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Unveiling the Future of Offsite Construction: Insights from David Persons

Early in his career, while on his journey through real estate and construction over 25 years ago, he began his role in multifamily acquisitions and dispositions in Boston. His role involved the acquisition of properties ranging from 50 to 300 units, renovating them, and implementing strategic repositioning and marketing plans to make them profitable for retention or disposition. This experience laid the foundation for his extensive career in real estate.


In 2008, David moved to Brazil and expanded his horizons, where he adapted his unique skill set to the local market. While working for a boutique firm, he played a significant role in setting up the first 24 Walmart stores in Brazil. His clients included major corporations like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Apple, Motorola, and General Motors. This period saw him involved in various projects, from Class A office locations to technology manufacturing facilities.



David returned to the U.S. in 2014, continuing his work in commercial real estate in Boca Raton with Cushman and Wakefield. He later joined Lincoln Property Company, the largest private developer in the U.S., before venturing out on his own as an entrepreneur.


David returned to the U.S. in 2014, continuing his work in commercial real estate in Boca Raton with Cushman and Wakefield. He later joined Lincoln Property Company, the largest private developer in the U.S., before venturing out on his own as an entrepreneur.


Today, he assists private equity firms with their development and construction management needs, and one of those private equity firms owns the Guerdon Modular factory. Guerdon is one of the oldest pioneers in modular construction, developing modular projects across the western U.S. challenges and strategies in real estate development.


David emphasizes that good real estate starts with finding the right location, which involves looking at rental markets and zoning laws. Understanding rent structures for different types of buildings is crucial for modular construction. Navigating legal and community challenges, David highlights the importance of having city support and understanding local entitlement processes.




In California, for example, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) can either streamline or prolong the development process based on the project's size. Additionally, developers must navigate challenges such as NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard) and union regulations.


Market-specific considerations in each market have unique challenges and advantages.

From California's strict environmental laws to Seattle and Denver's varying regulations, developers must tailor their strategies to each location. The key is finding cities that are supportive of housing developments and have favorable laws. The benefits of modular construction efficiency and speed modular construction offer significant advantages, particularly in terms of efficiency and speed. The modules are built in a factory while site preparation and foundation work are underway. This parallel processing shortens the overall construction timeline, reducing capitalized interest costs.



Skilled labor solutions in modular construction address the skilled labor shortage by providing steady, factory-based jobs. This approach attracts more workers, including women, who might prefer the consistent hours and less physically demanding tasks associated with factory work. Environmental and cost benefits include environmentally friendly modular construction, with reduced waste and energy efficiency. The controlled factory environment ensures higher quality and consistency. Developers benefit from lower costs and faster project completion, leading to quicker stabilization and profitability.


Overcoming Challenges in Modular Construction Despite its benefits, modular construction presents unique challenges. General contractors often struggle with bidding accurately on modular projects, particularly regarding mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) work. David suggests using a responsibilities matrix to clarify the scope of work and ensure accurate bids.


Stay tuned for the next part of our conversation with David Persons, where we will delve deeper into the nuances of modular construction and its future in the real estate industry.



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