Premier Development Partners
Premier Development Partners works on its latest project through weather and schedule challenges while maintaining a great partnership with its client.
By Stephanie Crets
The founders of Premier Development Partners have worked together for more than 20 years, beginning in 1996 at Duke Realty Corp. Immediately following the closure of Duke in 2006, they formed Premier Development with the acquisition of 330 acres in northeast Ohio previously owned by Duke Realty. President Spencer Pisczak joined forces with Chairman Ross Farro to create a full-service development and construction company to serve the Cleveland region and beyond.
“We have an extensive history and background in owning property, as well as funding property and doing the construction,” Pisczak says.
Premier Development usually works on four to 10 projects at any given time, depending on the size of the projects. These can range from 500 square feet to 500,000 square feet. While many of its projects are in northeast Ohio, the company also purchases and develops property around the Midwest and Southeast United States, thanks to its long-lasting relationships with customers and contractors. Positive contactor relationships allow Premier Development to hire contactors in cities outside of Ohio.
“We have many contractors that we’ve partnered with for the past 20 years,” says Senior Vice President and Project Manager Linda Sherman. “We have great relationships with them and a continuing relationship. We’re not going to just use them on one project. We respect each other with fair pricing and create an environment that is going to be competitive with a great outcome.”
Premier Development not only treats its contractors well, but also fosters relationships with owners and tenants of its projects. It treats everyone involved as a partner rather than a client.
“We create an environment for the owners that then creates repeat business,” Sherman continues. “Because we go into each project with our owner’s hat on, we’re very good at helping them understand their budget and keep to the budget. And then we’re very open – not only financially but the way we treat them. At the end of a project, we’re left with a completed building, a new friendship and an ongoing working relationship.”
The executives of Premier Development visit projects outside of Cleveland once a month. But for local projects, the executive team holds weekly meetings at every project location to keep contractors and clients up to date, answer any pending questions and solve pending issues.
One of Premier Development’s larger projects is the new 785,000-square-foot Arhaus Corporate Headquarters and Distribution Center, a furniture warehouse and corporate office in Boston Heights, Ohio. The 650,000-square-foot warehouse portion is complete and Arhaus is gradually moving its operations into the new building, while the 120,000 square feet of two-story office space should be ready by June.
Arhaus Corporate Headquarters will supply all of Arhaus’ 57 retail stores across the Unites States and hold about 400 corporate employees. In addition to the warehouse and office space, the building will house a 15,000-square-foot showroom for staging furniture designs, displays and merchandising options.
Energy saving is very important to both Arhaus and Premier Development. All lighting is LED and motion-controlled in the warehouse. Additionally, the company has installed 75 solar tubes along the perimeter of the building to produce natural light from both the sun and moon rays.
The Arhaus project sits on a 64-acre site surrounded by trees, along with a nearby 25-acre nature preserve, whose preservation Premier Development took into consideration during the construction process. “It’s a beautiful site,” Pisczak says. “Our goal was to keep the surrounding area as natural as possible.”
Throughout construction, Premier Development has combatted the unpredictable nature of Midwest weather when Ohio had two months of nearly nonstop rain. Not to mention when the project first broke ground in February 2015, it was one of the coldest and snowiest winters in years for the area. This made developing the landscape difficult because workers had to contend with frozen soil. Plus, the office space was originally designed to be 37,500 square feet, but the design grew to 120,000 square feet over time and Premier Development had to adjust to the change without adjusting the schedule.
“Trying to maintain the construction schedule while the actual build-out grew was a challenge,” Pisczak says. “But Arhaus has been wonderful to work with. It’s been a very enjoyable process and relationship.”
Drones came in handy in keeping the project on schedule. They allowed the company to keep track of progress from overhead and reach areas the average ladder or lift cannot. “I’m proud of the attention to detail, the quality of our work and staying on schedule, as well as being able to adapt to all the changes that the tenant processed in different ways,” Pisczak says.
“We’re always most proud of the fact that we keep it professional and develop a positive relationship with all of our clients,” Sherman adds.