IRVINE, CA—GlobeSt.com sat down with Sy Perkowitz, recently appointed principal of KTGY Group Inc., Architecture + Planning, and former principal with Perkowitz + Ruth, to discuss his career, his new role and where he sees retail development heading in the future.
GlobeSt.com: Leaving a firm that you established after 35 years must have been tough. What are your thoughts about the future?
Sy Perkowitz: Leaving my former firm has provided me with opportunities for continued growth and challenges. Most architects get better with age (like wine!), and I think my experience applied to this new opportunity provides for growth for KTGY and me.
GlobeSt.com: What do you feel were your greatest accomplishments at Perkowitz + Ruth?
Perkowitz: My accomplishments were establishing a firm based upon a philosophy of contributing to making our clients successful. That requires understanding of how clients think and building on their business plan and project goals. If we can help make a client successful, then we will be successful. I am very proud of what we accomplished and my part in marking P+R a respected firm in retail design. Recent changes in management and firm direction had caused me to seek a new challenge for applying my experience and leadership skills.
GlobeSt.com: To what do you attribute 35 years of success?
Perkowitz: It is simple: “Deliver what you promise.” Retail clients have timelines and deliverables that are critical for making deals and ultimately delivering a successful project where they and their tenants have the best opportunity for success. They need to rely on their architect to perform on time and deliver a high-quality and practical design.
GlobeSt.com: What pulled you and KTGY together?
Perkowitz: KTGY is an expanding growth-oriented firm, and I saw an opportunity to build on its retail experience and help it continue to diversify its services. Their chairman, Stan Braden, and I hit it off right away and in a very short period of time developed a plan that will take me through the remainder of my career. KTGY has a long-term view of the future and an ownership-transition plan to support that vision. I have no doubt that we will have future generations of talent supporting me and the firm through my remaining career and long into the future.
GlobeSt.com: What is your role at KTGY?
Perkowitz: My role is to provide leadership, vision and expertise. Developing new business for the firm is high on my list of goals. My intent is to use my expertise and relationships to expand KTGY’s practice in retail and commercial projects. Using our current team as a base and adding creative staff is one of my initial roles. Also, bringing in retail developers and other relationships in my network should provide significant opportunities for growth.
GlobeSt.com: How do you intend to expand the retail division?
Perkowitz: We will build on KTGY’s current strengths in direct-tenant, renovation and refresh projects. Also, with the economy improving, I think developers will be considering more ground-up opportunities. Ground-up developer retail projects have always been one of my strengths, and hopefully we will see an increase in ground-up retail planning, design and construction. My goal is to make KTGY a brand recognized as a powerhouse name within the retail-development industry. We have a good start, but there is enough to accomplish to keep me excited and motivated well into the future.
GlobeSt.com: What challenges, if any, do you foresee?
Perkowitz: There are always challenges in a creative industry. The economic picture is still tough, bur improving, and this will provide the foundation for developers to start building again. It is always “rooftops before retail,” and KTGY’s residential strength and client base provide insight to homebuilders and apartment development. The rooftops are being created, and soon to follow will be the services and businesses that will need new retail space.
GlobeSt.com: Where do you think the retail industry is headed in terms of design and development trends?
Perkowitz: It is getting much more difficult to develop expanding suburbs in “green fields,” so “urban retail solutions” will be a part of the future. As land gets more expensive, development will become denser.