City of Overland Park, Kansas Director of Public Works Robert D. Lowry
March 14, 2006
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
During the period June 1999 through December 2002 I had the distinct privilege of serving as the Owner’s Representative for the City of Overland Park, Kansas for the design and construction of a new Convention Center and adjacent headquarters hotel. This was a very unique and complex project because the City Council made a commitment to fund the hotel without expending any public funds.
To make this happen, a request for proposals (RFP) was issued by the City for a development team to design, construct, finance, operate and maintain the hotel. The team selected for this project was led by Garfield Traub Development LLC. To say that the performance of this team exceeded all expectations of City staff and the City Council would be a gross understatement.
Given a very tight hotel market and a major down turn in the economy, the odds were against this project happening. But because of the leadership and expertise that Ray Garfield, Tony Traub and their team provided, the hotel was completed well ahead of schedule, under budget and the City Council made good on its commitment that no public funds would be used for the project. The end product was adopted by the Sheraton Hotel chain as its new standard, and the project was nationally recognized as the Public Sector Project of the Year by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA).
I have been involved in construction and construction management for almost forty years and have never seen a project executed as flawlessly as the Overland Park Sheraton Hotel at The Convention Center. The Garfield Traub team never lost sight of the desired outcome, was totally focused on exceeding the expectations of their client, and was comprised of the most professionally competent group of design, construction and management professionals I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I would actively seek an opportunity to work with the Garfield Traub organization on any type of development project in the future. They truly “under promise and over deliver.”
Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have any questions about this world-class organization.
Robert D. Lowry
Director of Public Works
City Manager of Overland Park, Kansas (retired) Mr. Donald E. Pipes
To Whom It May Concern:
In November 2002, the City of Overland Park, Kansas opened its new Sheraton Hotel and adjacent Convention Center. The dual project was a challenging goal of the City for fifteen years. The financing and development of a project of this magnitude is the most daunting and crucial phase of a project such as ours. Financing of the hotel component was key to the ultimate success of the complex and necessary for the City to move forward with the financing and development of the convention center.
Serving as City Manager of Overland Park from 1977 – 2002, I was deeply involved with all aspects of this project. Most important of all was the financial impact of the undertaking. Overland Park is a city of approximately 165,000 residents and enjoys a AAA general obligation bond rating from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. It was imperative that the City hire a strong, knowledgeable group to work on the financing and construction of the hotel.
Development proposals were gathered and carefully analyzed. Garfield Traub was selected as the most qualified and able to successfully negotiate all project documents and to structure and place the financing for the hotel. During the negotiations and structuring of the financing, Garfield Traub also provided vital leadership over the design, value-engineering and pre-construction process. The group exhibited extremely competent leadership and creative financing skills allowing us to break ground on the convention center and hotel for a 2002 grand opening.
The group also provided oversight of construction and pre-opening activities for the hotel and the facility was completed ahead of schedule and approximately $1.5 million under budget. Garfield Traub is also the Asset Manager for the city’s Hotel Corporation.
I highly recommend Garfield Traub Development. Their expertise proved to be invaluable to the City of Overland Park. Anyone considering site visits during the selection process is urged to include Overland Park on your visitation agenda.
Mr. Donald E. Pipes
City Manager (retired)