Philip Kafka has made a big splash since arriving in Detroit during the last decade. He’s helped open two of the city’s most celebrated restaurants, Takoi and Magnet, and he’s the developer behind the Quonset hut development “True North,” public spaces and retail storefronts popping up in a once-sleepy pocket of the core city neighborhood.
Now, he’s looking to expand his development. Kafka joins us on the podcast for a wide-ranging discussion about his plans, his love of trees, and his unorthodox approach to real estate development. Have a listen in the player below, and there’s a lightly edited automatic transcript of the conversation below that.
Sven Gustafson (01:17): Joining us here in the Daily Detroit studio on a brilliantly sunny but cold afternoon is Philip Kafka. He is “The General” as he likes to put it of Prince Concepts. Philip, welcome to Daily Detroit.
Philip Kafka (01:31): Thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be here.
Sven Gustafson (01:32): Absolutely. All right, so Prince Concepts, you’re doing a lot of work. People might be familiar in the Core City neighborhoods specifically that intersection of Grand River and Warren avenues on the city’s kind of near west side. You’ve got lots of interesting things going on over there. You’ve got the Quonset huts, which are really funky looking. People might have, you know, kind of, sort of rubbernecked when they, when you drive by it. It’s also the home of businesses, like Magnet, the new restaurant of which you’re one of the owners. Astro Coffee, Ochre bakery. But now you’ve got an option with the Detroit Land Bank to do, on a whole bunch of more properties, to do even more there. Tell us about what you’ve got cooking and, and what you’ve got in mind.
Philip Kafka (02:18): Great. So thanks for your interest. It’s always humbling when people are interested in my work because I kind of just put my head down and get to it. So this is fun to get together and share what we’re planning for the future. So I started developing in that neighborhood in 2013. I started buying buildings there really then. And then I had a business in New York. I was an entrepreneur. I sold my business in 2015 so I could really start developing because I was on the edge of my seat. I’d go back to New York and I just want to get back to Detroit. And I thought that things were going to be happening here. I felt that things were happening here.
Sven Gustafson (02:50): You’re not originally from Detroit?
Philip Kafka (02:52): I’m originally from Texas. And I went to New York for opportunity. I started a business there. I built the business and then I sold the business. But when the business became successful, I was looking around the country for a place to buy real estate. I ended up in Detroit because I just never, I’d never sensed anything like it, you know, it was, it didn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. And I started reading and studying. I always like to start with history, to try to understand why a place is the way it is. And Detroit’s history was, it’s very complicated, but it was very fascinating and it was a history that I wanted to be part of. And so I started buying real estate in 2013. And then in 2015 I finally decided to sell my business in New York. So that I could really start to build a business.
Sven Gustafson (03:33): It was a billboard business.
Philip Kafka (03:33): Exactly. So I could really start developing real estate here. And the first building I bought was on Michigan Avenue. It wasn’t too adventurous. It wasn’t Michigan Avenue and 17th street, just a little bit West of Corktown. And it was a little garage with three walls and no roof. That building became Takoi or Katoi restaurant, which was open for 11 months. And to a lot of fanfare and success thanks to the Detroit market and the people of Detroit. And then, unfortunately, it was somebody broke in to steal alcohol and to cover their tracks, burned the place down.
Sven Gustafson (04:03): As you do. I mean, you know.
Philip Kafka (04:05): Well, you know, I, I guess the person was drunk and what it looked like, the forensics look like … somebody lit the camera equipment on fire and and then, you know, the rest is history.
Sven Gustafson (04:16): They were trying to burn those surveillance cameras.
Philip Kafka (04:18): But you know, it’s, it’s like, it’s funny, I used to play pickup basketball in New York at West fourth and sixth and like everybody’s always talking about, Oh, watch your wallet, watch your wallet when you, you know, have your shorts on the side. And I was always thinking like, Oh, if I saw somebody taking my wallet, I would just offer them, you know, more cash than I have in it just to get it back. Cause the hassle of dealing with it. It’s the same with this arson incident. It’s just kinda like, Oh my gosh, I have all the booze you want, you know, take the whole bar. Yeah, just take the whole bar. I won’t call the cops, don’t worry about it. Just don’t burn the place down because it was a grueling six months to rebuild the restaurant. I’m a partner in the restaurant. My partner is a chef, Brad Greenhill and he’s super talented and one of the things that talent does, it attracts other talented people. And my biggest challenge was trying to keep the nucleus of that restaurant together when we didn’t have a place to work. And so we kept everybody on salary during the six-month rebuild process. And I was…
Sven Gustafson (05:14): Wow.
Philip Kafka (05:14): That’s why I think of myself as a general because I felt like I was in combat trying to figure it out. Now I appreciate the service that, that soldiers do for this country and, and, and what I do pales in comparison, but I felt like I was in combat, at least relative to what I’ve experienced in my life. So it was, but it inspired me. I’m in Detroit, I’m still building, and then I took my work over to Grand River and Warren where I was building the Quonset huts at the time of the fire. And so yeah, I started building the Quonset huts to try to build a living community residential community there at Grand and Warren and I’d already owned, I owned four large buildings there and I had about two acres of land at the time there. And I needed to develop a project that was going to be exciting and that actually created some sort of value as opposed to just building real estate. And that’s how I arrived at the Quonset huts.
Sven Gustafson (06:06): And what do you mean by that? The building value as opposed to just acquiring real estate?
Philip Kafka (06:09): You know, when I assess my work, I used to do this subconsciously, but in retrospect, when I thought about why I do the things that I do and why I made the decisions that I make, there’s basically when I approach a real estate project, you must create value if you’re going to do something, in my opinion, in business, and there’s two ways to create value. Way number one is to provide a comparable product to what already exists for a much lower cost. So if I can provide you with what already exists in the city for a cost that’s much lower, that’s value. That’s good. That’s really good. Okay.
Sven Gustafson (06:37): In this case, housing.
Philip Kafka (06:37): Well, the other way to create value is kind of the direction that I went in, which is if I can provide you with a product that’s far superior and very novel and inspiring for a comparable cost or for a cost, it’s slightly better. That’s also a value. Wow, I’m already paying this much money for something else that isn’t nearly as interesting or good. Thank you so much for creating that value for me. The best work does both at once. So the Quonset huts were an attempt for me to try to provide people with a lower priced product that was also better than what existed for me. To do that, I had to pioneer and do a new neighborhood where I could buy the land inexpensively. So I went over to Grand River and Warren, because you know it, it wasn’t in the thick of things. I remember the first building that I bought over there, the gentleman, he owned three buildings. He when I called him to buy the buildings, he was surprised. You want to buy those buildings? He owned a lot of buildings. Like you wanna buy those? I said yes cause they were like auto repair shops and things like that. They were kind of, they were, they’d been used. One was a radiator shop, which is where Magnet is. And then there was an architectural salvage warehouse and then the other buildings were kind of derelict. They were at one point artist studios, but they hadn’t been tended to in about 10, 15 years. Kind of like a lot of Detroit buildings. And they just, they, they, they didn’t have market value. I saw that as an opportunity because all the money that I would say on the acquisition, I could invest in an idea and kind of create value so to speak.
Sven Gustafson (08:00): Yeah. So how’d you like.. Quonset huts. Like these are, so if people haven’t seen them, they’re kind of semicircular. They almost look like greenhouses kind of with corrugated metal rooftops and everything. And I read that they’re actually like they’re an old military design. Right? Like a Navy design or something. Like, how did you come across the idea to do Quonset huts?
Philip Kafka: Quonset huts were originally developed and in Quonset, Rhode Island for the military like you said. And I first saw a picture of Quonset huts. I was, I was reading, I love World War II history and I was reading an article about the American army and the bases that they set up outside of Berlin after world war two. And I saw a picture of an army base made with Quonset huts and they were kind of staggered and I saw some pull-up bars. I saw some what looked like, in my own mind at the time, community gardens. And I started to say to myself, Quonset huts. Interesting. There’s a community that’s being built there. Obviously it’s a military community, but they use the Quonset hut because It’s fast to build. It must be inexpensive to build. And any, any man who’s not trained in construction can put it together. So I started to research, the actual product, just based on that whim. And I found there’s a company called SteelMaster, which makes, this is not sponsored by SteelMaster, but they actually provide Quonset huts in the military now. They make Quonset huts and I started to research them and my premonition was correct, which is they’re inexpensive to build and they can be put up quickly and really what they do and what they did… It wasn’t that I just wanted to do fast and cheap housing, what it allowed me to do because the actual price per square foot of building a Quonset hut was low. I could get elaborate with the way the product looked and if you’ll come and visit me in one of the Quonset huts of my offices and still in the prototype, it was my original construction office for the project and my office is still there. I was able to give people 20 foot high ceilings. I was able to give them an entire wall, two walls of natural light that flood into the space. I was able to give, I planted 60 trees with that project, 60 mature trees. I was able to actually take the money that I saved on development of apartments and invest it in an inspired place to be. And that was the only way I was going to convince people to go to Core City because nobody was saying I gotta live in Core City Detroit, which is the neighborhood where Grand River and Warren is. So I needed to develop a product that was so inspired that people wanted to actually be there. I needed to make a place. And so the Quonset hut, I didn’t really care about how they looked. It was just that the money that I was going to save on the actual pound for pound development of a Quonset hut was going to give me money that I could invest in the idea and create an idea that was big enough to where people said, I want to be over there.
Sven Gustafson (10:34): And those Quonset huts now are all like, people live in them?
Philip Kafka (10:37): You know, so there’s eight units that are residential. There’s one yoga studio on site and then there’s also a gallery and photography studio. In one of the units. So there’s 10 units total. Eight are residential. I’ve had the same group of residents since the day they were developed. The project was completed in May, 2017. One tenant moved out just recently because he bought a house, young engineer that worked for Ford. He bought a house. He really wanted to buy a house. But it’s been the same group of residents and it’s, it is a community. And that’s what creating value I think does, is that it, this people who live there don’t just see it as another place to live. They know their neighbor. There’s a community garden, they live in a, in a place. So it kind of worked.
Sven Gustafson (11:15): So one thing that you keep talking about and a big feature of all the development work you’ve been doing over there is trees, green space. You know, you’re, planting trees in the courtyard of an old building that you’ve been fixing up over there. You’ve opened a park, Core City park. It’s not a city of Detroit park, but it’s like a quasi public park. More or less. I’m just curious, like you’re a developer, you know, developers usually are looking for return on investment. They don’t, they plant trees because it’s a, you know, the city gets them to do it as part of the development requirement. But you’re going much farther than that. I mean, why?
Philip Kafka (11:52): Thank you for asking that question. And it’s true, I love trees and I don’t say this from a position as an altruist. I say this as a business person and I love trees because they do make me feel good. And I, and I, and I love to just sit outside on a beautiful day under a tree.
Sven Gustafson (12:05): I agree. I’m a huge tree lover.
Philip Kafka (12:06): It’s a simple pleasure, you know, and it’s… the original form of shelter, you know, in a way. And, and they’re beautiful. And, but the thing about, if we look at it in terms of me as a businessman — a person’s failure comes in business when they’re impatient. And if you’re patient in business, the sky’s the limit. And I believe in the future and I believe in Detroit’s future and I believe that my best return on investment is going to come in 10, 15 years when all of these trees that I plant these I’ve planted over 300 trees since working in Detroit.
Sven Gustafson (12:42): Wow.
Philip Kafka (12:43): And the value of my real estate in 10 to 15 years will be very high as I believe it in my perspective of the world. I’m not looking to develop stuff and flip it. I’m not looking to develop and lease the most square footage I possibly can. To me, the greatest return on my investment in my time and the work that I’ll be proudest of, is if I mix building for right now, which is architecture and land and, just run of the mill real estate development. If I mix that with planting trees. And that’s how I’m gonna make a place, a place. As opposed because most people in real estate, they think about a city as a market. I first start by, and it needs to be a market. You need to make money if you want to keep doing your work. But before being a market, a city is a place and trees are what first establish a place. Let’s take a really nice neighborhood. We’re close to Boston Edison here. The houses, they’re beautiful. Don’t get me wrong. But if you got rid of all the houses but kept all the trees that were there, you’d still drive through and you’d say, this is a beautiful place.
Sven Gustafson (13:44): Yeah.
Philip Kafka (13:44): I want to have a house here. But if you left the houses and got rid of all the trees, it’d be, you’d be hard pressed to sell those houses. And that to me is the fundamentals of what I’m trying to do. Try to make a place.
Sven Gustafson (13:56): So now you have this option for what? A hundred or so vacant parcels, about 10 acres, additional land in the Core City neighborhood. Again, Grand River and Warren. What’s the plan? What are you doing?
Philip Kafka (14:10): I’m starting to work on that right now. So it was about two and a half year process and negotiating this deal with the city. The city is a conservative steward with their land and with good reason. I mean, why should somebody other than the city be speculating on their land basically? You know? And so we worked for two and a half years a structured deal that, that acknowledged their consideration that they don’t want anybody speculating on the land. And what we came up with was this. Is we came up with a purchase price that I felt comfortable with. We came up with parcels of land surrounded by… That surround the real estate that I’ve already been developing. And I have five years to develop all this land. But development can come in the form of either residential development, commercial development, or public space. And in this…
Sven Gustafson (14:52): A mixture, probably right?
Philip Kafka (14:53): And it’s going to be a little bit of a mixture. In this zone, which all this land is R-2 zoning, typically historically zoned for single family homes and duplexes. You’re allowed to build a house that covers 35% of the land. So let’s just say I took the 10 acres and I covered 35% of it with real estate. Built real estate. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to cover probably about 15% of that 10 acres. The rest of which I’m going to convert into public space. And we have four different landscape types. One is the parkland, one is a park, and one is a garden and one is a park and grove. So he started to think about it like this. So we’re starting with landscape before even starting with architecture.
Sven Gustafson (15:32): Interesting.
Philip Kafka (15:33): Park land is this. Is if you go to the barber and you trim the hair around your ears just, you trim it up, you clean it up. Because Detroit has so many beautiful landscapes, so many, so much beautiful space that other cities do not have, that if we just trim it up a little bit, make it habitable, but just carve a walking path through the wild grass that grows in the summer, put a couple of benches it’s a beautiful space. That’s one type of landscape that we’re going to, we’re going to impose upon the land or work with the land to, to develop and cultivate. Then we’ll build parks like we already built with Core City park, which was taking an asphalt parking lot and we planted 90 trees in 6,000 square feet of real estate. It’s going to be amazing. It is amazing already. But in 10 years, imagine Locust trees and Dogwood trees it’s going to be majestic as an urban Woodland. And then we’re going to have gardens that we plant around the neighborhood to all this is public space. Now this is interesting to me because you can’t think about this in any other major market in the world. Detroit’s an international destination, 15 minutes from that site, I can be on a plane to Tokyo direct, Paris, London, Mexico city. This is an international city to me. For me to be able to talk about developing real estate in this way in an international city is amazing. It’s so fun.
Sven Gustafson (16:43): Now you started, as you said, in, in Corktown with, with Takoi, one of the heralded restaurants in the city. And obviously we’re talking about Core City. You’ve, I know also been doing like little bits and pieces in other parts of the city. Right. I think you develop like, helped develop a yoga studio over in the West Village I read?
Philip Kafka (17:00): Yes. So I made a couple of acquisitions on the east side. At the corner of Mack and Fisher, I bought two old garages. I love these garages. In one converted into a yoga studio called Santo Santo. And you know, we, the architect that I typically work with on the restaurants was hired to design the space and I helped out with, you know, building it out and everything. But a young woman runs a studio there called Santo Santo. And then across the street I had another garage. And a young woman had a gym called Detroit Body Garage. It was actually very popular and very successful on Kercheval. And her rent had gone up quite a bit and she got in touch with me and we renovated this garage for her, so she moved her gym there. That renovation is 80% done. She’s already operating in the building, but so we actvated that corner and I have a little bit of land there too. I don’t know if I’m going to do anything else over there. Not because there’s anything wrong with it. I just need to have all my troops focused on Core City. And then I bought, I bought an eight acre site to a little bit further East next to the Chrysler plant. It’s the old Continental Motors Factory. It’s an amazing building.
Sven Gustafson (18:05): It’s a factory, so it’s big I would assume.
Philip Kafka (18:08): Well the factory actually is torn down. There’s only two buildings that remained. It was a compound. There’s a power plant, so I have an eight acre site was where the factory was. Seven acres of that is land right now. What’s left is a power plant designed by Albert Kahn, amazing smokestack that you see when you’re driving down Jefferson. And the other is a testing cell laboratory. This continental motors factory. They built engines for B 24 bombers and tanks for world war II. They built in 1937 this testing facility to test the engines, run them basically to capacity. It’s a really weird building that’s super holey and I’d never seen anything like it. And so I bought that and eventually when I’m done with my work in Core City, that’ll be my next development site.
Sven Gustafson (18:49): So you’ve been investing and, and working in development here in Detroit for several years now and everything. I wanted to ask you your perspective on this because you know, we’re seeing a lot of signs out there that, there’s been a lot of news lately about developers kind of scaling back their plans for development. So I wanted to ask you, do you think Detroit is still a good investment? I mean, are you seeing signs from in your own work that the boom such as it is kind of starting to fizzle out a little bit?
Philip Kafka (19:19): It’s a very good question. On one level. I try with my work to operate on another level where it’s immaterial and I always told myself, if your product depends on what’s happening around you, the idea is not good enough. I think that there’s absolutely enough demand in this market. This is a city that has plenty of open space, plenty of wealth, plenty of population.
Sven Gustafson (19:41): Really, you think there’s enough money?
Philip Kafka (19:43): The region, the region itself has over five million people. The immediate region surrounding the city of Detroit, not Detroit obviously, and there’s a lot of wealth across those five million people. The city of Detroit is, is tougher. It’s a tougher place. It’s a tougher market. I think that the thing that’s held it back is dogma in a way. People who are just 10 minutes away not believing that they should invest their dollars here. I think that those people started to believe that they should, but the minute that it got a little bit more difficult than they anticipated, they turned around maybe, I don’t know. And I think that those people are kind of not as excited about Detroit because whether you buy your real estate cheap here or not, it’s hard work. It’s really hard work. There’s a lot of, in Detroit you have to be super tough, like you have to be in any market, but you also (need to be) so sensitive. There’s people who’ve lived in these neighborhoods and had a really tough time. You can’t, you can’t flaunt progress here. You can’t be overly excited about, you know, a little bit of sunshine because the people here have endured a lot and they have a lot of grit and there’s a really significant amount of sensitivity that needs to be cultivated in doing work here, which I think a lot of developers might not have. And the minute they get pushed back and that direction, they might as well take their energy somewhere else if they’re not really interested in the work they’re doing here. So in terms of business opportunity, there’s plenty of opportunity here. You just have to work really hard to cultivate it.
Sven Gustafson (20:58): You said something also before we started recording that not a lot of people are thinking about what they’re building here in Detroit in a new way. Could you kind of elaborate on that a little bit?
Philip Kafka (21:09): Sure. I think that if you look at each market, each market has its own assets. Miami has a coastline. New York has its density. Colorado has its mountains. There’s plenty of places that have their own unique assets. So before I started to develop, I tried to understand what is Detroit’s unique asset or what are Detroit’s unique assets. And, and if other developers don’t start the conversation that way, then they’re going to end up using models that have worked in other places. So for example, Detroit has a history of ideas. Modernism, ingenuity in terms of engineering, both engineering, structural and mechanical. Ingenuity in religion and race relations, ingenuity and all sorts of things comes from Detroit. It’s a city of ideas. And if you first don’t start a project with an idea, I don’t think you’re really tapping into the opportunity Detroit gives you, I’ll elaborate more technically, I couldn’t go to Virginia and build a Quonset hut community and expect it to be received that well. It’s a very conservative minded place. It doesn’t have a history of novel, innovative thinking. Now, a lot of great things happen there historically, but it’s not a place that’s predicated on ideas. And I think that you can go out into a bonkers direction in Detroit and people are open minded enough to listen because that’s what’s always happened here. I mean, imagine, you know, Henry Ford showed up and said that he’s gonna replace every horse with a car. People probably thought he was crazy. But he leaned right into it and did it. And the other thing that’s really unique about Detroiters, it’s people. We have to respect them. They’re like oracles of sorts. These, these people who’ve lived in the neighborhoods, they understand things here that, that I won’t ever understand, let’s say. So we have to keep them in the neighborhoods that what’s it’s what makes Detroit Detroit, whether they barbecue and play their music super loud and park wherever they want. It’s Detroit and it’s awesome. Yeah. And if that disappears then this is just land. And then space. We have to develop projects that, that employ space and leave space be so that people can continue to understand the mystique of this place and not just pack it in. It’s not about density, which is the way I think most developers are thinking.
Sven Gustafson (23:16): So sort of on the lines of, of some of what you’re saying, I wanted to ask you about the Metro Times who reviewed Magnet early this year. And the, in the opening of that review, that article, they said if any restaurant is more emblematic of this decades gentrification, I’ve yet to visit it. What do you make of that? Like that’s, that is an issue here in Detroit.
Philip Kafka (23:37): You know, it’s fascinating. I almost, I wrote Lee Devito,the editor of Metro Times an email. I said, do you mind if I write a response to this review? And I re-read and I re-read that review and I said, it’s not worth my time. Because the person who wrote that review wanted to.. they wanted to listen to themselves talk. If they’d explored a little bit more. First of all, there was the gentrification. The reason why it’s not gentrification is because there was nothing there. This area where I, where I came, every building was empty and there were six operational houses across six acres of land. Six operational houses. It’s crazy when, when if they had gone and knocked on the door of somebody who lived in that neighborhood, yes, they might only be able to eat at that restaurant once a month, once a year even. Are they happy it exists? They’re ecstatic. They’re ecstatic that there’s action and there’s activity and that the whole neighborhood’s maintained now, and if the people who go to that restaurant support the mowing of the lawns and the planting of the trees and their neighborhood where they spent 30, 40 years, they’re ecstatic about it. Ms. Woods who lives down the street from my projects, who’s been there for 30, 40 years. “It’s about damn time you got here. This is Grand River and Warren. The best intersection in Detroit. You should have seen this place back in a day. What’s taken you so long?” That’s the response that the few residents in the area actually have and so, and I’m my base, my command center mission control Gs right in the middle of the neighborhood. I’m very sensitive to the idea of gentrification. The reason I went out to grand River and Warren too is because it just ain’t a possibility there. Yeah, it was empty.
Sven Gustafson (25:10): So off the beaten path.
Philip Kafka (25:11): Off the beaten path. Now if they want to talk about price points and this, that and the other, it’s, it’s business is, that’s an example of providing something new for a comparable price. Our prices lower than other restaurants in Detroit? No. They’re not, is the product superior? Is the experience superior? It’s trying to be, is trying to be in. We’re also paying our staff a full salary with healthcare. So we’re trying to do something new and that’s the value we’re trying to create there. There are other ways in which I’m trying to create value in the other direction. If that writer had just stepped outside and seen the public park that I planted right next door to the restaurant, you know what access is to that park? Free for anybody. For anybody.
Sven Gustafson (25:56): It’s not a private park.
Philip Kafka (25:57): No, free. How many people walk by to the bus stop from Leo soup kitchen? There’s a, the park is in between Leo soup kitchen and a bus stop that’s very heavily trafficked at Grand River and Warren, how many people walk by the park, go and sit on the bench if they’re 10 minutes early for their bus? A lot. It’s free. So if we can balance developments that are for the public and developments, yes. That are private, like this restaurant, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Something has to subsidize the public space.
Sven Gustafson (26:24): So speaking about, you know, Magnet being a restaurant owner, a part of the ownership team for both Magnet and Takoi. We’re starting to see some of Detroit’s kind of marquee restaurants dropping by the wayside, closings here. It’s tough, tough operating a restaurant with all the competition that’s kind of sprouted up around town, isn’t it?
Philip Kafka (26:43): It is. It, you know what our numbers, we’ve seen it at Takoi and Magnet, both are not receiving the numbers that we had anticipated. But the numbers that we’d anticipated were also more than we’d anticipated. Do we have to adjust the restaurants to be successful? We do. We’re tweaking these restaurants all the time. We’re trying not to compromise the product because at the end of the day, this writer of, of the Metro Times is right. You should push people to do their best work. And are we trying to do our best work at that restaurant? Absolutely. And is it hard to make money in Detroit right now in the restaurant industry when you’re doing the best work, ordering the best ingredients, trying to pay people fairly, paying for great design. And paying for good staff. It’s very difficult right now. Is it impossible? No, it’s not. Just gotta work harder.
Sven Gustafson (27:29): So back to the plans that you have for Core City neighborhood and, and your option with the Detroit Land Bank. What’s your timeline? And I think you said you had five years to to do this package and develop it, right.
Philip Kafka (27:42): The options started on February 1st and I’ve already started designing and thinking about ideas. I’d already been thinking about ideas for years because I’d been working on this deal. So now rubber has really hit the road. I’m working with two architects. One is Ishtiaq Rufiuddin. He was in New York and he designed Takoi. He designed Magnet, he’s designing two other products that are under construction right now, this building with the trees in it. And then another Quonset hut product that’s under construction. And then Edwin Chan who designed True North. And then the project,
Sven Gustafson (28:10): Which is the Quonset huts.
Philip Kafka (28:10): Yes, exactly. And the projects are really being led though by a landscape architect named Julie Bargmann from Virginia. So we’ve all sat down and we’ve all started to think about things with my number one parameter being, let’s start with landscape and let’s start with space. And where space isn’t totally precious, where there’s moments that don’t just make us swoon? Let’s think about what we build there. And that’s the way we’re starting the conversation. So we’ve started the design process, we’re starting the work, we’re not going to break ground on anything in this new phase for about probably from about a year from now. So we’ll start developing in about a year, but we’re going to be planning and thinking and designing up until then, and maybe we’ll start a little bit sooner. But I don’t want to invest my time or money into a mediocre project that I’m not on the edge of my seat waiting to see. So I gotta be psyched to build it.
Sven Gustafson (28:55): Well, we definitely look forward to keeping tabs on it and seeing how everything comes together and what comes of it. So Philip Kafka from Prince Concepts. Thanks so much for coming by and telling us about it.
Philip Kafka (29:07): Thank you. It was a hell of a time.
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