Our “Firm” Philosophy – A Peak Behind the Curtain…
Centricity’s cardinal objective is to WOW its customers, clients, and financial partners. We believe that building a better mousetrap is not just an opportunity; it’s a responsibility. Bring us good, and we’ll make it great. Bring us great, and we’ll make it sensational. Bring us sensational, and we’ll make it… WOW!
Our founder began Centricity to be a purveyor of real estate that is both intentional and aspirational. We don’t believe that “different” is necessarily better, or that “unique” guarantees success. It’s not that simple.
Celebrated projects are ones that cautiously apply form to function; where design is purposeful, not flamboyant; where the human experience is curated, not copied; and where technical details are meticulously managed, not afterthoughts.
Form and function are the yin and yang of real estate. On the surface, they are seemingly opposing forces but, when balanced properly, they are complementary. Artistic expression and financial discipline can, indeed, co-exist.
Every day, we seek to expunge the unoriginal, unnecessary, and unrealistic and replace them with the inspirational, innovative, and inclusive. We believe there are no exceptions to exceptional work. To quote a phrase often attributed to Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
This belief is at the core of our company. When we complete a project or an assignment, we want our customers and community leaders to be exuberant marketers. We want our clients and investors to be satisfied partners.
In short, you can procure ordinary opinions and ordinary outcomes anywhere. We aim to accomplish our company motto, Groundbreaking Insights. Earthmoving Results.
That’s the Centricity philosophy.
Our Value Proposition – A Little Shameless Self-Promotion…
We realize there are many people and organizations that can create and manage real estate projects, but take a look where they set the bar. Are they just picking off the low-hanging fruit? Are you receiving a favorable ROI? Are you even invigorated by their work?
At Centricity, we embrace and practice accountability… to our customers, who deserve both heightened aesthetics and seamless delivery… to our investors, who deserve excellence in execution and a reward for their at-risk capital… and to our community shareholders, who deserve to be energized and engaged by what we build.
Large-scale development attracts hundreds of passionate stakeholders with dozens of conflicting opinions. Big money is on the line and investors are seldom comfortable with land prices, municipal approvals, and financial projections. At the outset, the process is much like a symphony orchestra tuning its instruments – dissonant and chaotic. Our expertise is conducting and cajoling these disparate voices, like separate circles of a Venn diagram, closer together until a point of overlap is attained.
Yes, sometimes particularly disruptive voices must be confronted; sometimes public interests are inflexible; and sometimes financial expectations are unreasonable. But you might be surprised how often you can persuade divergent communities to coalesce around a compelling objective and a compelling message.
This may seem like an impossible bar to clear, but we welcome the challenge. After all, we’re not in the cupcake business… although we do love that business! And, fortunately, our work is intellectually delicious!
Said another way, we are innately wired to convert the impossible into the demonstrable, whether it’s delivering superb projects to our customers, or delivering superb returns to our partners.
With regard to our customers, we know they value a distinctive place to call home. It doesn’t matter if that home is for a family, a couple, a single person, a business, a merchant, or an overly ambitious pet – the project must be inviting and uplifting – one that says, “you have arrived; you have prevailed.”
In other words, we don’t fashion ordinary places where our customers can Live, Work and Play. [How many times have you heard that expression?] Rather, we fashion extraordinary places where our customers can Thrive, Achieve and Celebrate; where they can Learn, Explore and Create; and where they can be Safe, be Green, and be Healthy.
With regard to our partners, we know they value measurable attributes in the firms and people they entrust to protect their fiduciary obligations and reputations. To name a few…
- a faithful steward of their discretionary capital,
- a brand ambassador that builds goodwill in conjunction with structures and profits,
- a consistent associate that exudes transparency,
- a persistent detective that strives to unearth problems before they occur, and
- a resolute problem solver when the inevitable problem arises.
For Centricity, this is not too much to ask – this is our value proposition.
How We Think – Some Inside Information
That Is Perfectly Legal…
Setting aside a few of us deal-obsessed developer-types that think dirt is a USDA food group, people tend to equate real estate development with construction, but this is an oversimplification. A splashy groundbreaking ceremony may seem like the start of the development process, when in fact it signals the process has entered the home stretch. The endeavor to translate goals and visions into bricks and mortar, no doubt, started years earlier.
Reduced to basics, a large real estate project is an enormous jigsaw puzzle, followed by an enormous manufacturing operation. The success of the latter is largely dependent on the success of the former. Too often, construction begins before all the pieces are in place. A developer’s urge to advance from pro forma to production is immense and poor financial incentives can exacerbate the problem. This is a cost and schedule bust waiting to happen, which can result in a busload of unhappy customers and partners, not to mention a busload of happy lawyers!
But the pre-construction phase doesn’t have to be “puzzling” or daunting. In fact, at Centricity, we actually think the early collision of ideas – creative, analytical, political, financial – is invigorating and, frankly, the most important part of the development process.
Unnoticed problems in the design phase can propagate to the construction drawings, which can, in turn, propagate to the built environment, leading to diminished financial performance, latent defect claims, or heaven forbid, life safety concerns. Conversely, unnoticed opportunities in the design phase can result in missed financial and lifestyle benefits.
To use a wave analogy, good ideas can cancel each other out if the environment is wrong, but they can amplify each other if conditions are right.
To establish the right conditions, you have to set the table correctly and get everyone tuned to the same frequency. There are a lot of people sitting at the table – architects, engineers, contractors, marketers, lawyers, community organizers, politicians, bankers, and dozens more. The developer may sit at the head of the table, but the banker picks up most of the check. An unrestrained group can get expensive.
These bankers, a.k.a. capital providers, include both lenders and equity partners. Legally and pragmatically, they are passive partners who are conditioned to find good deals, not develop them. But good luck with that strategy in a market where a mountain of dry powder is being deployed by an army of experienced mountaineers. Today’s market fundamentals require capital providers to make good deals, which is a nonpassive activity that requires the retention of like-minded, third-party operators and developers.
Therefore, to outperform competitors, capital providers are more dependent than ever on good developers, and financial performance will be determined by the intellectual horsepower, creative energy, political connections, work ethic, experience, and integrity of these developers.
Our condolences if yours breaks more wind than ground!
OK, Let’s Wrap This Up Before We Miss The Market…
A proven developer knows how to assemble the 4 P’s of real estate development – Parcels, Plans, People, and Politics (all at the same time, mind you) and then finance them in a way that generates a 5th P – profit!
Of course, no profit will be realized unless the project’s intended customers buy or rent the product, which won’t occur unless they value the product. And that won’t occur if there are problems with the product.
This means a developer must be ready, willing, and able to address and suppress every tangible and intangible problem encountered over a multi-year development cycle.
Not the best fit for someone with a short attention span!
At Centricity, we jokingly lament we spend 25% of our time on financial issues, 25% on political issues, 25% on market issues, and 25% on lawyers! Somewhere in between, we must make room for a major construction project and bring together hundreds of people, thousands of parts, and millions of dollars into a finished product with tolerances measured in fractions of an inch.
You cannot delegate your way out of responsibility this consequential.
Prospect Extensively, Choose Carefully,
The above discussion represents our strategic perspective – an industry view from 30,000 feet. But even though opportunity resides in the clouds, victory is earned on the ground. The tactical perspective from 30 feet is equally important, but often overlooked.
Military history is littered with examples of strategic power succumbing to tactical failure. Ask Napoleon about his Grande Armée in Russia… oh wait. Real estate has its own examples – it’s not always the market’s fault.
We could write volumes about the view from 30 feet – design details, engineering calcs, facilities layouts, scheduling conflicts, materials availability, labor constraints, operations manuals, accounting, reporting, tax – you get the idea. It’s enough to zap your frontal lobe, make you delegate everything, and start wistfully clicking on adorable puppy memes.
But then who is going to manage the logistics? They say the “devil is in the details” for a reason – often during a postmortem examination. We refuse to accept this outcome. And it is why we are downright spiritual about minding the details.
Sure, you can add a lot of value in one shot at 30,000 feet, but you can add a little value every day at 30 feet. The longer the lifecycle of an asset, the more important asset management becomes.
This is why you’re as likely to find us (figuratively, of course) in the cockpit of a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft as you are in the cockpit of a low-altitude crop duster… both flight operations are critical to mission success.
In summary – Groundbreaking Insights. Earthmoving Results. It’s not just our company motto. It’s our company philosophy; it’s our value proposition; it’s how we think; and it’s ultimately how we get to… WOW!