Sep 24, 2021

Partner Profile: Wasatch Residential Group

By Focus Engineering In Expertise, Partnership No comments

Since 2014, Wasatch Residential Group (WRG) has developed and acquired thousands of multi-family units in communities throughout the Intermountain West. The company provides comprehensive development, construction, asset management, and financing/equity services for apartment projects. Their committed professionals have decades of experience, and they enjoy working with cities, architects, and engineers to design and construct large and complex projects. The team prides itself on being active holders of real estate assets and utilizing creative financing structures to develop state-of-the-art projects.

Vice President of Development Adam Lankford attributes the company’s success to the WRG team. “We have a very small group, and we get a lot done,” he discloses. “We’re all driven, and we really enjoy what we do.” If you visit the WRG office, you’ll find a group that enjoys eating lunch together, skiing, and mountain biking together. “We work and play well together. And our president, Jeff Neilson, is right there working alongside us.”

Since its inception, Adam and WRG have turned to FOCUS for civil engineering, survey, construction staking, land planning, and landscape architecture services. He thinks highly of the attention to customer service. “Some firms overpromise and underdeliver. When I say I need something by this date and time, FOCUS delivers. I can always get ahold of them when there is an issue.”

Adam estimates the two firms have collaborated on upwards of 20 projects. One of his favorites is Parc View in Midvale, Utah. The 374-unit project was built on the tailings site of the former Sharon Steel Corp. shelter and mill. The city worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to remediate the site, and the land was taken off the Superfund list in 2004. While the cleanup and revitalization turned a decades-long problem into a source of significant economic promise for Midvale City, a lawsuit threatened to stall development. City officials put the project under contract and assigned it to WRG. “It was very exciting because we do quite a bit of brownfield development,” says Adam.

Since that first phase, WRG has gone on to develop Phase 2, workforce housing, and will begin Phase 3 in Spring 2022. “To visit the site today and see a park, pickleball courts, landscaping, and Class A apartments is very rewarding,” Adam shares.

WRG regularly turns to FOCUS to help solve complicated coordination issues. “Our projects must be well designed and submitted to an entity on time,” explains Adam. Recent projects have required working with entities like the Utah Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad to trade or buy land. A townhome project in Draper required purchasing a small piece of land from UPRR and then designing a detention pond that tied into Draper City’s detention pond. To complicate matters, the design required approval from Salt Lake County. “That’s a lot of coordination and collaboration,” acknowledges Adam. He relied on FOCUS and its relationships with stakeholders to ensure approvals were technically sound.

With sky-high construction costs, WRG is honing in on design to help save money. Adam looks to FOCUS to help design wet utilities such as sewer, storm drain, and water. On a recent townhome project, the redesign of a storm drain system helped save money in the long run. Along the same lines is paying attention to balancing the site. “A lot of our projects are in downtown Salt Lake City, and discussions about grading are critical when you have a large footprint,” Adam explains. “Decisions about cut, fill, and retaining walls are all critical, and those come from the engineer.” He and FOCUS spend a lot of time dialing in the grading to make the site work and avoid spending extra money hauling off dirt or bringing in materials.

When it comes to business philosophy, WRG is a company that is very straightforward and transparent. It’s what Adam calls a “come through the front door” kind of people. His experience with FOCUS is that it’s the same way.