Real Estate & Construction  March 28, 2018

Icons of real estate share stories, impart wisdom

LOVELAND — A panel of revered real estate professionals that call Northern Colorado home discussed their failures and successes, and provided advice to those just getting started in the industry.

The discussion took place during BizWest’s inaugural Northern Colorado Real  Estate Summit held Tuesday at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Loveland.

The panel, called Icons of Real Estate, consisted of Chad McWhinney, Kevin Brinkman, Connie Dohn, Larry Kendall and Martin Lind, who collectively have over the past four decades played critical roles in changing the landscape of Northern Colorado through myriad community developments, mixed-use projects and providing leadership to their companies.

Panel moderator Michael Payne, an attorney and a founding member of the law firm Coan, Payton & Payne, asked the panel about their proudest successes, failures and advice they would give to young people entering the industry.

Proudest success

McWhinney, chief executive and co-founder of McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc. in Loveland and Denver, who along with his brother, Troy, started the company after several years of selling strawberries in California. The McWhinney’s largest success has been Centerra, a growing community in Loveland with homes and retail. But he said his proudest success was his  company’s involvement with the revitalization of Union Station in Denver. The rail station opened in 1881, was remodeled in 1914, and 100 years later, McWhinney celebrated its reopening, a revitalization project that affected the entire region.

Brinkman, co-founder and a partner with his brother, Paul, in Brinkman and Brinkman Construction, is most proud of a project currently underway — a public-private partnership with the city of Loveland for The Foundry, the revitalization of a 2½-block area of downtown Loveland.

Dohn, chief financial officer and part owner of Dohn Construction Inc. with her husband, Doug, is proudest of a recent project called Uncommon, a luxury-apartment complex with retail spaces for lease in Fort Collins, and work on the transformation of an historic feed store in Old Town Fort Collins’ River District into the the Ginger and Baker restaurant.

Kendall, co-founder of The Group Inc. in Fort Collins in 1976, said he drove through Colorado back then and fell in love with Fort Collins. “I couldn’t find a job, so I started selling real estate,” he said. While The Group was established as an employee-owned business before it was fashionable and has grown to more than 220 employee-owners, Kendall is most proud of having had a hand in Fort Collins’ purchase of the 700-acre Seven Springs Ranch in the late 1980s, now used as open space. Kendall helped keep the city from overpaying for the property.

Martin Lind, chief executive of Water Valley Land Co. in Windsor, is a native of the area. The feather in his cap is Water Valley, a community in Windsor that is nearly built out with 2,000 homes, restaurants and commercial offices, two golf courses at Pelican Lakes Golf Course and five man-made lakes with 10 miles of beaches.

Tough times

With all their successes, the icons said they encountered difficult times, but were able to overcome them with persistence and grit. Dohn said that every failure is a learning lesson.

Kendall said he almost went broke a couple of times during downturns in the economy but kept working hard.

Lind suffered through tough times during the Great Recession that started in 2008. He tried to auction off all his land holdings, only to have no bidders. And he also suffered a setback when a community bank he was affiliated with was shut down by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. “The worst part of that was the 30 employees who lost their jobs,” Lind said.

Brinkman watched one of the projects his company was working on go up in flames as an arsonist set fire to it. “It was a tough deal to go through,” Brinkman said. “It impacted a lot of people’s lives.”

Advice to young professionals

Having persevered, the icons offered up advice to people starting out in the real estate industry.

McWhinney: “Do what you love, play to your strengths and be a continuous learner.”

Dohn: “Work hard through the tough times, take calculated risks and live within your means.”

Lind: Be thick-skinned, risk-averse and strive to outsmart and outwork the competition.”

Kendall: Focus on three laws: location, timing of cycles and relationships.

Brinkman: Be a generalist, just jump in and do it, and let compounding interest take over.”

 

LOVELAND — A panel of revered real estate professionals that call Northern Colorado home discussed their failures and successes, and provided advice to those just getting started in the industry.

The discussion took place during BizWest’s inaugural Northern Colorado Real  Estate Summit held Tuesday at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Loveland.

The panel, called Icons of Real Estate, consisted of Chad McWhinney, Kevin Brinkman, Connie Dohn, Larry Kendall and Martin Lind, who collectively have over the past four decades played critical roles in changing the landscape of Northern Colorado through myriad community developments,…

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