Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ask & You Shall Receive!

I recently agreed to help a friend rehab a downtown San Francisco office building, which she owns, but is too busy with her main business to attend to herself. The building is mostly vacant, with a small portion occupied by her company. Renovations, like additional sprinklers, added electrical capacity and a new air handling system, are necessary to make the building rentable. Without the renovations, she has an asset that is really underperforming.

I've been working on what needs to be done to the building in order to make it rentable, working from a 10 year old inspection report. Since there are plumbing, HVAC, electrical/data, sprinkler and roofing issues, I have to think about in what order they should done. So far, I've learned that you must begin the HVAC work (removing old unit), replace the flat roof, and then install new air handling unit. For example, I suspect that plumbing must be done before the roof, as well, but don't know that for sure. (I should mention that although I've done a lot of residential rehab, I've never worked on a commercial building before, and the systems are a bit different.)

So I was thinking about how to get that workflow info, as well as a good source for commercial vendors, which are harder to come by than residential. (The residential ones are on craigslist, yelp, etc. but the commercial ones mostly aren't, as their business is much more word of mouth.) I thought about Jim, a member of my extended family (my husband's cousin's husband) who used to have a paving contractor's license, who does really good work himself (his house is very well done, and he's helped me a bit with our house), and clearly knows what quality work is in all of the trades. He is now the property manager for a large church which also has a K-12 school, along with other buildings and parking lots, and so he's dealing with commercial people all the time, not to mention flat roofs.

A few weeks ago, on a Wednesday, as I'm sure you know, a new pope was elected. I don't really care about that, not being Catholic, but on the way home from the jobsite on BART, my cell phone picked up a network named "Vatican" at the Daly City station! It has never done that before, nor has it ever picked up ANY network at the Daly City BART, which I've ridden a few times in the last few weeks.

I thought that was pretty remarkable, and said so to the nice, middle aged lady next to me. (I never really talk to anyone on BART, either.) She remarked that she didn't own a cell phone, or a personal computer, though she used one all day at work. We got to chatting, and I heard the words "tenants" and "engineers" both, so I asked her if she was a property manager. The answer was yes! She is the property manager for a small hotel chain, which also owns about a block of SF, right off Union Square. She's been at that job for over 20 years. I explained my situation very briefly, and she is willing to talk to me and to share her rolodex.

I got home, took a phone call, changed my clothes and went to yoga. I was a little early, but that was okay. As I got out of my car, I saw a couple of people who looked familiar -- Jim and his wife (my husband's cousin)! So I told them about my new position, and asked Jim if he's willing to share his expertise and rolodex. Of course, the answer is yes! :)

Just another instance of intention creating reality. The amazing thing to me is that I never did anything formal about setting an intention. I just kind of thought about what I needed. And the information I needed, in the form of two people,  one of whom I didn't even know, showed up almost immediately. Be clear what you want, ask and you shall receive!

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