Entrepreneurs typically possess an independent spirit, vision and guts. Witness long-time corporate executive and real estate development manager, Wayne Timura, P.E., who recently decided to leave Quantum Corporation for greener professional pastures. As founder of Next Level Development, he is ready to translate corporate experience into a hands-on consulting practice based in Colorado Springs.
Timura built a 25-year career on developing and building corporate facilities for companies like Kraft Foods, Digital Equipment Corporation and most recently, for Quantum Corporation. As an expert in his field, his projects included global as well as domestic development – in places like Tokyo, Singapore, New Hampshire and of course, Colorado Springs. In August of 2000, however, Timura’s vision changed, and Next Level Development was born. He incorporated in January 2001, and is already building a growing base of clients.
“I have always wanted to work for myself, and now I have that opportunity,” Timura admits. Faced with Quantum’s local down-sizing and a slowed demand for corporate expansion talent, he began his transition to a private consulting and development company almost one and one-half years ago. “I continue to work with Quantum as a representative for its local real estate holdings,” he said, “but on a completely independent basis.”
Thanks to his extensive national and international network of professional affiliations, his strong connection to the local community, and his love of the Pikes Peak region as a place to live, Timura is confident that his expertise will translate to both Front Range as well as national corporate projects. So far, most of his time is spent in marketing, but Timura is also ready to enter the private real estate development market. “I’d like to develop a multi-family or townhome community on a small- to medium-size parcel that could springboard to larger projects down the road,” he said.
The Next Level Development team consists of three members: Timura, principal; Melody Arnold, project coordinator; and Seanne McVarish, senior project manager and architect. “We can offer expertise to both large corporations and private developers,” said Timura, who believes in hiring local engineering, construction and architectural talent whenever possible. “I’ve had to build relationships with real estate and construction teams all over the world – and want to bring that experience to work in my own business.”
Timura’s background includes an impressive list of accomplishments. One of his most well-known was the site selection, acquisition, financing (through a synthetic lease), design and development of a 42-acre 400,000 square foot, three building, production and engineering campus in Colorado Springs – along with a 21-acre 188,000 square foot process/chemical intensive clean room R & D facility in Boulder. His resume also includes work on: a diagnostics/distribution center in France; a 300,000 square foot engineering design center for a LSI chip manufacturing plant in Massachusetts; an office and data center in Sane Jose; a production facility in Singapore; as well as site selection/master planning projects in Scotland, France and the United States. Not bad for a 40-something guy with a still-bright future ahead.
In addition to new construction projects, Timura and company are also experienced in a range of property selection, lease negotiations and agreements, and tenant improvements for domestic and international projects. Some were as large as 100,000 square feet for an office/manufacturing facility – while others ranged from 4,000 to 8,000 square feet. “I have learned that it is so important to understand the cultures that you are dealing with,” he said, noting that international clients are often surprisingly sophisticated. Americans tend to think that we are more advanced than other countries, but I’ve learned that real estate and construction professionals in Singapore, for example, are experts at what they do.”
So why leave a sure thing and leap into the unknown? Timura believes that the timing is ideal for his year-old venture. In spite of a sluggish economy, he sees companies rebounding in the next few years – and anticipates operating in the black by the end of the year. With corporate down-sizing stripping large real estate departments of staff, he also believes that a number of firms will outsource to private consultants like Next Level Development.
Originally from the East Coast and educated in Vermont, Timura and his family were based in Geneva, Switzerland, prior to returning to the Boston area. They left Boston in 1997 to move to Colorado. “We’d been offered a transfer to Southern California with Quantum, but weren’t interested,” he said. “But when the Colorado Springs opportunity came up, we decided to move.” It was a decision that he has not regretted.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting involved with the Colorado Springs community,” said Timura. One of his goals is to someday develop a role in the repositioning and renovation of age-weary buildings in core urban areas. “I’d like to use my background in civil and structural engineering to help rehab old buildings in places like Boston or New York,” he admits, noting that most construction in Colorado would not be old enough to require such expertise. “It has always been an interest of mine.”
In the meantime, however, Next Level Development is not waiting for clients to call. Timura is using his extensive network of connections to build his business. On his table is a plat map for a small development on a parcel in southeast Colorado Springs. Building a business means keeping an eye open for opportunity in all areas, says Timura. “I want to develop a consulting relationship with larger developers, but I’d also like to have an equity position in something of my own.” He is also fascinated by projects like the Medallion (under development by Les Gruen) which attempt to reposition existing properties for new uses.
“Bottom line,” he said, “is that all my life I’ve done real estate development for other people, and now it’s time to do something for myself.” Timura is betting on himself – and on a local as well as national economic roller-coaster. Fortunately, Next Level Development offers the kind of experience most developers need – and the turn-key capacity to manage projects from acquisition to disposition; from financing and analysis; from permits and entitlements; and, from build-to-suits to owner/tenant representation. “I don’t want to compete with commercial realtors, for example,” he said, noting that leasing is not his area of expertise. “Next Level Development’s philosophy is to take the high road – to do what we do best, and to operate ethically and professionally.”