The UrbanCore Approach
UrbanCore Development (“UCD”) has established an approach to urban infill development that includes a focus on public – private partnerships, while emphasizing creative design and construction innovation. As a minority businessman, Mr. Johnson has operated in an entrepreneurial mode since he began operating in 1979 in Atlanta, Georgia. This has included leveraging the acquisition of publicly owned property from redevelopment agencies, housing authorities and city agencies thru responses to competitive Requests for Proposals/Qualifications (RFP/Q’s), or the submittal of unsolicited proposals to acquire underutilized and surplus properties. In this process, UCD is able to secure site control of urban infill development sites without the upfront requirement to fund the acquisition of properties by entering into Disposition & Development Agreements (DDA) that result in the deferral of acquisition costs until the projects are ready to close the project financing and start construction. This reduces the front-end pre-construction equity requirements on each project, along with the carrying costs of insurance and maintenance. In many cases UCD is able to acquire these public sites for below market or reduced costs by attracting the public sector to invest the land into the project to achieve community development goals for the City and neighborhoods.
The next component for UCD beyond strategic public land acquisition is the creative design and construction innovation that the company has focused on. Over the last 20 years Mr. Johnson has focused on establishing standard design layouts of typical unit floor plans, while perfecting the preparation of efficient construction drawing packages working with repeat architecture and engineering teams. As part of this effort, UCD strives to establish on-going construction detailing to maximize constructability and cost efficiency. Additionally, the company has focused on the process of constructing projects with more time and material efficiency, which has resulted in the undertaking of prefabrication of building components off-site and most recently utilizing modular manufacturing of building systems. This includes the construction off-site of modular boxes that are assembled on-site to construct type 3 & type 5 buildings, and potentially high-rise modular construction, which we are exploring with partner firms currently. These prefab and modular approaches are proving to save 25-30% in construction duration, reduce site impacts of noise and traffic, and contribute to green building practices thru reduction in material waste and energy efficiency. All while creating more sustainable building practices that reduce overall construction costs by 10-15%.
Lastly, UCD has focused on creating approaches to financing that reduces project costs thru on-going strategic institutional capital relationships. This includes a willingness to undertake projects that utilize multiple private and public subsidy funding sources, with a goal to reduce risk and improve project returns.