A FEW MINUTES WITH MARK ROSENSHEIN, A VALUED CONSULTANT OF CORE INVESTMENTS, INC.
Mark Rosenshein is Cofounder and Partner at Trademark Partners LLC, which works with Core Investments, Inc. on developing the On the Dot neighborhood in South Boston and other projects.
Mark, what does Trademark do?
Trademark for Core and all our clients are owner’s project managers. For a range of clients that means we are managing their projects on their behalf because they either don’t have the experience or capacity for a given project they want to take on. We work with institutions and universities, for instance, who are not experts at “development”. Some clients, like Core, are rapidly expanding and growing their business and may need additional capacity, to retain us, like partners, to act as coordinators in project management, managing the team, and providing guidance on everything from permitting to dealing with constructability and agency interactions. We can represent them in a full range of development capacities. Some just use us for construction oversight. Some use us for everything from permitting through final occupancy.
Redgate, JLL, Colliers – there are big corporate firms that do this. Some do it in support of their other businesses. At Trademark this is all we do. We are only project managers. We only work for specific clients that need that capacity. We’re a much smaller firm, more nimble, and candidly more cost-effective.
How many people does Trademark have?
We’re a two-person business. [Mark and Tessa Milllard-Davies are partners.] We have a person who does administration and meeting notes. But the two of us have the project management capacity and expertise at Trademark.
How old is Trademark?
Six years. Tessa and I both have architectural backgrounds. We both worked at The Architectural Team. We both worked at Colliers and then started Trademark.
What other geographic areas do you have projects in?
We work up and down the East Coast. We have projects in Florida, Maine, New Hampshire and had a project in Georgia. It started as a function of — one of our clients had work up and down the East Coast, and we went where he went. Now we have clients that only work in Florida, for instance.
How long has Trademark worked with Core?
Three years, almost four.
What specifically does Trademark do for Core Investments?
The way we came to Core was the relationship with [Core’s President of Development] John Cissel. He and I worked together in 2007-2008 on the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in Upham’s Corner. I was the architect. For Core we are in fact providing a full range of services, including large-scale discretionary permitting with the city. Leading the effort to master-plan permit and develop plans for On the Dot, including the [first] four buildings. That’s our primary responsibility right now. We’re also working closely guiding the team in design and engineering of those buildings. We’re overseeing preconstruction services by John Moriarty and Associates and Lee Kennedy [Lee Kennedy Co., Inc.] on the construction side, providing construction oversight on behalf of Core for one or more buildings. We’re also providing some technical support, I would call it development technical support, for a couple of other projects. If and when Core has a need for development permitting, not the legal side but submission and technical side of permits, we are who they call for guidance, which we appreciate. We’re starting to spend time on developing cost management, looking at project figures, what’s cost-effective, what the market’s doing for steel and wood construction – guidance to make the project economically viable and cost-effective.
What’s interesting about working on Core’s projects?
Two things are interesting in particular. Core’s assembly of land, the land they have been putting together on the west side of Dorchester Avenue, is unbelievably exciting and incredibly unique in Boston, in terms of positioning relative to the future of the quality of an important neighborhood in Boston. This is a fundamentally transformational opportunity at that location. It [Core] is now positioned as sort of a thought leader in terms of development in that part of South Boston. It is such a critical juncture at that spot. The opportunity represented by the project is fascinating. And then Core is more aspirational than most developers. Core is approaching the project with a very aspirational, open sense of what is possible. They tend to have a greater level of aspirations, or set of goals, than a lot of run of the mill developers. Say, future proofing these buildings for electrification. They say, “Let’s have a discussion of where the industry will be in five years,” instead of where everybody has been for the last five or six years.
What makes Trademark good at their role?
One of the reasons I think companies like working with Trademark is there’s always a partner in every meeting. We don’t assign things to junior staff. There’s a very high level of expertise and engagement. I think they appreciate that greatly.
Mark, what is your background, and what inspires Trademark?
I have an unusual educational background. I double majored [at George Washington University] in philosophy and political science with a minor in creative writing and history. I was pre-law — functionally unemployable. I was bartending at this hotel in college. I was buying this used drafting table. The hotel owner overheard and asked me why I wanted it. I said I like drafting and doodling. He described a project and said draw it for me. He hired me sort of as an administrative assistant. Eventually, I ended up doing graphic design work for a bunch of magazines. Then I was hired by an architectural firm and worked as an architect project manager for 18 years. And through a series of circumstances, Tessa said, “Let’s start Trademark …”. Both of us have unique and varied professional experiences, and that informs a lot of what Trademark has become.
And where did you grow up?
In upstate New York, in the Catskills. There were acres of cornfield across from my house. My father’s family started a farm to get out of the city. That’s where I grew up, Woodbourne, New York. My parents were both teachers. My dad taught high school science, and my mother second grade elementary school.
Where do you live now?
Right here in Charlestown. Tessa and I both live in Charlestown, up on the Hill. Our office is in Hood Park. Hood [dairy products company] left in the ’90s. We were development consultants for the 20 acres that was Hood Park. There are three new buildings here now, in construction on a fourth project, and there will be four more.
What do you do to have fun when you’re not working?
I think it’s funny that you think I have time when I’m not working. No, I have a place in Rockport that I love, hanging out by the ocean, going to the beach and scuba diving all year round, but not here. I go to the Caribbean, where it’s nice and warm and there are interesting things to see.
What’s a favorite place of yours in the Boston area?
I have spent a fair amount of time out by the Harbor Islands. I love to sail. Boston Harbor is spectacular. I’m constantly amazed how few people spend time on and around our harbor front and the islands. I have sailed and kayaked the entire harbor, out to the Boston light and up and down the coast. I’ve even commuted to work via kayak.