The Redmond Co.

The Redmond Co. works hard to meet developers and retail clients’ needs. Founded in 1976, The Redmond Co. will celebrate its 35th anni­versary in 2011, and is working on plans for its anniversary celebration at its headquarters in Waukesha, Wis.

The company evol­ved from a real estate development, facilities management and construction services firm for commercial and retail clients into a design and construction firm with a broad spectrum of value-added services.

By separating itself from the development arena, it could apply the expertise it gained in thinking like a risk-avoiding developer into a more empathetic consultant, designer and builder without being in competition with its customers.

Over time, The Redmond Co. developed more than 3 million square feet of property for itself, and built more than 5 million total square feet for customers. Its customers include Walgreens – for whom The Redmond Company has built more than 130 stores – hundreds of banks and credit unions and retail establishments like Pick ’n Save, Qdoba, Starbucks and Best Buy.

The company has in-house architects and designers. “We have a very focused and specialized architectural staff who designs specific themes or brands that incorporate all of a company’s branding elements, consu­mer points of interest and consumer-centric retailing into their design,” reports Marty Steinert, executive vice president/owner.

Consulting Expertise

Also contributing to the firm’s success are its wide array of consulting services that have been developed to provide market, location, site and financial analyses of building a new branch or retail store. In addition, the firm also provides facility assessments to help prospective buyers determine the cost and value of buying an existing building and modifying it to meet their standards.
As The Redmond Co. expanded into designing and building banks and credit unions, the consulting services aspect of the business grew. The Redmond Co. has enhanced its services to become a full turnkey firm that goes beyond design and construction. “We try to be a business partner to our clients.” Steinert emphasized.

Criteria Package

The Redmond Co.’s specialty in financial and retail is related. “Design really has to be catered toward increasing the consumer’s product knowledge and visual awareness – thus increasing sales – so they are both focused specialties from a design perspective,” Steinert points out. “We provide consulting to help our clients identify the optimal market to seek new growth. This has been an area that we’ve been able to hone our skills over 34 years and really develop that into a very specific and in-depth marketing analysis for our clients.”

When working with a chain retailer or bank, The Redmond Co. examines the customer’s criteria package, President/owner Jim Voelz says. That package has all the fundamentals of how the customer wants the store to be engineered. It includes a standard floor plan and proposes specific materials – such as the type of flooring and wall coverings – and specifies what areas should be painted and which should have a vinyl wall covering, for example.

“The retailers’ criteria are very specific, and there’s not a lot of latitude from a design perspective,” Voelz stresses. “It’s the exterior where you have the latitude.” This includes working with the municipality and retail tenant to meet all the parties’ needs.

“That’s where the finesse comes in – in creating an aesthetically pleasing facility that is economically feasible for both the developer and the re­tail tenant,” Voelz emphasizes. “It’s always a fine line in working with tenants to create a project that will be viable and will work for all parties.

That takes a lot of skill and finesse to work that out from a design/build perspective.”Sometimes community standards for signage and other zoning considerations require modification of the retail or financial location. “With some developers, they want us to get involved in the project very early, while others don’t need that aspect of our services,” Voelz notes.

Some developers have done 30 or 40 deals with The Redmond Co., while others simply may have a promising piece of property they want to develop with no experience doing so. “We can help them put the whole package together,” Voelz points out. “That is a value-added service our company can provide. Not too many design/build companies have that depth of service.”

Building Value

Although the company has built projects primarily in eight Midwestern states, it has worked in 15 states. Acting as construction manager on its projects, The Redmond Company with its clients selects subcontractors, and often they are local customers of a financial client whose project The Redmond Co. is building. “So it [has] been a win-win for all parties,” Steinert points out, because approximately 90 percent of all project costs remain local to that community.

“Working on projects in one city and our clients being located in another city, we found it advantageous for both our internal management of the project and for our clients’ benefit to install webcams,” Steinert said. The Redmond Co. mounts the camera on the construction trailer facing the building under construction. No matter where the client is located, access to the live webcam can be gained by logging onto a computer.

Another value is how The Redmond Co. maintains its strict procedure and protocol standards while working across multiple states. These standards are why one Walgreens executive said that a recently completed project had the shortest pre-punchlist in his career with Walgreens.

The key is combining The Redmond Co.’s trained traveling job superintendents with the site’s local subcontractor and vendor base.

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