Oct 17, 2022

Partner Profile: ICO Companies

By Focus Engineering In Expertise, Partnership No comments

While the name ICO Companies may be unfamiliar to some, its sister company Ivory Homes, is not. The locally-owned and operated company has been ranked as Utah’s largest homebuilder for 34 years. The ICO Companies are a group of businesses focused on commercial and multi-family real estate. ICO (short for Ivory Commercial) focuses on mixed-use communities, multi-family communities, and commercial lifestyle projects in Utah. 

This diversification from homes to commercial construction came about in 2008 and has resulted in distinctive and high performing properties. The in-house staff of engineers, architects, geotechnical and site experts support business development experts to visualize the value creation potential of challenged locations, site, or jurisdictions. 

We caught up with Stephen Hopkins, the ICO Development Director for industrial, mid-sized office, and retail to learn more about the the development and acquisitions arm he oversees. Stephen joined ICO in 2015 and enjoys being involved in every step of the real estate cycle. Like every ICO business, the analytical rigor comes first. This legwork includes conducting feasibility and valuation studies and performing extensive market research to identify locations, plan sites, and negotiate purchases. “We do a lot of planning to help things go well,” explains Stephen.

Once the land is purchased, the team shifts to managing the entitlement process, engaging architects and engineers for design, and overseeing construction (ICO Construction is the general contractor), leasing, and property management (ICO Property Management is the property manager). Whether the work is done for ICO’s own account, with joint ventures, or for third parties, Stephen involves designers, contractor, and agencies up front so that ICO understands what can be done on the site.

That’s where FOCUS civil engineers, land planners, and staking crews come in. “Any time we have a project, we need a civil engineer for grading and utilties design,” says Stephen. “Our construction team will often contract with FOCUS for construction staking.” Stephen estimates he’s worked on approximately 10 projects with FOCUS and values the responsiveness of our team members. “I know they’ll take care of us. With some consultants, it’s hard to get hold of them or get their attention.That’s not the case with FOCUS. They get us what we need quickly.”

Stephen knows that regardless of the size of the project, he’ll get the same level of attention from FOCUS team members. He recounts a time when he was working with FOCUS on a small retail building and some issues arose. “I made them aware and they drove to meet with me several times to find resolution,” he recounts. 

Building a project with the future in mind is a core ICO philosophy. They don’t plan on selling the projects they develop which means no one is looking at short-term returns. “We want an asset to last,” shares Stephen. He believes FOCUS has a similar philosophy. It’s not about a quick profit but rather creating a quality project built to last. 

We believe this philosophy applies not only to buildings but also to relationships. Thank you, Stephen and ICO Companies, for the opportunity to contribute to your success.