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Spotlight On: Norman & Claudia Fisher, The Pearl on First

Spotlight-On-the-pearl

We’d like to introduce Norman and Claudia Fisher, two people with a lot of imagination and even more energy. Together they have masterminded the renovation of a dilapidated Northeast St. Petersburg apartment building, transforming it into a community of luxury apartments, adding unique design elements, gorgeous amenities, and community spaces. There’s even a car share available for resident use. We are excited to see what the finished apartment building looks like.

Norman and Claudia Fisher

Co-owners

The Pearl On First Apartments

 St. Petersburg

www.ThePearlOnFirst.com

Years in this industry:  20 years

What inspired you to pursue a career in real estate?

We are newlyweds, both of us over the age of 50 and wanted to do a joint project using both of our skill sets. Norman’s background is in corporate business administration and organization assessment. Claudia’s background is in Classical Architecture and interior design.

We recently moved to St. Petersburg and real estate offered us an interesting arena to combine our abilities. As St. Petersburg is truly going through an urban renaissance, we thought it would be fun to design and build something truly elegant for people who choose to rent in the area.

What is the first assignment you remember?  Why?

Norman’s first foray into real estate was the purchase of a few small houses, which were renovated and rented out in the Clearwater and St. Petersburg area. He wanted to learn about real estate with hands-on experience. Claudia became a licensed realtor in Florida but with the idea of doing research in real estate rather than working as a practicing realtor.

What do you like most about the real estate industry and community?

Working in real estate gives you a chance to dream and see those dreams take physical shape. When it doesn’t drive you batty, like waiting for building permits, it can be lots of fun!

Working on a larger scale project, in our case The Pearl On First, has also given us the opportunity to meet and work with a wonderful collection of  real estate professionals, vendors, artisans and small business owners. Without wanting to sound cloying, I often say, “It takes a village to design anything well!” Everybody’s skills and knowledge base are needed and appreciated to make The Pearl On First a success.

What challenges does your industry face? 

I think we are too new to real estate development to offer too much comment on this question but I will say that, especially in Florida which is so low-lying, we need to really focus on creative solutions with regard to the rising water levels over the next decades. I am convinced there are solutions out there if we all pull together.

How do you measure your success? 

This is an interesting question, as Norman and I were just discussing this question a week ago. As we met later in life, we are hoping to create passive income with our real estate ventures that will supplement the retirement savings we already have.

But more importantly, the major guiding purpose for our work with apartment dwellings is to offer living environments that truly delight people, by offering elegant, thoughtful design in their private apartments as well as exceptionally beautiful and welcoming communal areas to share life experiences with friends and neighbors. This is what we hope to achieve.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career? 

For Claudia there have been a few design milestones. Developing the classical architectural design for The Executive Administration Center for Boston University, designing a 22-foot pierced aluminum chandelier suspended in mid-air for The Royal Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in Fairfax, VA and now working on the Art-Deco inspired apartment, The Pearl On First.

For Norman, the main one is my recent completion of my MBA from the University of Maryland. I really enjoyed its entrepreneurial learning aspects, and after a career in large corporations, look forward to a next career in a small business environment in real estate.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in real estate? 

Not doing enough research can be a major mistake.  Research is not necessarily fun or sexy, but extremely important, as your gathered knowledge will help guide you into hopefully wise decisions. Often as a real estate investor you can get emotionally involved in a deal or property, and it is very important not to forget the results of the research you did.

Additionally, it never hurts to be as organized as possible and keep at least a weekly schedule to communicate with everyone on the project. There are so many trades working in tandem in real estate, we need to  know what’s happening on a daily basis with each other so we can work in tandem comfortably.

What is the most interesting trend you see in real estate? 

It’s been said before, but as the Baby Boomers start to retire and move South, they are looking for interesting new ways to live their next chapter which are very different from their parents. For example, scenarios that are sought after could include friends living in adjoining apartments, apartments that have new and interesting amenities like a “car share”, apartments that have built-in health care facilities… the sky’s the limit.  It’s going to be a very interesting time!

How has technology helped/hindered your work? 

From a drafting point of view, AutoCAD, Rivet and other drawing programs are can be a huge time saver. My background is Classical Architecture so I still do hand drafting but nevertheless, these programs are very useful.

What can be problematic, in my opinion, is that the computer now allows for an unbridled amount of architectural design.  This, in and of itself sounds good but there have been a fair amount of architectural messes built out there that were created with the aide of computer technology. Without wanting to sound unkind, the adage “just because you can build it doesn’t mean you should” comes to mind!

How do you stay on top of your field? 

We both read a great deal – newspapers, periodicals, professional trade magazines, although Norman is much better at being sure he is up on all the real estate news coming in the door.

What resources do you recommend?  

With regard to design, Claudia believes that any disciplines relating to Classical Architecture can provide a tremendous foundation for designing anything better – from traditional to ultra-modern. The Institute for Classical Architecture and Art, based in New York City, is a major educational institution and provider of all kinds of helpful design information. Additionally, the business of real estate is not only national but often also highly influenced by the locality. So continuing awareness of local changes and trends is key. It is as simple as subscribing to the local newspaper and volunteering on various local committees.

If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

If I were to advise Tampa Bay companies on participating in the local rental or condo real estate business, I would advise them to firstly determine specifically, what their target population is, and then be very aware of that population’s desires for a future living experience. Only with that information, would I design a apartment or condo product that serves that market. Often properties are put to market that are generic in nature rather than satisfying specific needs.

What are your hobbies?

Norman’s hobbies are tennis, soccer, reading, and adventure traveling. Claudia’s hobbies are opera singing, ballet, and reading 18th century novels.

Favorite food?

Norman – Italian.  Claudia – anything I haven’t cooked myself.

Last book you read?

Norman – Steve Jobs

Claudia – Disney War 

Pinstripe Closes on New Web Site for Southern Roots Realty

real estate web site wolfnet integration

After years of working with big commercial firms, it was a special treat to work on a decidedly prettier real estate web site. And with a legacy that spans generations, it was a pleasure to design the Southern Roots Realty site to reflect their love and commitment to St. Petersburg.

real estate web site WolfNet integrationThe Southern Roots site highlights the home listings visitors expect from real estate sites, and through the custom integration with WolfNet, it also features robust search functionality and lead generation tools for the agency. What makes Southern Roots unique is their deep knowledge of and affinity for St. Petersburg’s diverse neighborhoods, so the Pinstripe team incorporated that into the site design. The agents regularly post insights about the most popular areas of the city, illustrating why buyers and sellers need the Southern Roots team in their corner.

Have a real estate firm looking for a new web site? Contact our team and let’s get to work!

 

Cushman & Wakefield’s Oliver Hedge Interviewed by New York Times

golf_news

Oliver Hedge, a director in the Valuation and Advisory Group at Cushman & Wakefield, works with golf course and country club investors and developers. He has seen the industry ride the rollercoaster and has an insiders perspective on what is working in today’s climate.

And business is good.

Oliver talked with New York Times reporter Nick Madigan about the state of both public and private clubs and the surprisingly slim margins owners eek out to compete.

Fewer Golfers, but Some Lush Courses are Coming Back

The story made the front page of the November 25th New York Times business section – great exposure for our client!

Based on the Times success, we pitched the story to the The Real Deal, which featured Oliver in their story, Falling Popularity of Golf Forces a Change of Course.

 

Need help with media relations? Let’s chat!

Cushman & Wakefield’s Byron Moger comments on student housing trends

luxurydorms_newsluxurydormsCushman & Wakefield’s Byron Moger is the firm’s expert in student housing projects, so when University of South Florida announced plans for an upscale, mixed-use housing village, he was the perfect person to comment on the project and growing trend in dorm living.

Universities nationwide are building luxury dorms that compete directly with higher cost, off-campus housing with amenities found at resorts and spas.

“Clearly universities are competing for students, and they can’t really compete on price,” said Moger. “They can compete based on the quality of services they offer to students.”

The Pinstripe PR team connected him with Anastasia Dawson, a staff writer at the Tampa Tribune, to discuss the trends and what we can expect over the next several years as campus life continues to evolve in this Sunday cover story.

Additional student housing stories featuring Byron Moger:

Tampa Tribune: New dorms – Florida universities building plusher digs to lure students

CIRE Magazine: Student Housing Stats – Demographic and economic trends point to continued growth in this nice sector

Housing Industry Forum: Amenity-laden student housing market growing fast

 

Cushman & Wakefield brokers anchor Southern Train

cwband_newsIn public relations, we work diligently to build relationships with the media to generate great business stories for our clients. We sit with our clients to learn about their business, their clients, and trends in the industry to find the interesting stories to pitch. And once in a while, they’ll mention something in passing that makes us say, “wait a second, tell me more about that!”

That was the case during one of our meetings at Cushman & Wakefield. In between meetings with the brokers, someone mentioned that a couple of the guys in the office were in a band playing at the Tampa Margarita Festival that weekend.

How fun!

A couple of the others worked at different commercial real estate firms.

Now that’s a story!

Real estate band becoming hot property in local rock landscape

We know it isn’t about the latest land deal, the sale of a downtown high rise, or a big time tenant moving to the area with a major lease. It’s a lifestyle feature story to highlight their professionals in an interesting, personal way and to get the Cushman & Wakefield name in front of people who many never read the business section. The majority of our efforts are focused on getting them positive press about real estate, but every once in a while, a story about a World Cup watch party or jamming after hours is icing on the cake.

Tampa Bay public relations

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