A Spark Becoming a Wildfire


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BY: Derek Naber
Project Developer – Indianapolis, IN

As with most blogs, this one started with very high hopes. And then as life happens… the blog gets put on the back burner.

Since, April 2017.. what has happened?

Personally, I had my second daughter Ellie in December 2017 (9 months old now) and I moved homes to Bates Hendricks in April 2018.

Some people ask me, “Derek, why didn’t you move to Central State?” And my response is: I need to have the weekend away from Central State, as I eat/sleep/drink/bleed the project 5 days a week (and have done so for five and a half years).

Speaking of the hard work at Central State, we’ve been moving and shaking for the last year and a half…

Turning this:

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Into this:

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And this:

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Into this:

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Overall, the last year and a half has resulted in:

  • $3 Million in new investment at Central State
  • 17 new homes built sold and occupied. First market rate homes between White River and Speedway in over 40 years.
  • Start of Construction of 61 lots for 58/Bahr. Infrastructure Complete in November.

At this stage in the development we have been blown away by the success and support for the project. All hats go off to the various partners including our first visionary homebuyers, Compendium Group, Nottingham Realty, City of Indianapolis, and M/I Homes.

More good stuff to come!


Derek Naber joined Holladay as a Developer in our Indianapolis office in 2016. He is responsible for overseeing the long-term development of Central Greens, a 150-acre redevelopment of the former state-owned mental hospital campus on the near west side of Indianapolis, as well as new developments in the downtown Indianapolis area.


Who Likes Cookouts? Holladay Does…


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It’s no secret to anyone who has ever worked for, or visited Holladay Properties…

We like to eat.

On Thursday August 30th, our South Bend corporate office hosted a cookout to celebrate the end of our 3rd quarter.

2018-08-30 Cookout 6Assistant Property Manager Cassie Sprigg organizing the condiments.

Administrative Assistant Shelby Seifer and Assistant Property Manager Cassie Sprigg set up a table in the lobby of 227 South Main Street, and filled it with burger and hotdog buns, cheese, pickles, ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, potato and macaroni salad, chips, fruit, pop, water and ice cream sandwiches, while Property Manager Elliot Lusk grilled enough burgers (beef and veggie) and hotdogs to feed 50 people.

2018-08-30 Cookouot 5“Grill-Master” and Property Manager Elliot Lusk firing up the first round of burgers.

With the weather being perfect at 67° and sunny, staff from Holladay Properties, Holladay Construction Group, Edward Jones and Northern Indiana Federal Community Defenders soon began arriving to enjoy a delicious meal under the sun.

2018-08-30 Cookout 1Pictured left to right: Accountant Karen Tighe, Commercial Maintenance Technician Diego Vasquez, Administrative Assistant Shelby Seifer and Partner, and Vice President of Property Management Jackie Green.

Around 40 people attended the cookout, including our President and CEO John Phair! Needless to say, it was a great success.

2018-08-30 Cookout 2
Pictured left to right: Maintenance Technician Jeff Lindamood, Accountant Sue Christman, Human Resources Director Maureen Johnson, Accountant Todd Topolski, Office Manager and Executive Assistant Amanda Domalewski, Development Analyst and Asset Manager Wills Gardner, President and CEO John Phair, Property Manager Elliot Lusk, and Residential Maintenance Technician Kurt Palmer.

2018-08-30 Cookout 3Pictured left to right: Development Analyst and Asset Manager Wills Gardner, President and CEO John Phair, Property Manager Elliot Lusk, Residential Maintenance Technician Kurt Palmer, Accountant Karen Tighe, Commercial Maintenance Technician Diego Vasquez, and Administrative Assistant Shelby Seifer.

2018-08-30 Cookout 4

Pictured left to right: Accountant Todd Toposlki, Accounts Payable Supervisor Sue Christman, Property Manager Elliot Lusk, Office Manager and Executive Assistant Amanda Domalewski, Human Resources Director Maureen Johnson, Accountant Melissa Fowler-Nelson, Development Analyst and Asset Manager Wills Gardner, and President and CEO John Phair.

You must be wondering: When’s the next Holladay Properties foodie event?

You won’t have to wait too long! Our Indianapolis office is hosting a Food Truck Event on September 5th from 11 AM – 2 PM. If you’re in the AmeriPlex or Decatur Township area, feel free to stop by and enjoy delectable handhelds from Edward’s Dashboard Diner!

2018-09-05 Food Truck

The Favorites: Part VI


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It has been a while since we posted about our employees’ favorite projects – the buildings and developments that they have enjoyed working on or for most during their time with us. We’re very excited to jump back into our “The Favorites” series with this post! In Part VI we’re sharing thoughts from a variety of Holladay divisions, including development, architecture and design, and property management. So read on to find out which projects they love best!

Home 2 Suites – Indianapolis, Indiana
Nicki Armitage – Assistant Project Coordinator; Joined Holladay Construction Group in 2017

I love the Home 2 Suites project at Ameriplex Indy!  I get to drive by it on my way to and from work all week.  It’s amazing how much it changes even day to day!  It’s been my favorite because I have gotten to see it progress from day one.  It’s this physical structure that I contribute to in some small way every day and it’s wonderful to see that manifest itself in front of me.

2018-08-22 Home2Suites Indianapolis

Lucerne Medical Plaza Parking Garage – Orlando, Florida
Ken Whitaker – Senior Vice President of Healthcare, Capital Management; Joined Holladay in 2004

We are a couple weeks away from completing the replacement of a 340-space parking garage in Orlando, FL.  The total project cost is approximately $12.5 million and we have been working on it for 2 years. They are currently pouring the ramp to the lower level of garage and applying the waterproof traffic material on the upper level!

Batesville Casket – Indianapolis, Indiana
Kyle McFarland – Commercial Property Manager; Joined Holladay in 2015

Property Management and Development will have an executed lease renewal agreement with Batesville Casket this week for the Midway building. Batesville is renewing their lease for another 5 years and will under go $250,000 in tenant improvement’s over the next 4 months!


TRU by Hilton – Baltimore, Maryland
Austin Haynes – Senior Vice President of Development; Joined Holladay in 2012

We are very excited in the Richmond office to be working on the new TRU by Hilton in Baltimore’s Harbor Point area.  This is TRU’s first urban location and a new market for us.  This will be an eight story 140 room hotel geared towards the millennial business and tourist traveler.  We are hoping to begin construction in October with a December 2019 opening!

Tru Hotel Rendering

Portage Place – South Bend, Indiana
John Phair – President and Chief Executive Officer; Joined Holladay (when it was a part of the Holladay Corporation) in 1978

My favorite is still my first development with Holladay Corporation.

About 2 ½ months before joining Wally Holladay officially, I accepted a position with his firm.  My wife had a baby on the way and I could not afford to change jobs until the baby came – I needed health insurance!

But I started to work evenings with a local designer on a 96 unit apartment addition to a 408 unit project known as Portage Place located at Portage Rd & the Toll Road in South Bend.  Wally owned the complex. The one thing I knew how to do was ‘finance’ it.  I worked on that and got a commitment.

The local designer and I worked for about two months nightly (he also had a day job).  We ended up with a plan for 6 buildings, 96 one & two bedroom apartments. And 150 parking spaces.  Not having ever designed anything, I thought these were the most beautiful apartments ever created-on paper! I had to pay a local retired architect to ‘sign’ the plans and then applied for a building permit-also a first for me.

Then my wife had our 2nd child.

I also signed the loan commitment for the bank that day.

The next day I resigned my bankers job and went to work for The Holladay Corporation and took over their Midwest office-of which I was the only employee!  And I then signed that loan commitment, now representing the developer!

Shortly thereafter, I started visiting every apartment and residential site in the area looking for ‘bidders and subcontractors”.   I ended up hiring a local General Contractor to provide a superintendent (who I eventually hired directly) and got their local support.

A few weeks later we had our bids, started the construction and 8 months later opened the units and were 95% occupied 4 months later.  I made my last construction draw to the bank.  And I did not have any bills to pay and still had over $75,000 left from the construction loan (no equity required!).  I proudly traipsed off to Washington DC and handed that check to Wally along with a 95% occupied apartment complex and my accounting records.  They consisted of 9 check books-each a different color-but, somehow, I could account for every penny.  It was a little easier than a YARDI system!

We sold that project about 10 years later but I still check it out every time I drive by.  And I wish we still owned it!


What are your favorite Holladay projects?
Comment below!

Embrace the Suck


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BY: Jeff Ottman
Executive Vice President of Operations – Nashville

Were you expecting a more dignified title?

I have heard this being used more frequently. Intrigued, I did some deep research on a program called Google. You may have heard of it. They call it “Warrior Slang.” Feelings of courage, confidence, preparation, and shared suffering are brought forth through phrases  meaning is deep, but summarized succinctly. Feelings of courage, confidence, preparation, and shared suffering are brought forth in these phrases. For me, the phrase “Embrace the Suck” represents a challenge and an affirmation.

Yes, this is a difficult challenge, but we can do it. We have done it before, and we can do it again.

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We are entering our most active quarter. We refer to it as ‘Budget Time,’ but it is so much more. All teams are focused on year-end projections, next year’s budget, updating market dynamics, refreshing capital projects, developing staffing plans, finalizing lease assumptions, and determining what projects will be completed by year-end.

But wait, we have more. There is a Yardi Implementation, our internal projections and budget; new clients in Tampa and Kansas City; and finishing our Own Worst Enemy (“OWE”) initiatives.

Yes, we are busy. However, we know how to “Embrace the Suck.” We have proven that year in and year out. Thank you for your efforts. They are recognized and appreciated.


To learn more about what “Embrace the Suck” means, click here.

Vendor Appreciation: Part II


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BY: Marcy Coffman
Executive Assistant, Office Manager – Nashville

To continue the theme of showing our gratitude to our vendors, our two Florida markets held their first Vendor Appreciation events in July. The events provide the opportunity to strengthen our relationships with those service personnel that really represent Holladay when they perform work on our properties and in the buildings we manage.

2018 FL Vendor Appreciation 2Jill Cooper of Blown Away takes a swing at a target.

The Central Florida event was held on July 18 at Topgolf Orlando. Kelly Dillard, Property Manager (Kissimmee/Orlando) organized the event, which was a huge success with more than 30 in attendance. All participants were extremely grateful for the recognition. “I am quite proud to work for an organization that understands the value in nurturing the relationship with our vendor partners and allows us to give back to those who give so much to us,” exclaimed Kelly.

“I want to thank you for the great time at Topgolf,” wrote David Lutz, Red Coats, Inc. “What a great place to sit, relax and forget about the cares of the world for a while!”

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Vendors mingle with Holladay employees at Topgolf Orlando.

On July 19, the South Florida event was at a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s CRYSTAL at the BB&T Center, which was organized by Jacqueline Fermin, Director of Property Management (Florida). “The South Florida Vendor Appreciation event was appreciated and enjoyed by all,” expressed Jackie. “Many of the vendors said that it was the first time in the history of their career that a property management firm hosted an event on their behalf to thank them for their service.”

In a handwritten note from Arely Castellon, Sparkle Team, “What a wonderful evening! That Holladay took the time, effort and expense to thank your vendors is unheard of and says so much about your company. It is truly a pleasure working with you and your team—you’ve got great people! Thank you for the appreciation—we love being your partner!”

2018 FL Vendor Appreciation 3Vendors and Holladay employees taken before the Cirque du Soleil performance with Trish Nowicki of Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers (2nd row, 4th from left) and Dawn Bedgood and Edwin Contreras of DWK Industries (2nd row, 7th and 8th from left).

“When we first received the invite, we were so impressed that Holladay took the time and effort to plan an event for their service providers. We’ve never seen anything like it in our 15 years of business here in South Florida,” said Lynda Bowie, Modern Image Landscape & Design. “We also enjoyed meeting your leadership and were amazed they came all the way from Nashville to meet all of us.”

Bill Wiener, Airstron, wrote, “I want to thank you for putting together this wonderful event. Great show, great food and great drinks!”


2018 Summer Blood Drive


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BY: Shelby Seifer
Administrative Assistant, Corporate Receptionist – South Bend

Giving back to the community has always been a top priority for Holladay Properties. One of our ways of serving others in the month of July was the corporate office’s 2018 Summer Blood Drive sponsored by the South Bend Medical Foundation.




Did you know that every 2 seconds someone in the United States needs blood? Just one car accident victim can require up to 100 pints of blood. About 750 whole blood donations are needed each week in the South Bend community to maintain an adequate supply for area hospitals and doctor offices. It is extremely important for us to do our part in helping our medical professionals collect the supplies they need.

For almost two months before the drive, recruiting efforts began to retrieve as many donors as possible.  Posters were made, announcements were sent out to both staff and our downtown tenants, and the donor list began filling up.

Blood Drive 2

On July 25th, the South Bend Medical Foundation parked their Bloodmobile in our executive parking spaces, prepared to take our donations. Members of the Holladay staff, neighboring businesses, and tenants from our downtown South Bend properties donated blood to help those in need. A total of 13 whole blood donations were accepted this year which has the potential to save 39 lives!

white plastic syringe

We would like to thank Erin Noonan, Blood Donor Recruitment Specialist, from the South Bend Medical Foundation for coordinating the drive as well as her team for bringing the Bloodmobile out and making sure it ran smoothly.  At Holladay Properties, we look for any opportunity to serve those in our community and plan on continuing to do so in the years to come.