Business Journal showcases L.A. professionals who are sold on retail property development.
Kevin Dow, 52
Turner Construction Co., downtown L.A. office
The 7th and Fig project is Kevin Dow’s biggest rush job.
A 29-year veteran with Turner Construction, Dow is in charge of completing a $40 million redevelopment of the three-story outdoor mall in time for its scheduled opening in May.
The upgrade of the downtown L.A. center, owned by Brookfield Office Properties, was originally set to be completed next fall but that date was moved up. When it does open, it will feature a Target, downtown’s first discount store. The need for speed, however, stokes enthusiasm, not panic, in Dow.
“With retail projects, speed and urgency are always important,” he said. “But what makes this project exciting is the cultural change that it can bring to downtown. Creating a work-life environment will solve a lot of problems, and getting people to live and shop downtown is the first step.”
Not that Dow doesn’t have other projects competing for his attention. As Turner’s general manager for Los Angeles and four surrounding counties, he’s managing 18 construction jobs with budgets totaling more than $300 million.
Dow started with Turner in 1982 in Boston and soon moved to Milford, Conn., where he spent 20 years building offices and shopping centers around New England. He moved to Los Angeles in 2006.
In New England, retailers depend heavily on the holiday season and Dow quickly learned that if a project didn’t open by Thanksgiving, it was considered a failure. In Los Angeles, shopping is more of year-round activity, so that means every day counts in the race to finish 7th and Fig.
“This project is about location and long-term viability, but it’s still schedule driven and quick paced,” he said.
Since coming to L.A., two Turner projects that he has worked on have fired his imagination, though both had minimal retail. The first was Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. The luxury hotel sits on a spectacular 102-acre site overlooking the ocean.
The second project was the Ontario Events Center. Dow recalls how Ontario residents toured the convention building for the first time, looking around in awe and wonder. It was an experience he hopes to relive next year when shoppers walk through 7th and Fig for the first time.
“There’s a buzz surrounding the project and you can see consumers are excited about it,” he said.
Still, he’s not done. He would like to get a piece of the Wilshire Grand project – Korean Air has proposed to rebuild the hotel with a mixed-used office and hotel complex – and the proposed National Football League stadium and Los Angeles Convention Center upgrade.
Dow believes that if those projects become reality, downtown will be comparable to Manhattan, a round-the-clock city that never sleeps.
“Even if we don’t get to work on those projects, the potential is unlimited for ancillary hospitality and retail construction if those projects go through,” he said.
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