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AF NY Showroom

Sponsored by AFNY, Project 6 is a collaboration of (4) select plumbing fixture, fitting and coving suppliers designed by award winning Desai Chia Architects.

Dohrbracht, Blanco, Toto and Lucite along with Desai Chia Architects and AFNY make up the component part of Project 6 the first of its kind minimalist design showroom in NYC.

Catalyst Chilmark was selected by Bennett Friedman of AFNY to project manage and build Project 6. The Project 6 is the 2018 Interior Design Magazine NYCxDESIGN Award Winner for New York Showroom.

10,000SF core full floor gut renovation

Project budget: $1.5M

22 West 21st Street, 6th floor NYC

EcologiCiti Update


One of the core tenets of Catalyst building practices is that of sustainability. We’ve spent a number of years researching opportunities for repurposing real estate where economic activity and industry have fallen off, and one such opportunity has presented itself where our personal interests and deep experience in building intersect: EcologiCiti Sustainable Urban Food Centers. EcologiCiti is our solution for developing and building centers that will create jobs and economic development in our urban communities by sustainably growing and distributing healthy, local food.

PhbCatalystGroup is now reaching out to investors with solid institutional backing and larger and deeper platform from which to pursue our initiatives, and simultaneously we have created BuildFarms as our investment vehicle through a joint venture with Valmiki Capital Management, our institutional investor and an asset management company in New York. Valmiki brings connections in the energy efficient real estate space and in cleantech, and with this relationship we have crossed a major threshold toward scalable development.

CEO Emilio Valls has spent the better part of 2015 refining our model, all the while searching for a farmer interested in partnering in our venture toward sustainable food. As we progress toward our first center, conversations continue with a number of parties who may potentially fill this key role in our business model. And into 2016 we will broaden our search from the east coast to explore other markets, seeking out established players in the field of vertical farming.

Interested parties should contact Emilio Valls, CEO, or Erin Robertson, Director of Marketing, at 212-812-9370, by email at or else please visit our website at

Construction Wraps, Atton Brickell Miami Opens Early Summer

Atton Brickell Hotel

The Atton Brickell Miami has completed construction and opened its doors early this summer. The $65 million project is the first US hotel development for Owner-Operator Atton Hoteles of Santiago, Chile. The full-service property located in Downtown Miami features 275 guest rooms; main lobby with a public market, bar and full-service restaurant; rooftop pool and lounge; and 4,000 SF of meeting facilities.

Catalyst was retained as Owner’s Representative for the project. CEO Francisco Levine says of the collaboration,

“Catalyst’s support has been instrumental for our landing in the US market. Deep industry expertise, strong network and a committed team rendered strategic and sound advice.”

The hotel chain is focused on the business traveler market, with the Atton Miami being named its flagship location.

Catalyst Selected for Avatron Park Complex

Avatron, PHB Catalyst Group

The Developers of Avatron Park, led by Chairman and CDO Dave Garrett, have selected phbCatalystgroup, Inc. to be the Program and Construction Managers for the proposed $1 Billion Georgia entertainment complex to be built in the town of Emerson, north of Atlanta, GA.

Mr. Garrett and his team have been working with Catalyst Principals Carlos J. Pesant and Mark Harari on the feasibility, programming, budgeting and final site selection phases of the project.

“It has been a great experience working together, and we are delighted to now make this announcement.”

Avatron Park, a 740-acre site, will consist of a theme park which will feature five distinct lands, developing state-of-the-art interactive and immersive experiences. It will be surrounded by an approximately 300,000 sq. ft. retail village and will include two hotels with a total of 500 rooms. A 10,000 seat amphitheater is being planned.

Avatron Park is to open in Q1 2020.

Atton Brickell Hotel Construction Nearing Completion

Atton Hoteles, Atton Brickell Hotel, Hospitality, PHB Catalyst Group, Owner's Rep

Atton Brickell Hotel is a unique project as it is the first Hotel in the USA for Hotel-Owner/Operator Atton Hoteles of Santiago, Chile. Adjacent to Miami’s historical Simpson Park, the development consists of 275 guestrooms occupying approximately 287,000 SF within a 12-story tower.  The hotel includes the following public amenities: main public lobby contiguous with lounges, a market, bar, restaurant and meeting rooms on the ground level; and pool deck with cabanas, additional meeting rooms, bar, fitness center and parking within a podium.

phbCatalystgroup was retained as Owner’s Representative very early on to assist in qualifying and selecting the entire consulting team and construction manager. The project is scheduled to open by mid-summer 2016 and is to be certified LEED Silver.

Owner: Atton Hoteles, Santiago, Chile
Architect: Revuelta Architecture International, Inc.
Role (services provided): Owner’s Representative
Year Completed: Q3 2016

1 Hotel Central Park


Only the second of its kind, the 1 Hotel Central Park opened its doors in November 2015, offering New York City a uniquely new, eco-luxury lifestyle brand (1 Hotels.) Under the helm of Starwood Capital Group, the 1920’s-era building underwent a complete gut renovation, essentially “recycling” the building. The 229-key boutique hotel was originally purposed as a residential hotel and later was converted into an office building.

Catalyst was intimately involved in all aspects of the project from initial project design, pre-construction, construction and through to pre-opening of the property. Catalyst managed a large team of consultants, incorporating into the interior design unique, eco-friendly materials to create a hybrid style that is luxurious yet sustainable. From the reclaimed barn wood lobby floor to the double front doors born of 16,000 branches intricately woven together, recycled woods are a common theme throughout. Other recycled materials include cork, blackened steel, and stone, creating a rich contrast of textures and materials.

The 1 Hotel Central Park has applied for LEED certification which is currently in process.

Owner: Starwood Capital Group
Architect: Gene Kaufman Architect P.C.  Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman Architects, LLC
Role (services provided): Development Manager
Year: 2010-2015

Cash Flow Management > A Key Driver of Contractor Success

One of the biggest challenges for contractors is CASH FLOW management.  You can make an accounting profit and still get wiped out.  This can happen in any economic climate, but is a particularly acute problem in a down market when competitive pressure is severe.  The recent prolonged slump in the construction industry stretched the financial capacity of even the best of contractors and subcontractors.
Subcontractors are often at risk for cash flow imbalances because they at lower rungs of the contracting ladder, at least two-to-three levels removed from the money.  In a tight market, the cost of money can be squeezed out via the bidding process, increasing the risk that late cash receipts will erode profitability.
There are steps you can take to ensure that cash flow has visibility within your organization and is a priority for your project teams.
1.  Be sure that mobilization requirements are clearly spelled out in your contract.
2.  Find out if the GC or CM you work for has an imprest account for job start-up.
3.  Review the payment clause(s) in your contract.  Generally, CM contracts stipulate a “pay-when-paid” requirement.  If this is the case, see if you can negotiate better terms.  Check the payment requirement laws in your area and be cognizant of them.
4.  Make sure that retention is managed properly.  Push to have the retention reduced at the mid-way point in the project. For example, from 10% to 5%.  This must be clearly delineated in your contract.
5.  Be aware of prompt payment terms, which are often required in government-funded projects.  Know the requirements of the agency administering the project, and verify that these terms have been included in your contract.
6.  Tie-in executive and project management compensation to cash flow stability.  This is an effective method of conveying the importance of cash flow within your organization, and leads to proactive cash flow management.
7.  Timely cash flow, like most elements of effective project management, derives from proper project management, communication and documentation. Update your project schedule monthly and demand that it is issued with a narrative that explains how the critical path has changed!
8.  Change orders, if improperly administered, can bury a subcontractor.  Again, it comes down to proper communication, documentation and follow-up. Payments for change orders can be negotiated and should be part of the agreement.
9.  Know your contracts inside-out and understand the pitfalls and opportunities inherent in your agreements.
10.Final payment problems usually result from quality issues at the end the project.  These can stem from extensive punch lists, poorly administered permitting processes, disorganized close-out and TCO issues.  Implement a standard process for managing close-out and be sure to communicate this to your team and to your client.  Remember that well executed job close-out is a process.  It does not start during the end of the project.  Rather, it is the result of sound project management practices and effective project communication and controls.
Be aware that cash flow is as important as profitability.  Evaluate the diversity of your cash flow against your ability to access cash, either via savings or from credit lines.  Be sure that your contract agreements clearly address payment terms.  Communicate these terms to your project managers and to your executives.  Remember that Cash is King in the construction industry.

– Mark Harari, Co-President, phb Catalyst, Inc.

Preparing for and Administering a Time-Impact (Schedule) Claim

Preparing for and Administering a Time-Impact Claim

Preparing an effective schedule claim requires diligence, preparation, communication, documentation and pro-active project management. If the contract is not administered properly from the onset of the project, a successful time-impact claim is highly unlikely.

Generally, the burden of proof is on the contractor.  You cannot demonstrate that your schedule has been impacted if you do not have a clear and viable baseline schedule.

Here are some basic steps involved in tracking and demonstrating schedule variances:

  • Establish a logical baseline schedule before the start of the project.  Ensure that it ties into your job estimate.
  • Verify that the baseline schedule has been communicated and included in your contract.
  • Document your assumptions.
  • If you are the prime contractor (CM or GC), be sure to include the baseline schedule in your subcontract agreements.
  • Specific task activities should be clearly defined.
  • Keep the schedule current.
  • When updating the schedule status, be sure to verify the logic of your assumptions.
  • Do not override the logic of the schedule; this will only increase risk and reduce the credibility of your schedule and any time-impact claim(s).
  • Submit updated schedules with a critical path analysis at least monthly (or periodically as needed).
  • Each activity should have a unique owner (source) of responsibility.
  • Activities should be descriptive: Object / Action / Location
  • Use the Critical Path Method (CPM) to manage the project.
  • Bar charts are only used as a summary tool after the CPM has been constructed.

Time Evaluation Concepts

The critical path is the longest sequence of activities in the schedule, and therefore, activities on the critical path have zero float.  This is an important concept.  If you deplete the float in an activity, by definition, it will fall on the critical path.  Thus, the critical path is dynamic and can change, especially on a large and complex project.  As a project manager, you must recognize the tendency of the critical path to change and be ready to document how it changed and who or what caused the change.  Also, the CPM schedule must be presented prospectively, i.e., it should be based on the best information currently available and on project assumptions that have been verified.

Include external interfaces and owner-supplied information and deliverables.  Remember that the CPM should represent all of the scope of the contract.

When preparing a time-impact analysis for a claim, you can show the progression of the schedule up to the point of the delay event and use “BUT FOR” analysis.  This entails showing how the schedule deviated from plan, and how it would have progressed IF the delay event had not happened.  Also, verify that all activities which you include in your delay claim were “critical” at the time the delay occurred.  If there were non-critical activities which lost their float because of the delay, and were forced to become “critical”, demonstrate this using the schedule history as back-up.

Effective schedule management and time analysis requires attention to detail and a project management team that communicates and documents changes.  Often, large changes are the result of small changes that the project team views as being minor.  The lesson is that even small schedule changes should be documented and communicated, so that the schedule (and the project) does become a victim of “death by a thousand cuts”.

– Mark Harari, Co-President, phb Catalyst, Inc.