Arbor Construction has decades of experience in retail and mixed-use facilities.

Arbor Construction has decades of experience in retail and mixed-use facilities.Building on their portfolio of work overseeing retail and mixed-use facilities, Arbor Construction ? an arm of Stark Enterprises ? is anticipating more than $750 million in new construction over the next two years, including its first new construction hospitality project: a 110-room hotel.

The hotel, which is well into the design stages, is a six-story, urbanstyled Hyatt Place.

“By adding hospitality to our portfolio, it shows our versatility and range of capabilities – we are not just a retail general contractor,” says Ted Kramer, Arbor’s vice president of construction. “We’re building on this experience and starting to reach out to the private sector as well as to third-party clients we can build for.”

Expanding will offer more stability, too.

“Diversification leads to profitability, and you are able to ride the ebbs and flows in any one sector,” he says. “That is the goal.”

The hotel, which is to open in late spring 2015, will be built at Crocker Park, a super regional, mixed-use hub designed around Stark’s interpretation of new urbanism. Crocker Park is undergoing a $400 million expansion, which will bring its square footage to more than 4.5 million.

“Crocker Park is not a power center or a strip center. It is not even a lifestyle center. It feels more like a city in itself. We refer to it as a “community core” – a vertically integrated, mixed-use neighborhood, including office buildings, residential, retail, entertainment, restaurants and fabulous community spaces.

Arbor’s biggest ongoing project is the third expansion at Crocker Park. Arbor’s role is to represent Crocker Park as construction manager for the public improvement project and general contractor for the private retail, residential and office development.

The diverse mixed-use town center was built in 2004 and already includes 800,000 square feet of retail, 500,000 square feet of residential units and 100,000 square feet of Class A office space. Today, 99 percent of the existing retail space is leased, 98 percent of the office space is occupied and Crocker Park’s 316-unit apartment complex is filled to capacity.

“Crocker Park – both the apartments and retail – never has vacancy,” Kramer says. “The success of that project is the reason why we are doing a third phase of expansion.”

The growth is both a reflection of a vibrant community and Stark’s foresight, Kramer says.

“We are not really following anyone else’s trends,” Kramer says. “If you look at the past, when Bob Stark first announced building Crocker Park on what was a vineyard ? a couple hundred acres of nothing ? there was no trend. It was, ‘Is this new idea viable?’ Ten or 15 years later, it continues growing every year.”

As part of Stark Enterprises from its beginnings in the 1960s, Arbor has become known for its agility.

“DIVERSIFICATION LEADS TO PROFITABILITY, AND YOU ARE ABLE TO RIDE THE EBBS AND FLOWS IN ANY ONE SECTOR.” - Ted Kramer, vice president

“We are able to take a fast-track approach with our projects,” Kramer says. “We are not building cookie-cutter retail shopping centers. We are working for an owner and developer who takes a much more artistic approach to building and developing, meaning things are changing more frequently than they do on a more prototypical project. I think Arbor's strength is managing that process. We are not a traditional general contractor. We sit side by side at the development table and make sure that our construction projects are managed according to the vision of the owner of our company.”

That unique general contractor position connects Arbor to the process from the very beginning and affords employees a sense of pride in the final project.

“We are not just a plan-and-spec contractor,” he says. “We are involved from concept to completion. We are one of the first people at the table with the development team, giving them guidance on budget and timeframes. We stay very close with that whole development team throughout that whole process, unlike an outside general contractor.”

Another one of Arbor’s current projects is Portage Crossing center, a 30-acre site in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Arbor manages the entire site: about 50,000 square feet of retail underway as well as a Cinemark Movie Theater.