And the Winners Are…


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A tradition exists every fall that draws employees in from around Michiana to compete in a battle for glory and bragging rights…

The Annual Chili Cookoff.


On Wednesday, October 7th, Holladay Properties’ South Bend office hosted the event at the Holladay-owned Hilton Garden Inn on State Road 933. A group of 16 chefs comprised of employees from the South Bend and Portage commercial offices, as well as Maple Lane Apartments and West Jefferson Apartments, competed in the 2-tiered competition for the titles of Best Chili and Best Dessert.

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Competitors arrived at 10:30 AM to drop off their dishes, in hopes of a victory. The Chili Cookoff Committee led by Amanda Domalewski, Melissa Fowler-Nelson, Cassie Sprigg, Shelby Seifer and Diane Sopczynski then removed the chilies from their crockpots, carefully placing them in unmarked chaffing dishes, so that the judging would be impartial. Desserts were also put out and prepared for distribution to the judges.

The first tier of the cookoff involved a panel of 6 judges who were charged with awarding a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place dish based on their scores for the following:

Appearance, aroma, consistency, initial taste and aftertaste

Appearance, taste, difficulty and creativity

Judges Elliot Lusk and Mary Baker
With the judge’s tasting complete, it was time to open the dishes for general audience review. Employees were able to sample each chili and dessert, and then vote for one of each item to win the coveted People’s Choice award.
After filling their stomachs to the brim, the results were in:

1st Place – Melissa Morin
2nd Place – Wills Gardner
3rd Place – Shasta Kreighbaum
People’s Choice – Shasta Kreighbaum

1st Place – Kathy Williams
2nd Place – Cassie Sprigg
3rd Place – Lauren Quiett
People’s Choice – Cassie Sprigg

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Winners Melissa Morin, Cassie Sprigg, Kathy Williams, Shasta Kreighbaum and Wills Gardner

Our winners now not only have bragging rights for the year, but also several fun prizes including PTO, gift-cards, hotel stays, etc. to enjoy as their spoils.

2018 Chili 9Kathy Williams, Shasta Kreighbaum and Sicerie Brooks

2018 Chili 11Cassie Sprigg and Shelby Seifer

Fun was had by all at the event, and we can’t wait until next year’s competition.

Congratulations to our winners!


Holladay Lives United 2019


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For 30+ years, Holladay Properties’ South Bend office has been a strong supporter of the United Way of St. Joseph County (UWSJC). Each Fall, our staff kicks off its Holladay Lives United Campaign by touring a community agency and witnessing the affect our donor dollars have on the programs the organization supports. On Wednesday, September 26th employees from the South Bend corporate headquarters, Holladay Construction Group and the Hilton Garden Inn gathered together at Hope Ministries with one common goal: to see how we could be a part of defeating poverty in our community.

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The event began with a tour of the facility. First time attendee, Administrative Assistant Shelby Seifer, described her experience, below:

On the tour of Hope with my colleagues, we were shown each floor of the building and what each one entailed.  We were told about the different types of families living in Hope Ministries and what they do to help them.  Something that stood out to me was the programs that are provided for the adults and children living there.  They not only have classes for adults but they also have a resource room, fitness center, healthcare services, and much more.  As for children, they have a program similar to daycare and rooms where the children can go to play and be creative. On the third floor, they have a large lobby for children to ride bikes which I thought was pretty cool.

Hope really tries to make these families feel at home and help them get back on the right track.

– Shelby Seifer

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After the tour, staff enjoyed lunch and a presentation from the Director of Hope  Ministries, David Vanderveen. He shared with the group, the organization’s goal of transforming the lives of those who are struggling in the community, through healing. Hope Ministries provides 12-18 month housing, counseling, educational and career programs to give individuals and families who are actively seeking a better life a healthy path to long-term stability. To round out the event, the Director of the Center for the Homeless, Steve Camilerri, joined David, to talk about their collaborative initiative based around Trauma Informed Care: Building TRUST.

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I grew up in South Bend and have spent a large amount of time downtown. I always knew what Hope Ministries was but I never knew exactly what they did for people in our community. After visiting Hope Ministries through our United Way Campaign, I gained more knowledge about the organization that I ever thought I would know.

– Shelby Seifer

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Over 145,000 people were aided by UWSJC’s agency funded programs like Hope Ministries and the Center for the Homeless, in 2017. The South Bend office’s 2019 “Holladay Lives United Campaign” will end on October 10th. If you would like to contribute to the campaign, please contact Cassie at (574) 217-4499.


Our donations have the power to change lives.

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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.

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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.

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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.