You never know what an impromptu chat with your neighbor will lead to.
In the case of Mike Kiriakides, principal with KDS Commercial Properties, meeting his neighbor’s son-in-law at the mailbox two and a half years ago eventually led to the formation of the development team on the $1 billion County Square development project announced in April, said Mark Masaschi, also principal with KDS.
The team includes developers The Georgetown Company (New York City) and its Atlanta affiliate RocaPoint Partners, architects Foster + Partners and Wakefield Beasley & Associates, and Greenville-based commercial real estate firm KDS.
“KDS introduced us to this opportunity, and then was a part of the public process that ultimately awarded our team this incredible opportunity,” said RocaPoint Partners principal Phil Mays.
Masaschi said it was that chance meeting at the mailbox between Kiriakides and Patrick Leonard, another RocaPoint principal, that led to a continued relationship between the two firms. As Masaschi traveled to NYC to see his daughter at New York University, he became familiar with Georgetown projects in the city and was impressed with their work, so when the request for proposal was sent out by Greenville County for bids on the County Square project ,Masaschi knew instantly who should get the job.
“This is a dead-ringer. These are the guys,” said Masaschi, who is handling KDS’s involvement.
The team is now responsible for the transformation of the nearly 38-acre county government office site that was once home to Furman University and Bell Tower shopping mall. The site is roughly a third of the size of the entire city of Greenville Central Business District.
As part of that team, KDS is the only local firm involved at the highest level, and serves as boots on the ground for Georgetown and RocaPoint.
Because of KDS’s singular focus on the Greenville market, it gave KDS the ability to bring together the firms it thought would present the best plan for the expansive project.
“KDS, being a small boutique firm, gives you the opportunity to go out and look for the equity and the expertise to put in to an opportunity such as this,” Masaschi said.
KDS is also helping with prospect recruitment, working with various local, state, and regional economic-development entities to ensure the location is on their radar for corporate relocations and regional-headquarter relocations, Masaschi said.
Masaschi said that without KDS’s involvement, RocaPoint and Georgetown wouldn’t be involved, but he’s confident this was the right decision for Greenville.
“We specifically targeted them,” he said. “We did not put this in front of anyone else. I felt that level of comfort with them being a 20-plus-year resident of the community. You didn’t want somebody to come in here and fail. That would be the worst thing that could happen. Looking at their history and the depth that they had, I’m very comfortable with it.”
Now, some additional Greenville players with investments in the community have been named.
Mays says RocaPoint Partners is pleased to work with additional Greenville firms on this project.
“Based in Atlanta, our team continues to have a steady presence in Greenville during this crucial time of planning,” Mays said. “We are moving forward in the design phase with London-based Foster + Partners, and land planning with New York-based Cooper Robertson, selected for the urban design component. We have also enlisted amongst others, the Greenville office of SeamonWhiteside, a leader in environmentally conscious engineering, as well as Smith Moore Leatherwood for local legal needs.
“Through all of these local and international partnerships,” Mays continued, “we are all focused on creating something genuinely special for the residents of Greenville, as well as contributing to the already-robust local economy. Each partner is hand selected for their experience, commitment, and most of all, their ability to deliver the very best to this project.”