As most people have experienced in the country, certain materials are tough to come by, whether in a personal or business realm. This is not a new development, but the scale of the issue has seemingly grown, and new challenges are presented in our industry every day. Some may ask, what is driving this? One of the primary factors driving this is a lot of the raw materials that we utilize come from overseas. In an article I read the other day, a record 65 ships were sitting in the ports along the West coast waiting to be unloaded, compounding an already challenging logistics industry. This is causing a lot of uncertainty for suppliers when these raw materials will be received to produce the needed components to build our projects. In the interim, demand continues to increase, resulting in the challenges upon us today.
Recently, several developer clients of ours have mentioned a multi-family product type called Build-to-Rent (BTR). The concept is to develop and build single-family home communities where the houses are rented to tenants in lieu of being sold to homebuyers. According to Northmarq’s March 2021 report, strong consumer trends support the growth of this type of multi-family development. Renters are growing more affluent, causing shifts in their desired types of rental homes, features, and amenities. People also have lasting scar tissue of the housing crash of the Great Recession, which negatively impacted so many. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a need at the top of people's shopping lists for more work-from-home space. Also, the desire to live in less dense apartment buildings has people moving towards the BTR solution.
BTR multi-family developments offer tenants the larger space of a traditional house to people who can’t afford the large down...Read More >
The Douglas Company, General Contractor, celebrates the beginning of construction on its eighth project with the owner, Kaplan Development Group, LLC. The $12.3 million, All American of Enfield is a 55,992 square-foot, 58 unit assisted living and memory care community in Enfield, Connecticut.
Designed by EGA Architects, All American of Enfield boasts several in-house amenities, including a salon, beauty parlor, bistro, media room, and an interior courtyard. The building is wood-framed and constructed on a slab on grade over a standard spread footer/stem wall. The exterior is finished with CertainTeed Vinyl Siding, including lap boards and "cedar" shakes, with a mix of EPDM and asphalt shingle roofing.
"The Douglas Company team is grateful for our continued collaboration with Kaplan Development. We are excited to bring All American of Enfield to life and deliver a best-in-class project for the Enfield region," stated Alan Kluczynski, Assistant Project Manager of The Douglas Company.
The...Read More >
We continue to get buffeted by price increases, seemingly weekly, which puts pressure on our estimates and has a negative effect on feasibility for our clients. Though prices are being locked in for Fall starts up North, clients have repeatedly asked me what will happen to them for their Spring starts. It’s certainly understandable. I’d want to know too. Normally, I’d have a good sense of this, but I don’t feel that I have a good basis to know now. This summer, home building continued at a brisk pace, and lumber peaked at over $1,800 per mbf. Clients kept asking me what they should do at those prices, but this situation was unprecedented. Most locked in, and then lumber started to come down. Jeff Korzenic, Chief Investment Strategist of Fifth Third Bank, said earlier this summer that the best cure for high commodity prices is high commodity prices since it...Read More >
Last month we wrote about how The Senior Housing Evolution Continues, specifically discussing the Active Adult concept. Last week, The Douglas Company attended an Active Adult conference hosted by Interface, where we heard from pioneers and visionary leaders in this new product. Three major conceptual questions stood out through all the sessions:
How to Define Active Adult?
While there is huge excitement about the space, there isn't a clear-cut, one-size-fits-all definition of what an "Active Adult" community really is, or for that matter, if the term "Active Adult" is going to stick. While time will probably resolve these issues, there is consensus on the place in the market - Seniors in their early 70s want to take advantage of the equity in their homes and sell them to downsize in an effort to reduce maintenance and find a new social circle. This is want-based, not need-based like other senior housing...Read More >
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The Douglas Company, along with Pennrose, LLC of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Blanchard Valley Health System, celebrated the grand opening during a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Eastern Woods Senior apartment community in Findlay, Ohio.
Designed by architectural firm Moody Nolan, Inc., a Columbus, Ohio-based company, the development offers affordable housing to the growing senior population in and around the Findlay, Ohio area. Eastern Woods Senior consists of 50 senior apartment units in one three-story building, with a total square footage of 49,677. Amenities include elevator service, resident storage, fitness center, on-site management office suite, community gathering space, outdoor patio, and ample on-site parking, all within the peaceful, walkable, amenity-rich Eastern Woods mixed-use campus. The building was designed to meet “Aging in Place” design requirements and achieves LEED Silver standards to ensure energy efficiency.
"The Douglas Company is proud to see this project come to fruition and to...Read More >
The Douglas Company, General Contractor, announced the promotion of two of its partners to Vice Presidents. Mr. Bruce Douglas has been promoted to Vice President of Preconstruction, and Mr. Pete Zimmerman has been promoted to Vice President of Estimating. Both will be serving as members of The Douglas Company’s Executive Committee, establishing company policies, and participating in developing company strategies and objectives.
Pete Zimmerman, P.E.
Vice President of Estimating
Mr. Zimmerman began his career with The Douglas Company in 2003 after graduating from the University of Toledo College of Engineering with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He demonstrates a full understanding of construction, cost control, the bid process, project documentation, project management, and time management with subcontractors and suppliers.
As Vice President of Estimating, Pete will work closely with clients, architects, and subcontractors, during the estimating stage,...Read More >
The resilience of active adult communities during the pandemic and resulting recession has resulted in many developers, operators, lenders, and equity investors taking another look at the product and determining how it fits their strategy for future growth.
Many skeptics have become supporters after seeing the performance turned in by active adult communities through 2020. Active adult rental properties were already among the senior housing product types with the strongest performance prior to Covid-19. But the segment outperformed all other types of senior housing during the pandemic according to data from Senior Housing News. Active adult communities are outpacing Independent Living and attracting a younger and healthier demographic.
At a recent Active Adult Virtual Summit hosted by The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing (NIC), they shared the belief that active adult is taking over the role that Independent Living played in the continuum of care 20 years ago. While dining...Read More >
Government regulations have been loosening up lately, but some impacts resulting from them are increasing as construction keeps moving forward. One specific item that comes to mind is material lead times. Items that we were accustomed to being readily available now seem to carry a 2-3 week lead time, and items that were normally 4-5 weeks have jumped to 10-12 weeks. If anyone has tried to buy any furniture or appliances for your home lately, I am sure you can attest to that. This creates unique challenges for our project teams to overcome, but our company processes have been developed to help mitigate these issues for our clients and us.
Purchasing materials early is the essential first step, but that is just the beginning. We have come to learn in the past 18 months that there is a lot of uncertainty in the supply chain industry due to constraints of...Read More >
The Douglas Company, an award-winning Toledo, Ohio-based general contractor, is proud to announce construction is underway on the new John Arthur Flats affordable living community located in Cincinnati, Ohio is a collaboration between neighborhood community development corporation Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation (NEST) and national developer Pennrose Properties, LLC.
The 50,195 square foot John Arthur Flats will be Cincinnati's first Affordable Housing Community for LGBTQ seniors. Designed by New Republic Architecture, the three-story development will consist of 57 one and two-bedroom apartments. Amenities include a fitness center, outdoor terrace, community space, as well as parking. Construction is scheduled to be complete in spring 2022.
"The Douglas Company is thrilled to be part of the project team working with Pennrose; they have a great reputation, and their affordable housing properties are among the best available. John Arthur Flats will provide crucial housing and supportive services to the many LGBTQ...Read More >
A little while back, I came across some extra marketing collateral of ours that was previously in circulation with the motto of “Make the Numbers Work.” Some of the collateral may or may not have had an expletive gesture mixed in of “!!@!%#!!@!!”. You get the point.
It was all good fun, and I thought it was great!
That’s the foundation of getting a new project out of the starting blocks. Make the Numbers Work! Of course, a project has to pencil for it to make sense for the developer and investors. An easy way to do that is to start cutting finishes and amenities, but that will not help you compete in the market or get the rents you need. Sometimes, it is needed to get you there, but it often doesn’t even get you a good bang for your buck.
You should first try to attack what’s “behind the walls” to...Read More >
It has been a little over a year since the COVID 19 pandemic began and we are still feeling the after-effects of its impacts over the past year. With more of the population getting vaccinated and some states loosening restrictions, it feels as though we are getting back to normal but there are still many challenges upon us in the construction industry.
Material supply chain and volatile pricing continue to impact new starts with our Clients as many are eager to get shovels in the ground but we are challenged to hold pricing for extended periods of time like we could pre-pandemic. Then, if we are able to get the project going there are extended lead times that we are dealing with to hold our schedules, timely purchasing to mitigate further price increases and expedited submittal procurement are extremely important in our current...Read More >
I am hearing different stories from clients in my discussions. There is no doubt that occupancies in Senior Living are down. There is no doubt that projects are requiring more equity, and equity demands a higher return. There is no doubt that staffing is more difficult to find and more expensive. There is also no doubt that construction prices have risen dramatically in the past six to eight months due to supply issues caused by a myriad of factors.
A client said to Bob Ritter, our Director of Business Development, the other day that he couldn’t look at new construction projects because construction costs were too high. I wonder if that is accurate. My experience in owning Senior Living projects is that capital costs are a minor part of the total operating budget. Operating costs are the vast majority. So if construction costs go up 10%, as an example, it...Read More >
The Douglas Company, General Contractor, is pleased to announce four key promotions within our Holland, Ohio office, a move that advances both our associates' professional development and the organization's growth.
"Internal succession and promotions build upon our foundation while allowing the company to evolve and grow. In their new roles, these team members will strengthen the organizational structure and effectively allow our team to focus on client satisfaction while executing our long-term growth strategy. We expect each of the key associates' leadership, experience, and vision to enhance our organization," said Peter Douglas, President of The Douglas Company.
Justin VanAtta joined The Douglas Company in 2017 as an Assistant Project Manager and has since earned the position of Project Manager. In Justin's new role, his responsibilities include managing the complete life cycle of a variety of projects and working closely with clients...Read More >
Lumber - It has been the word in construction this year that we simultaneously hate talking about and can't stop talking about. At this point, anyone who has speculated on what's going to happen with pricing has been wrong at least once. While no one can predict what's going to happen, there may be some answers to find by looking at how we ended up here.
First, let's assess the current state of lumber. This information is taken from pricing and supply from several large providers we work with across multiple states:
- The commodity index has been posting new record highs nearly every day so far this month (NASDAQ: LBS), until mid-week this week. The pace is the most startling thing here - On April 8th it passed 1100 for the first time in history then, only 7 market days later on April 19th it passed an astonishing 1300.
- Futures are very... Read More >
A somewhat new segment of rental active adult housing is showing signs of leading the way for senior living development post COVID. Our estimating department is currently budgeting and pricing several active adult projects for multiple clients. The product targets baby boomers in early retirement, looking to downsize, but who are years away from needing independent living or assisted living services.
Many seniors no longer want the maintenance and overhead of a large house, like the idea of increased socialization, but don’t require assistance with activities of daily living. Active adult communities tend to command a premium over standard multi-family products, and because the residents are primarily retired, their incomes are somewhat insulated to swings in the job market and economy. Another plus for developers, residents of active adult communities typically stay for five years or longer.
While the pandemic has impacted occupancy in all senior living sectors, several owners and operators...Read More >
While many of us in the construction industry have been focused on dealing with the steep rise in lumber costs over the past year, a new threat is upon us: PVC. In February, Texas-based petrochemical plants were forced to shut down unexpectedly due to a winter storm that caused vast power outages. S&P Global reports that 75% of the 40 million metric tons of ethylene production were taken offline during the height of the deep freeze. Bloomberg reports that 60% of the U.S. PVC capacity remains offline still. According to the Wall Street Journal, prices for polyethylene and polypropylene have reached the highest prices in years. The problem affects far more than the construction industry; reports of supply chain disruptions are coming out from industries like automotive, food and consumer packaging, medical device and supply production, and more. Honda and Toyota have recently announced they will halt production...Read More >
The Douglas Company is serving as the general contractor for a new $11.7 million assisted living and memory care project that recently began construction. Maumee Pointe assisted living and memory care will be located at 1050 Medical Center Pkwy, Maumee, Ohio.
Designed by Davison Smith Certo Architects, Inc., Maumee Pointe will be a 69,310 square-foot assisted living and memory care community developed by Sage Real Estate Development of Rochester, New York. The new senior living community will consist of a single-story building including 22 memory care units for individuals with dementia-related conditions and a two-story assisted living building offering 58 one-bedroom suites for those needing assisted living services.
Amenities at Maumee Pointe will include an arts and crafts area, spa, chapel, bistro and dining area, wellness center, sunroom, and lounges. The exterior layout consists of two courtyards, a fire pit, and a greenhouse. Davison Smith Certo Architects, Inc....Read More >
This past weekend I was listening to a presentation on a book many of you have heard and read, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey; I was drawn towards a reference to an old fable by Aesop, The Goose & The Golden Egg.
The story goes like this for those who aren't familiar: A poor farmer discovers that his prized goose has begun to lay golden eggs each day. Excitedly, the farmer takes the eggs to the market and begins to get rich. With his newfound success, the farmer starts growing impatient by only receiving one egg a day from his goose and isn't getting rich fast enough. One day after counting his money, he realizes that he could get all the golden eggs at once if he kills the goose and cuts...Read More >