To further lev.co’s mission of democratizing knowledge about commercial real estate, we started an interview series with all kinds of CREF pros: everyone from multifamily and medical to cannabis and construction. This time we connected with Eric Rodawig, Finance Director at City+Ventures.
Here’s how the conversation went:
City+Ventures is the only company I’ve seen so far that invests in commercial properties and the businesses themselves. What are the advantages to that approach?
Investing in both the properties and business themselves is a unique approach, not often seen in the marketplace. This diversification serves City+Ventures well from an employment standpoint because we can attract a wider variety of talent with many opportunities to make an impact across businesses — from real estate to carwashes, aviation to construction, and beyond.
From an operations standpoint, City+Ventures creates exciting residential, commercial and community destinations for our residents, tenants and visitors. Being closely involved on the business side allows us to start by developing exciting spaces and then combine our infrastructure with experts who are highly skilled in their industry.
A great example is our recently announced Dead Presidents Group, a partnership with experienced local restauranteurs, Jon Nelson and Ryan Mann. We want to bring high-quality, locally sourced food and drinks to our properties, and partnering with Nelson and Mann will provide resources to support restaurant growth while freeing them to focus on core operations and supply chain.
Architectural rendering of the Dead Presidents Group restaurant trio opening in early 2022 at the Leighton District in Lincoln, NE. Concepts include Daq Shack, Franco’s Fresh Mexican, and Lincoln’s Pub. For more information, visit DeadPresidentsGroup.com. | Image provided by City+Ventures
What does it mean to really invest in a city, rather than only the property?
City+Ventures wants to make meaningful investments to enhance the communities we serve. On the real estate side, we aspire to make our developments sources of pride for neighborhoods and communities.
In 2020 we acquired the Central Park Plaza office towers in downtown Omaha, making City+Ventures the first local owners in their approximately 40-year history. The towers are an iconic part of Omaha’s skyline; however, they will require significant investment to return them to their former glory. We are undertaking a complete renovation and bringing brand-new amenities to this unbeatable location to create the best office experience in the Omaha area.
On the business side, many of our businesses rely on membership revenue, which of course requires us to provide the best experiences and value for our members, creating lasting relationships. We also actively participate in our communities, with fundraising and community relations programs that directly support organizations, schools and clubs in the neighborhoods we call home.
Are there any underreported CRE market trends you’ve been thinking about lately?
We believe concerns about the office market are exaggerated. These spaces will continue to be a crucial source of collaboration and culture for companies, and our tenants are telling us unique amenities and functional spaces are more important than ever.
For example, the Omaha office market has held up well in recent years with a variety of headquarters and other significant related developments. City+Ventures is putting our money where our mouth is, and we are happy to continue investing in this asset class. If you’re lending for offices, give us a call!
Any upcoming projects you want to preview for our readers?
We recently broke ground on an expansion of 88 Tactical, our tactical training range and gun club. We’ll be adding over 30,000 square feet of additional space, including a new sports bar and restaurant, almost two dozen new shooting ranges, a corporate member lounge and event space, and an outdoor amenity area including a year-round synthetic ice skating rink and a greenspace for live music and other entertainment. This will be a place where families and people of all ages can have fun, discover their confidence, and enjoy spending time together. We are also working to expand 88 Tactical outside of Omaha, and are happy to share here that Kansas City is our most likely next market.