From dream to design to reality, part 3

November 1, 2011

This three-part series follows one optometrist's successful journey from leaseholder to building owner.

Key Points

Editor's Note:

This three-part series follows one optometrist's successful journey from leaseholder to building owner. See how you can make that happen, too, even in today's economy.

Previously, we learned that Bradley Drake, OD, knew his practice had outgrown its office space. After reviewing the numbers, Dr. Drake decided that a new, custom-built facility made sense financially. He contracted with Barbara Wright Design, Nashville, TN, to do the interior design, logo design, and the design concept for the building exterior.

Bankers look at risk, not opportunity, Dr.Drake told himself. One banker even said to him, "Why spend money on a building this nice, when you're doing okay where you are?"

To help make the loan amount acceptable, some banks wanted cuts in project costs. The architects and designers were determined to preserve the essential character of the design. Their concession was to decrease the tower height and replace the lower band of stone on the exterior with a lower-cost stone.

Finally, the first bank he approached started to come around. They requested documentation for one thing after another, and Dr.Drake jumped over every hurdle they raised. At last, the loan was approved in April 2010. "I'm sure that my personal relationship with that bank helped," he said.

Dr. Drake chose his contractor, Kelvin Callahan of E Tech Construction, by reputation, not by lowest bid, and was glad he did. From the time Callahan bid on the project in Fall 2009, to the time it finally got started in Summer 2010, prices on some materials had gone up. Callahan looked for ways to save in other areas so he could stick to his original bid.

"Once we got going, it went pretty well." Dr. Drake said. "Both my architect and my designer worked well with the contractor over the four- to five-month construction process."

"We started a month out to pack up everything we could in advance and moved in just before Christmas 2010," Dr. Drake reported. "My accountant told me it would help tax-wise to get the certificate of occupancy in 2010, so my contractor pushed to make that happen for me."