the support needed to answer Tenant inquiries quickly and accurately is invaluable. The retail delivery manager (aka Tenant Manager, Tenant Coordinator) acts as concierge and liaison (that’s a lot of French) by setting up the Design Criteria, tracking and reporting systems, and answering questions regarding the premises to facilitate design and construction. Knowing the proper amount of electrical capacity required by a Tenant and not delivering more than is needed can frequently save $20,000+.

Phase 02 – Design & Plan Review

plan grid

The devil is in the details and it is imperative to double check on paper that which is being planned. With great team work and collaboration, both the Tenant and Landlord can meet and exceed the design standards set in the Design Criteria Manual. Great design maximizes quality and constructability while minimizing cost. It is SOOOO much easier to move a wall on paper versus one that has already been installed. This is the time to measure twice because you can only cut once.

Phase 03 – Landlord Construction

construction dude

There are 24 traditional Landlord work items that can be required for Tenant delivery. The construction lease exhibit (Exhibit B or C) defines which of those are required to be delivered by the Landlord for each Tenant. Tracking, designing, coordinating, bidding, contracting, installing and then delivering these items are critical for Tenant premises acceptance and space turn-over.

work.letter-logo(Try our free work.letter checklist web app to abstract and confirm completion of each for all of your Tenants.)

Phase 04 – Tenant Improvement

key turn over

Landlord turn-over and Tenant premises acceptance is one of the most important milestones in the process. However, this is where the fun really starts. Tenant contractor check-in, daily coordination, material delivery and staging, scheduling municipal inspections, merchandising and all other tenant fit-out activities are all critical tasks required to get the Tenant open and ready for business. This is as much art as it is a science and great communication, coordination and negotiation skills can make the difference whether a store opens its doors and rings its registers.

Phase 05 – Close-out

close-out binders

This often overlooked phase is critical because it verifies and validates that all parties have lived up to their construction obligations. While creating the punchlist is the obvious activity, Tenants should provide to the Landlord all required documentation including the certificate of occupancy, final lien waivers, as-built drawings, schedule of construction values, and all other documentation required to satisfy the release of Tenant contractor security deposits and Tenant Allowances. This final administration phase makes the commencement of lease administration possible and marks a successful fit-out.

Follow this time and battle tested sequence for retail tenant delivery and you will be insured that you deliver all of your promises while getting more of your Tenants open on time.