The Best Kind of Partnership

Premier Development Partners

The cost of building is skyrocketing. As a result, expanding office, medical or industrial facilities has become as financially challenging as it is erecting state-of-the-art buildings from the ground up. However, thanks to Premier Development Partners, LLC, there is hope.
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While there are many operators in the design-build and commercial construction sectors who partner with their clients, it is rare to find a general contractor, design-builder and developer who takes that commitment as far as financing and even co-owning facilities with clients.

It often happens that outfits need to expand or build new facilities but are unable to lay out the cash for such a project. This is where Premier Development Partners steps in. This game-changer based in Cleveland, Ohio, has many decades of experience in increasing the value of assets, giving its clients the opportunity to invest in themselves and their businesses’ futures through intelligent design and planning ahead.

With a reputation for creative thinking, this trusted commercial real estate, development, and construction leader provides quality service from inception to handover and beyond, often still taking care of maintenance more than 20 years later. As a developer of some of the most distinguished properties in the area, the team understands ownership and the responsibilities and complexities that come with this responsibility. As such, the company is well-versed in assisting new owners in seeing projects from a proprietary perspective, helping them to make wise decisions that will serve their investments well over the long term.

By the company’s own description, the word ‘partner’ is part of its name due to the fact that it views and treats every single team member, customer and sub-contractor as a valued part of its team. This northeastern Ohio giant is a partner in every sense. “Nobody works for us. Instead, we all team up to assist our business partners together,” says Jerry Gruszewski, Founding Member and Senior Partner. By spending time listening to clients and identifying their exact needs, Premier Development Partners designs facilities, offices, and healthcare and educational institutions that fulfill their functions and exceed their clients’ needs.

In fact, the company is Ohio’s trusted supplier when it comes to handling new office and industrial expansions. Its sterling service includes helping clients clearly identify and outline their needs, design their dream building, price it, finance their project and build it. In addition, where clients are unable to take sole proprietorship of a property, the company will own the building with the client, or own it exclusively and lease it to the client.

Premier Development Partners is structured across three overall divisions, namely the construction group, who manages all construction projects; the development and leasing team, who searches for and secures projects; and the property management group, who oversees the daily management of the company’s properties. “Our customers continue to enjoy the same level of finish as when the building was completed,” says Jerry.

The team prides itself on being excellent communicators and on working with customers to meet schedules, goals, and objectives on time. Most importantly, it fosters high-quality relationships. It is for this reason that every single one of Premier’s close-knit group of experts treats each project as their own, and this is a trait that extends into encouraging new owners to leverage market trends in order to increase the value of their property investments. Part of this well-honed skill in property investment is paying attention to the smallest detail. With their real estate knowledge, these market-savvy leaders guide clients in everything from acquiring land to securing guarantees, adhering to environmental standards, and design all the way through to moving in. Nothing escapes their scrutiny, ensuring a smooth process throughout.

As with any solid relationship, this entire process pivots on clear and regular communication and the team makes it its foremost priority to keep all stakeholders fully informed throughout all projects. Integrity is the mainstay of Premier’s success and all team members are accountable to themselves and each other to uphold this standard. “We handle our contracting differently than other people in that we make each of our partners in the design team responsible for their individual category. This lessens change orders and confusion and creates a better value engineering project,” says Linda Sherman, Senior Partner and Founding Member.

Premier Development Partners was founded in 2006 when Spencer Pisczak and Ross Farro obtained 330 acres of land in Northeast Ohio from Duke Realty Corporation, where both partners had been Senior Vice Presidents prior to the company diversifying into new markets. The two leaders established the new full-service development and construction firm with the sole purpose of serving corporate property partners in the state and beyond. Its two other founding members, Linda Sherman, and Jerry Gruszewski, also share the two leaders’ extensive experience in real estate and commercial construction.

With a phenomenal drive to exceed expectations, the company is particularly well-known for three major projects that it completed to the satisfaction of its clients. One of these was the 175 000 square foot office building and headquarters of Developers Diversified, a real estate investment trust based in Beachwood, Ohio. The beautifully modern project came with a $35 million price tag and holds the Building Owners and Managers Association International’s (BOMA) coveted Class A ranking, a classification reserved for only the most highly sought-after and desirable office buildings in the world.

Premier Development Partners was also responsible for building the national headquarters and distribution center of Arhaus Furniture, the high-end furniture designer and manufacturer. The facility stretches across all of 775 000 square feet and was the largest building of its size to be erected in the greater Cleveland market in decades. Third on the company’s long list of distinguished construction projects is College Town Kent, a mixed-use project in the City of Kent that was started in 2013 and concluded in 2015. The game-changing project was a collaboration between the City of Kent and Kent State University, Ohio’s second largest university. At a cost of $35 million, this multi-faceted development comprised restaurants, retail spaces, offices and a five-story block of student residence apartments, and brought a much-needed economic upturn to the area. This star accomplishment was awarded the Commercial Real Estate Development Association’s (NAIOP) 2013 Construction Project of the Year – a great industry honor that the company holds in high regard.

Apart from its prestigious property portfolio, part of the company’s popularity is the fact that it believes in transparency – especially when it comes to the pricing and design process. As such, its projects tend to come in under budget, ensuring that there are no shocks at handover. “Because we are owners, we think like owners and therefore we can help our clients to process decisions and designs and help them see it as an owner,” says Jerry. This habit has stood Premier in particularly good stead and its team has grown by 20 percent over the past year.

Flow is an important part of this operation and everyone is cross-trained in order to be able to pick up the reins when work speeds up. A spirit of teamwork binds the group and there are no one-man-bands to be found, here. As a result, its professionalism and consistently sterling results are highly prized by global players. “We work with Xerox; Ametek, the global electronics manufacturer; Progressive Insurance; AT&T Inc., the world’s largest telecommunications company; OverDrive, Inc., an American global distributor of digital reading material and film, and many more high profile clients who trust us to deliver the best facilities and office spaces out there,” says Nicole Delguyd, Director of Marketing.

The company’s 40 percent annual growth rate of the past ten years, although phenomenal, comes as little surprise considering this team’s premier work ethic and unique approach to business. In fact, the firm has been awarded two Weatherheads awards for ‘best example of leadership, growth, and success in the region.’ Despite the escalating cost of construction materials globally, Premier Development Partners is dedicated to delivering quality construction at reasonable prices.

And its heart is as big as its drive to deliver. Employees are encouraged to give back to their communities in whatever ways they can and are even allotted special days during which they are able to work for the charities of their choice. Each senior partner supports their own causes like Young Life and other operations as far afield as Nicaragua, Ecuador, and other countries.

Having spread from northeast Ohio to the Chicago area, Indiana and Florida, this company’s goal is set on growing its reach even further. With the healthcare industry growing exponentially, Premier is very much focused on expanding its portfolio in this specific field. However, organic growth is what it is aiming for and, as Jerry pointed out, Premier Development Partners will continue to build its market share “one brick at a time.”

One of the many things that stand out about this formidable group is that it knows what it is talking about, and as Linda points out via Abraham Lincoln, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” We’ll be following Premier Development Partners’ growth with great excitement as 2019 no doubt holds even greater successes for this elite team of go-getters.

Seeing Red

In 2018, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released several of the worst examples of so-called “Red Tape” that businesses and developers need to complete before getting projects off the ground. The list reads almost as a cautionary tale for anyone hoping to get a development, whether a condominium or a warehouse, completed quickly and on time.

December 13, 2019, 5:13 PM EST