Flexibility and Stability | 2000s
From the mid-1990s into 2008, Continental’s development track ran coast to coast with concentration in Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Demand was high in a handful of categories and the teams were executing office, multi-family and retail projects.
Multi-family residential began slowing in the early 2000s when mortgage lending made it less expensive to own rather than rent a home. On the retail side, demand for outdoor ‘lifestyle’ retail development remained strong until 2008. Continental purchased and re-tenanted 1.2m in Columbus office space and the built 500,000 sf in new office space at Pittsburgh’s Waterfront.
This decade or so of unparalleled growth came to a grinding halt that year when the financial markets heaved and the Great Recession stopped everyone in their tracks.
By this time, Continental was well-established as a full-service real estate company. Chasing development opportunities would be unproductive so the focus shifted to providing brokerage and third-party property management services.
When it came to project work, the focus was on sectors where the economy’s negative effects were less obvious. Interestingly, hotels were a good bet as were theaters and medical office. Student housing also provided opportunities in the compromised economy.
Continental built the Hampton Inn & Suites at Easton in Columbus, The Hyatt Place in Pittsburgh, SpringHill Suites at The Ohio State University. On the medical office side, projects were executed with private physicians, Mt. Carmel, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University hospitals. Six RAVE Motion Pictures theaters were built from Las Vegas to Grove City, Ohio.
A new division was added to the company leveraging Continental’s prior strength in multi-family housing. Hallmark Campus Communities is Continental’s student housing development arm, specializing in privately-owned, off-campus housing.
Flexibility, creativity and collaboration facilitates expansion.