Kotis Properties is a high-end real estate developer specializing in building
signature buildings for retailers and restaurateurs. "We take a long-term
approach to development," says President and CEO William M. "Marty"
Kotis III. "We believe in investing in the community. We want to build
buildings that will be in style 100 years from now."
The Greensboro real estate development corporation is the third largest retail
developer in the Piedmont Triad, with more than 52 property groups. Its roots
are in the restaurant business. Marty Kotis' father, William Kotis, owned restaurants,
as did his father before him. Then in 1957, William Kotis built a restaurant
and discovered he liked building restaurants, as much as running them and as
a restaurant developer, he could operate many restaurants at once. He founded
Kotis Properties and proceeded to build a portfolio of restaurants and retail
Marty Kotis joined the company in 1987, becoming president in 1995. Father
and son make a good team; together they have propelled Kotis Properties into
its most significant growth phase. "We complement each other," says
Marty Kotis. "My father likes to operate by the seat of his pants, from
the gut. Though my background is a business degree from Carolina (the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and an MBA from UNCG (University of North
Carolina at Greensboro), I still like to evaluate deals from the gut, but I
use a different set of tools to make those projects successful." Today
Kotis Properties owns, develops, constructs, and manages retail properties throughout
North Carolina. It focuses on upscale specialty shopping centers, restaurants,
food-store anchored neighborhood centers, and regional shopping centers. The
future is expected to bring more of the same with an emphasis on building premier
structures for the retail market.
Kotis Properties is an affiliate of Kotis Development, Kotis Construction Company,
and Kotis Real Estate Services - all owned by the Kotis family.
"We strive to create architecturally superior structures that are based
on classical design, not current trends," Marty Kotis says. "Once
built, our centers appear to be part of the community's history. Designed with
longevity in mind, our structures always employ quality building materials.
And, of course, no project can succeed without an excellent location. We purchase
sites with high visibility, good access, strong demographics, and healthy growth."
Marty Kotis loves to travel, and he never goes anywhere without either a camera
or sketchbook. He unabashedly "swipes" design details from beautiful
old buildings: cornice here, a brick arch there. And they reappear in a Kotis
Properties building. "Architecture seems to be a lost art today,"
Kotis says. "Architectural detail and style are important to Kotis Properties.
We are not trendy builders; our buildings have a historical focus and classic
designs and quality construction, Kotis Properties' developments add value to
their communities. Consider the details in some of its projects: Westover Gallery
of Shops features lighted walkways and brick arches. The Cardinal Shopping Center,
whose elegant sawtooth brickwork replicates the same traditional design of Durham's
old tobacco warehouses, is dominated by a dramatic glass arch that turns a typical
chain grocery store into both a modern and architecturally pleasing marketplace.
Summerfield Renaissance Shopping Center is a contemporary classic that looks
as if it could have been built at the turn of the century.
Restaurants still hold a special place in the heart of Kotis Properties. The
company developed the 6,000-square-foot Leblon Brazilian Restaurant. Kotis spent
two days holed up in the NC State University architecture library searching
for the traditional elements of Brazilian architecture to include in the stylish
tenants are all typically very good at what they do," Kotis says. "We
want to build a building that adds value to their business. In the case of large
chain stores such as Office Max and Lowe's Foods, we create a prototype that
showcases their business, has personality, and presents an image beyond the
traditional national retailer." Lo Spiedo di Noble (on right) is another
Kotis Properties development chocked full of special treatments and an example
of how Kotis Properties works closely with tenants to leave a lasting impression.
In planning the restaurant, Kotis and owner Jim Noble took a field trip to cutting-edge
California, where they visited 24 restaurants in three days. Noble studied the
menu, while Kotis eyed the buildings. Some of the ideas they brought back and
adapted for Lo Spiedo di Noble include: a custom-made rotisserie grill, a 16-by-16-foot
skylight, a visible wine cellar, granite counter tops from Italy, and wood-fired
ovens from California.
One of Kotis Properties' most rewarding projects, according to Marty Kotis,
has been the 145,600-square-foot Spring Lane Galleria in Sanford, North Carolina.
This project illustrates the close relationship Kotis Properties develops with
communities. In Sanford, the developer took a dilapidated strip center and turned
it into the focal point of the retail community. Along the way, Kotis Properties
and city and county officials developed an unusually supportive relationship:
Kotis Properties helped Lee County draft new zoning, landscaping, and signage
ordinances. The city helped recruit retailers for the transformed shopping center.
Residents called Kotis Properties to say they appreciated the company's work
and commitment to their community. From this creative and positive environment
grew a premier shopping center of which all parties are proud. For this project,
Kotis borrowed design ideas from the Baltimore Fish Market.
Lane Galleria incorporates many Kotis trademarks: the extensive and inventive
use of brick, the elegant arches and covered walkways, and lights in the sidewalks
which shine up and create a striking appearance at night. In 1997, Spring Lane
Galleria received Best Landscaping and Best Appearance Awards from Lee County.
As Kotis Properties heads into the next century, it continues to target top
retailers and restaurateurs that want more than a traditional structure or shopping
center space - they want the Kotis signature of style and quality.