By Alex Kolodesh, CCIM and Partner of SINGERProperties
Nearly twenty years ago, Singer Properties started with a blank slate in developing a large tract of real estate – a 140-acre parcel of land – that is now known as the York Commons-Miller Lane District of Butler Township. We began with a vision of “what could be” and are now standing at the precipice of “what is”; throughout these years we have been committed to the success of the York Commons-Miller Lane development at every stage of the process.
By maintaining our commitment to our core principles and following a specific set of outlined goals, we are to the point of achieving a stabilized and successful development over the long-term. We feel that we are consistently pushing the project towards our end goal – a development that is fully integrated within the fabric of the Butler Township community as an amenity for the township residents and other customers.
Three goals essential to good economic development have guided our decisions. These goals are simple in theory, yet they take careful and calculated planning to achieve.
The three goals are: first, to deliver outstanding value to the businesses coming to the area; second, to provide the maximum benefit to the community in which the development resides; and third, to cultivate an environment where patrons of those tenant businesses are met with the best customer service experience from both tenant and developer.
Each quarter, I will be writing an article addressing the importance of each goal and how it has been achieved in the York Commons-Miller Lane development. It will become readily apparent that, while on the surface these goals seem to be distinct, they are actually intertwined and are rooted in common principles.
In this issue, I would like to focus on the first of the three goals needed for good development, which is to deliver outstanding value to businesses within the development.
When Singer Properties broke ground on this development nearly 20 years ago we strove to create something completely unique to the area: a first class project, that would stand the test of time in its architectural styling, land planning and construction materials. This is a necessity since businesses looking for space, whether they are restaurants, retailers or office users, have a variety of locations from which to choose. Rather than take the position that businesses are somehow lucky to get into our development, we instead have always been honored when a business owner makes a decision to invest his or her time and resources to become a tenant within the development.
Providing superior value to the businesses goes beyond providing a first-class product for them. We also need to focus on the correct mix of tenants. This is really more art than science but, at its core, the concept is to make sure that the businesses have the potential to complement one another. Usually, that means that the goods and services they provide are different from business to business. Occasionally, some friendly competition actually benefits the respective establishments.
We not only evaluate the various types of businesses when creating a “tenant mix” but also where they should be positioned within the project. This will depend, in large part, on the customers that the business caters to: what time of the day do the customers usually come to the business; how long do they park there; does the business cater to families or individuals? These and many other questions need to be addressed when evaluating a potential location for a business and how it fits in with the others in the area.
Once we find the correct location for a business within the development, we must commit to supporting them in an ongoing manner throughout their tenancy. This is accomplished by maintaining the buildings in top condition, providing first-rate landscaping, well-maintained parking lots, as well as extensive building and parking lot lighting. Each parcel of property – the building, signage and landscaping – must become an integrated component within the overall development. Essentially, each building has to be an amenity to the project.
At each phase of the project, our goal was to build to the highest standards. In order to continually attract the best tenants and to provide a positive customer experience, it has been critical for us to maintain these high standards. Good development practices demand nothing less. Our company would have done a strong disservice to the tenants of the development, and to the residents of Butler Township, had we just settled for mediocre construction materials and architectural styling. In the near future, be on the lookout for existing tenants expanding their businesses and new businesses finding homes in the district. You will also see upgrades in lighting and landscaping.
It’s amazing to think that at one time, the development was just an open field. Having a vision and following a plan to actualize that vision has made the district what it is today. The York Commons-Miller Lane Business District is proud to make its home in Butler Township and looks forward to what the future holds.