Phil Cattanach: Advancing and Leading Opus Development in the Midwest

3/16/2020
​Seeing real estate needs. Finding desirable land. Locking in when the time is right. All are key to a successful project, and things at which we're proficient.  

Leading examples abound. Take 3701 Wayzata Blvd on the western edge of Minneapolis, where we recognized significant demand for smaller tenant office space and completely transformed a dated, single-tenant office building into a modern, multitenant office building with first-rate amenities. And there's also The Loden in Edina, Minn., where we met rising demand for high-end living in the affluent suburb by replacing a dysfunctional, vacant two-story office building with a 246-unit luxury apartment building, breathing new life into the highly-desirable property. 

The person behind these and other significant Opus projects in the Midwest is Phil Cattanach

Phil has played an integral role in developing some of our most visible projects. As our Minneapolis vice president and general manager, Phil is responsible for the Minnesota, Dakotas and Iowa markets. He leads the sourcing and pursuit of new development opportunities, upfront development feasibility studies, financial analysis, due diligence and entitlements for speculative and build-to-suit developments, and he provides managerial oversight throughout design and construction.

The Making of a Commercial Real Estate Leader

The career path that led Phil to his current role is somewhat atypical. Phil graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering; then served eight years on active duty, including three combat tours. After his last tour he transitioned from active duty and subsequently attended the University of St. Thomas with a Master of Business Administration. 


Experience gained at West Point and in the Army helped Phil realize where his true passions lie – working with people and leading teams. In 2004, he decided to make a transition, and that's when he landed at Opus. 

“I started with our construction group at Opus," Phil said. “It was rewarding work, working as part of a team to create products that are substantial and tangible – physical brick and mortar buildings," he said. “I quickly realized that I had landed in the right industry – commercial real estate." 

In 2011, Phil's exceptional leadership skills led him from project management to the role of business development manager for construction. A few years later in 2013, he moved to development. In 2019, he assumed his current role.

“In the military, we worked in extremely-complex environments," Phil explained. “We did not always have the benefit of time or the luxury of having all the information. During those years, I had many opportunities to develop skills I use every day today – time management, problem solving and leadership." 

“For me, one of the most rewarding times as a developer is when you realize a project is no longer just an idea," he said. “When you see that first piece of equipment unloaded at the job site or when the first shovel goes in the ground. All the hard work culminates at that moment – when you see the beginnings of a transformed neighborhood. It's a very powerful thing." 

Accolades to the Fully-Integrated, In-House Team

Phil has managed development of a wide range of projects at Opus, from industrial and retail to office and multifamily. He credits the entire team for his success; the ability to work with other associates across the entire platform nationwide, while beneficial to him and his work, is also both significant and unique. 

“We share best practices and interact regularly with developers in other Opus markets, exchanging ideas and approaches that are transferrable from market to market," he said. “In addition, because Opus is vertically integrated, at any time we can easily interact directly with our architecture, design and construction team members. This continuity and close collaboration is why Opus is able to so consistently deliver certainty of outcome for clients and partners."  

He goes on to say, “I'll be the first to say, my success is not because of me. It's because of the team. It's a pretty amazing experience to witness how far and how quickly we can move when everyone comes together focused in the same direction. In addition, I'm grateful to work with some of the most prolific developers in the industry here at Opus. Our culture embraces an open-door policy of transparency, where everyone is encouraged to ask questions and exchange ideas. That's pretty unique, and you don't always get that in other organizations." 

Matt Rauenhorst, executive vice president and general manager, has worked with Phil for more than a decade. He said, “It is always a pleasure to work with Phil and observe how he diligently listens to and responds to the client's needs, from the beginning of the project until we deliver the building. An expert at delivering clear and consistent communications, Phil is a well-respected leader, both internally at Opus and externally with our clients and partners." 

***

Phil is a member of Urban Land Institute, Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute and NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association, where he is currently serving as Vice President of the Minnesota Chapter. 

***

Our associates are talented, dedicated and knowledgeable. They streamline complex projects and always deliver value to clients. Read more profiles of our team.