Oxford Development Company
In 1962 the father and son team of Eugene Lebowitz and Edward J. Lewis, as well as son-in-law Mark E. Mason founded Don-Mark Realty, a growing real estate brokerage and development firm in Pittsburgh, Pa. The business soon grew to become Oxford Development Company (Oxford), Pennsylvania’s largest, privately owned full-service real estate company.
Today, Shawn Fox leads the company’s business development and marketing department, building lasting relationships with clients and strategic partners. With a strong background within the real estate industry, Fox is proud to state that Oxford is truly a full-service real estate company.
“We offer owner’s representation, property management, leasing and brokerage and investment advisory,” Fox elaborates. “One of our companies is even registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]. Oxford has been in business over 50 years. We are a western Pennsylvania company with a national footprint, which is one of the biggest things that sets us apart. We have been doing this work for a long time, and have experience across all asset classes. This allows us to develop and manage signature projects and properties across North America.”
According to Fox, the majority of Oxford’s work is in Pittsburgh; however, the team has performed project management for projects as far south as Orlando, Fla., and as far north as Alberta, Canada. In Alberta, Oxford is serving as the owner’s representative for the city of Edmonton for the new $602 million, 18,500-seat Edmonton Arena; home of the Edmonton Oilers.
Working with the city of Edmonton, Oxford’s role includes assisting the city in the development and review of the master development, construction administration, lease, architect and construction management agreements. Oxford is also assisting the city in providing a detailed review of master project budget, FFE budget, schedule, program, design drawings, LEED-certified goals, construction estimates, value engineering, procurement and design to ensure protection of the city’s interests.
In Orlando, Fla., the federal government’s General Services Administration selected Oxford to provide development, management and design coordination for the Orlando field office for U. S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS building is one of many LEED-certified projects for Oxford, attaining a LEED Gold certification. The one-story building, which holds space for 75 government employees and 250 guests, came together in nine months. Oxford met high security standards while overseeing design, construction and commissioning with a number of highly qualified strategic partners.
While Oxford casts a wide net geographically, the team has built a reputation for managing and executing sustainable construction projects. In 2013 the Pittsburgh Business Times named Pittsburgh’s top 25 LEED-certified projects, and Oxford was the owner’s representative on 10 major green-construction projects.
“One of the most unique of these endeavors was University of Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC,” Fox elaborates. “The $625 million project encompassed over 1 million square feet. With energy-efficient architectural features and energy systems, the project attained LEED certification.”
Additionally, Oxford served as the owner’s representative for the Sports and Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County for its Green Rooftop project at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The building’s green roof features a rooftop garden with plants recycling carbon dioxide to offset the building’s carbon footprint.
As the company moves beyond the 50-year mark, Fox and the team are in a major push to continue expanding horizons and delivering more high-end green projects across the continent. According to Fox, LEED certification is growing as more government agencies and local regulations require efficient buildings that are easy on the Earth.
“We are a founding member of the Pittsburgh 2030 District,” he explains. “The 2030 concept is a national movement that requires an interdisciplinary public-private-nonprofit collaborative with the goal of developing realistic, measurable and innovative sustainability strategies by the year 2030. In Pittsburgh, the district is working to dramatically reduce energy and water consumption, reduce transportation emissions and improve indoor air quality while increasing competitiveness, reducing resource use and increasing owners’ returns on investment.”
Looking to the Future
The Oxford team performs many interesting projects. However, Fox notes that one of the company’s most unique projects currently in planning stages. The Hot Metal Flats rental residential building is scheduled to begin development in November 2013.
“Hot Metal Flats is a self-development project being done with our partner PJ Dick,” Fox explains. “This project is a 173-unit apartment building in one of Pittsburgh’s most vibrant communities. It will serve the growing environmentally conscience audience of dwellers, providing energy-efficient living with access to downtown and many amenities by walking and bike trails.”
While experience, broad capabilities and resources make Oxford the esteemed company it has become, the team would stand alone without many of the relationships developed over the years. According to Fox, strategic partners like architects and subcontractors are the keystones to Oxford’s operation.
Fox goes on to note that much of the construction work performed on Oxford projects is executed by a number of local, reliable contractors with whom the company has worked consistently for a number of years. On the management end, Oxford works with major hotel management companies, such as Concord Hospitality Enterprises and Davidson Hotels and Resorts.
As the team enters its second half-century of success, the drive is on; Oxford remains competitive and will continue to seek work around the continent. “We are locally owned, but our team members go where they are needed,” Fox clarifies.
As such, Oxford Development is able to operate on a large scale across thousands of miles, offering unique owners representation, project management, development, property management, leasing and brokerage and investment advisory services to a growing market of businesses and organizations.
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