Schmier & Feurring Properties – Park Place

Schmier2Schmier & Feurring says the key to development success is having the right tenants, location and design.

By Bianca Herron

Robert Schmier and Douglas Feurring founded Schmier & Feurring Properties in 1981. Since its first project 35 years ago, the company has become one of the leading retail and office developers in south Florida.

“We create high quality buildings and projects, so we primarily look for ‘A’ locations to develop,” Executive Vice President Brian Schmier says. “We know our market and have developed approximately two million square feet on or just off of Glades Road, which is the main corridor here in Boca Raton, Fla., including nearly a dozen shopping centers, several office buildings and even one small bay flex/industrial.”Schmier info box

Schmier attributes the company’s success and longevity to its founders. “My father and his partner, Douglas, are incredible entrepreneurs,” he says. “The principles that they started with in the early 1980s are still implemented today, including being extremely hands-on, paying incredible attention to details, following through and empowering key employees and key consultants.”

The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company’s recipe for success is the fact that it works in markets it understands, with product types it also understands, Schmier adds. “That has been an important theme for us because not all retail or office projects are successful, meaning you are not attracting the right type of tenant,” he explains. “We have been fortunate to find great real estate and to develop properties where we really understand what is needed in each individual one.

“We work really hard to understand the local retail market around each project,” Schmier continues. “It’s about knowing what site plan works and how customers enjoy the experience whether they are coming or going. It’s one thing to say I am a retailer in Boca Raton, but to be really successful you have to complement a good business model with the right place, on the right corner with the right design.”

Ultimately, it’s about understanding how to build shopping centers that help the retailers succeed, Schmier notes. “That includes giving their customers convenient access and parking, giving our tenants signage and visibility to the street and merchandising the center in a way that puts the right tenants in the right places.”

Setting Standards

Though diversifying tenants in developments is a huge factor in the industry, according to Schmier, it does not always happen. “Everyone talks about merchandising mix, but in some markets you can drive down the street and see 10 shopping centers that literally have the same tenants,” he explains. “When you come to our shopping centers hopefully you’ll see the thought that goes into putting the right tenants together based on design. University Commons was our flagship project we built here in 2002. Our tenants included Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, Nordstrom Rack and Bed Bath & Beyond.

“Although we sold University Commons to Regency Center in late 2015, you can still go there today and hear people describe it as a lifestyle center because it has large sidewalks, lush landscaping, different shade areas, outdoor seating and a mix of tenants that bring people in,” Schmier adds. “We still watch people strolling the sidewalks just because and I think it’s a real tribute to the design and the details put into it.”

Making It Happen

Schmier & Feurring’s latest development is the 64,000-square-foot shopping center Park Place, which opened in fall 2016 just south of Office Depot’s world headquarters. The center includes a 20,000-square-foot Fresh Market grocery store, 400 high-end apartments built by Altman Development Corp., and several local and national restaurants, including Habit Burger, Chipotle and Raw Juice, a Boca Raton-based fresh juice and vegan food restaurant.

“Park Place is a part of the newly rebranded Park at Broken Sound,” Schmier says. “We have half-a-dozen tenants open for business right now and it’s all new construction. We broke ground in late 2015 and it took about 12 to 14 months to construct. The budget was around $400 per square foot.”

Schmier & Feurring hired J. Raymond Construction to build the retail portion of the 26-acre mixed-use project. “They oversaw the construction sequence, safety, and rules and regulations on site,” Schmier notes. “On the exterior of the center we used a mix of stucco, tile and Alcoa’s Reynobond, a natural metal composite panel with a wood grain finish on it. The Reynobond gives the look and warmth of wood, but is durable for the Florida sun and weather.”

Park Place also has a modern design, which presented the company and its subcontractors with one problem. “It has a really unique, fresh look from the building elevations through the design to the site furnishing. So we had to figure out how to cost effectively build the structures we designed as well as finish designing them in time to order the materials needed,” Schmier explains. “For example, some materials like Reynobond are specifically cut to fit once the shell is constructed. J. Raymond did a very good job of managing that for us to ensure that we opened on time. It was our first project working with them and they were terrific.

“As I said before, we believe attention to detail and integrating the right design creates a certain ambiance and environment in a shopping center that helps drive traffic,” he adds. “Our job as the developer is to help our tenants succeed in first-generation space. So we have to develop a project where customers can drive down the road and be excited for something new to open because of the way it looks – without knowing what’s inside it.

“That’s something we are very proud of,” Schmier concludes. “It plays into one of our strengths, which is merchandising the shopping center with the right mix of tenants. Now there is a little buzz and people are excited to go there.  So as the tenants start opening for business we are helping drive traffic, and that helps our tenants’ sales. If they succeed then we will as well.”

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