A Canadian construction-management company, on a roll after breathing new life into a defunct Midvale condominium project, expects to open a subsidiary office in Salt Lake City and is looking at a half-dozen new projects in Utah."They see many, many opportunities here," said Gail Godel, consultant to Montreal-based Concordia Management Co. Those opportunities include a single-family home development, an "institutional development" and a ski resort, among others.
According to Ken Baxter, director of sales and marketing for Concordia's Briarwood Springs condominium development at 7650 S. 7th East, Concordia is working with Neal Zais, a Boston businessman who bought the 170-acre Enoch Smith ranch west of Park City, to develop the property into a ski resort complete with a four-person high-speed ski lift.
"They have nearly all of the leases secured to build the high-speed quad that will access all of Park City," said Baxter.
Operating out of unprepossessing offices on Jean-Talon St. in downtown Montreal, Concordia is overseeing more than $500 million in construction projects this year, including the $50 million resort for Canadian Pacific Hotels in Whistler, B.C.
Concordia's projects in the United States include the $300 million Crown Center Development for Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, the Quality Inn hotel in downtown Boston, an extension of the Fogg Museum for Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., the One River Place condominium complex in New Orleans and the Main Place office tower in Dallas.
Internationally, Concordia's projects include the Place Bonaventure and Alcan Aluminum headquarters in Montreal, the reconstruction of the Ottawa Civic Hospital, a second terminal for the Toronto International Airport, a prison in Trinidad and Tobago.
Concordia came to Utah to rescue the Briarwood Springs condominium units and townhouses at 7650 S. 7th East. According to Baxter, the original developer, Sandy Oaks Co., "walked away" from the project, turning it back to the lenders - lead lender Concordia Federal Bank for Savings, Lansing, Ill. (no connection with Concordia Management) and four other non-Utah lenders.
The complex languished unattended through 1985, unfinished and prey to vandals, until Concordia was called in by the lenders in April, 1986 to attempt a rescue. Today, 94 of the planned 200 units have been built and 87 of them sold at prices ranging from $59,000 to $105,000, said Baxter.
The remaining 106 units will be constructed over the next 30 months, he said.
"Concordia's strong track record of completing projects on time and within budget," is a main reason for the turnaround, said Godel. And that is a result of its unusual approach to construction management, she said. First stages of a project are begun before final drawings are ready, reducing construction time by a year on a 3-4 year project.
General contractors, she said, tend to complete the design before construction begins.
Baxter said the main difference he sees is Concordia's Project Realization System which includes everything from marketing to financing. "They handle it all and they're always on time and on budget," said Baxter.
Project director David Kavanagh said Briarwood's sales record is very strong under Concordia, particularly considering the "tight market and number of troubled residential developments" in the Salt Lake area.
He said Briarwood's cathedral ceilings, skylights, oversized windows, energy savings packages, French doors, attached garages, private patios and decks and common amenities such as pool, tennis courts and health spa give the project a "competitive edge."