We called it Operation Refresh.
After 13 years (10 for Tower II), The Landmark at Kierland needed some work. Cosmetic, not structural. Paint inside and out. Carpet, flooring and some lighting in the common areas — corridors, elevator lobbies, conference room, veranda, main entry and front desk areas.
Lots of work. Lots of choices. Some inconvenience at times for residents dealing with all the commotion.
Which is why we scheduled the project during the summer and fall months when many of our owners were elsewhere escaping the heat.
If you’ve never been part of a luxury condo community, you might wonder how this kind of major project is handled — how decorating choices are made and how it’s all managed and paid for.
The “paid for” part can be handled in a couple of different ways, either out of the Reserve Fund accumulated and maintained over time through a portion of monthly Homeowners Association dues for exactly this kind of investment…
or through a (hated) “special assessment.” It’s safe to say most condominium boards of directors declare a special assessment only under the most extreme circumstances. Owners expect their boards to plan ahead and to maintain a reserve adequate for all anticipated necessary expenses. Special assessments are almost always unpleasant surprises.
With two former CFOs on The Landmark board and a series of previous board members with significant corporate finance experience, our Reserve was adequately funded for a major facelift. In fact, we managed to do more than we had originally planned while staying pretty much within budget (which means we went a little bit over).
Managing the project was a team effort.
Our Community Manager and Building Engineer know construction, which gave us a leg up. Still, we hired a General Contractor to work with the various suppliers and tradesmen. The team devised a work plan and schedule designed to minimize inconvenience to residents.
Sounds easy, right? It sounds easier than it was.
As General (later President) Dwight D. Eisenhower supposedly said,
“Planning is everything. Plans are nothing.”
There were plenty of bumps in the road, and the process stretched beyond the original schedule.
We weren’t surprised. While there are much larger condo communities in Scottsdale, The Landmark, with 98 units and two towers, is no cakewalk when addressing as many changes as we were.
But we got the job done — 98% at least. (There’s still an active punch list to address.)
From start to finish, the project took about a year.
Which leaves the question of how the decorating decisions were made.
Yes, we have a “Decor Committee,” established to apply our “Continuous Improvement” mission to how the place looks. But we all knew a project of this size would need the advice of a professional decorator.
So we interviewed decorators and selected one.
She developed rounds of color schemes for our review.
The board temporarily combined the Decor Committee and the Finance Committee to create an informal “Vision Committee,” and invited all interested residents to attend open meetings to review color palettes and plans.
Naturally, there were lots of opinions, all reflecting a genuine commitment to the special “quality of place” we value here.
We submitted final choices to the entire community, to determine the overall preference.
Then ran it all past the Kierland Master Association, for their necessary approval.
Finally, the board decided and the work began.
It’s next to impossible to satisfy all 98 owners on every aspect of a project like this, and we’re still tinkering with some paint colors in a few spots.
But for the most part, “Project Refresh” has been widely praised by residents as a significant and appreciated upgrade.
So, in honor of our accomplishment…
We declared our Annual Owners’ Party in February to be a celebration of Operation Refresh.
We celebrated. We got refreshed.