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MINNEAPOLIS-The son has fully taken over Opus Corp., as Mark Rauenhorst, president and CEO of the development company, has been named chairman of the Board of Directors. Current Chairman Keith Bednarowski is retiring from the board, with founding chairman Gerry Rauenhorst’s son taking his place. Son Mark says the company has a great future, will not be sold in his lifetime and is looking to expand in both property type and at offices around the country.

Mark joined the company in 1982 and has served in various positions. In 1996, he was named president and CEO of Opus Northwest LLC, became president of Opus Corp. in 1999, and has been CEO since 2000.

“Under Keith and Mark’s leadership, Opus has grown to a $2.1 billion company,” says Gerry in a statement. The company has completed almost 2,400 projects and 238 million sf, and has 34 million sf in planning or development and an employee staff of 2,100 people in 28 offices across the US and Canada.

In a private interview, Rauenhorst tells GlobeSt.com that the company is well positioned to grow. “There’s a lot of concern about how strong the economy is now,” he says. “I feel it will stay strong for a while yet. We’re going to continue our focus on expansion of our offices, especially in areas like the Northeast and the Carolinas, where we don’t have as many offices as we would like.”

He also says the firm needs to grow its product type. “We’ve been really diversified in this company, and we need to continue our concentration in areas such as retail and residential. We’ve moved into the condo and apartment market, and have built 5,000 units, some with partners, and have so far been successful.”

Mixed-use is another area the firm will continue moving toward, such as its $150-million, 500,000-sf town center in Burr Ridge, IL, known as Burr Ridge Village Center, that will include specialty retail, office and residential lofts and condos; or its 38-story, glass-and-steel residential tower in Seattle that will feature 141 penthouse condominiums ranging from 1,600 sf to 5,000 sf. “We’re really getting comfortable with larger, more complicated projects,” Rauenhorst says. “That’s something we couldn’t have said five to 10 years ago; we didn’t have the depth of experience that we do today.”

He also says he’s pleased with the level of sustainable development in the industry today. “We’re doing a lot of LEED certified projects, with the EPA headquarters in Denver applying for Silver certification, and a gold certified building, which is Honda’s Northwest Regional Facility in Gresham, OR.

Rauenhorst says that unlike the many companies being sold in today’s high equity market, Opus will stay as Opus as long as he’s around – though it wouldn’t hurt if some of the younger Rauenhorsts wanted to join the company ranks. “When my father started this business, he wanted it to go on forever,” he says. “My job is to join in on that vision, and to grow it from this strong foundation to be built to last.”

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