The Benefits of One Team: The Loden


​Developing, designing and constructing buildings is a complex process with many moving, interrelated parts. We simplify the process by offering all roles – development, architecture, interior design, engineering, project management and construction – on one team. Our model is efficient because it enables tightly-knit teams of in-house experts to work together and collaborate on behalf of the client.

The Loden, a luxury multifamily development in Edina, Minn., is one example of the successful implementation of our one-team approach.  

Changing Landscapes

At the start, two office buildings resided on 24 acres of prime land. One was a rather dysfunctional, vacant two-story office building and the other was a large, recently leased and remodeled headquarters for a prominent local healthcare organization. The two buildings were very close together; in fact, they were physically connected. 

Along with Founders Properties our partner in the acquisition and development, our team assisted in the acquisition of the entire property, which included assuming and amending the current in place lease. With plans to demolish the vacant office building and redevelop the land for multifamily use, naturally, the healthcare tenant had many questions.  

“In all reality, I'm not sure the project would have happened if it had not been for our one-team model," said Phil Cattanach, senior director of real estate development. “The healthcare tenant had just signed a long-term lease and moved their employees in, and now we were going to knock down the building directly adjacent to their front lobby entrance and start a construction process that would permanently change the landscape."  

Helping the healthcare tenant understand how the two buildings would interact with each other was critical to the project. Over the course of many meetings, our team listened to their concerns and made adjustments to the site plan based on feedback.  

“They needed to be a willing participant for The Loden to happen," said Cattanach. “Our one-team approach made it possible for our developers, architects, project managers and field associates to meet with them all together at the same table – many times."

We explained in detail the end result and what would be involved to get there. A very active construction site needed to coordinate with a living, breathing, operating business right across the driveway. Hundreds of employees would be coming and going every day during the demolition and construction, so in addition to safety, ongoing communication was imperative.  

Gaining Buy-in

In addition to addressing the healthcare tenant's concerns, we carefully considered how The Loden would fit with the broader fabric of the neighborhood. Again, the one team approach was beneficial. When the development, design and construction experts are all on the same team and working for the same clients, efficiencies are gained, not only with respect to time and budget, but gaining buy-in. 

“We understand change is always of potential concern for neighbors and the community. We spent a great deal of time showing them, thoughtfully and respectfully, what the future development would look like," Phil said. “We went through multiple perspectives regarding the size and architecture of The Loden as it relates to neighboring buildings. It's always our goal to get stakeholders as comfortable as possible with our products."

Ideal Design, Efficiently Delivered

As with all projects of this nature, design architects worked closely with the developers to understand the market. Then, as designs evolved, construction associates contributed insights into the constructability of the building. 

“We applied many of the luxury amenities and concepts typical for our urban multifamily projects to The Loden," said Jay Fourniea, manager of architecture. “Because it was a suburban site with considerable space, we were able to spread out the amenities and give it more of a resort feel with a European car court, a separate amenity building, an outdoor courtyard and wonderful pool deck that links to a club room via an indoor walkway."

“Being able to collaborate as one team with the various stakeholders enables us to move the entire process along more quickly and swiftly, while delivering as many stakeholder requests as possible," Jay said. “That consistent feedback loop with all entities working together makes us efficient and often speeds up delivery for clients." 

Alex Lord, associate project manager, concurs that this one-team approach provides countless benefits. “I've been at Opus for four years and can tell you it's a well-oiled machine. Our development, design, architecture and construction teams constantly interacted throughout the course of The Loden project," he said. “It's much better for clients than working with various firms because it's simpler for them and enables us to be more nimble. From project to project, we work as a team, which creates consistencies and helps us continually improve our processes leading to a better outcome for clients." 

All these efficiencies contributed to a compressed schedule for the Loden. The building was completed on time, despite a 14" snowfall in mid April. The first residents were welcomed in May 2018.