“Creating Quality Urban Lifestyles While Building Stronger Communities”

Our Mission:

To Create beautiful, vibrant and efficient spaces where people want to live and work.  Where empty or underutilized buildings were commonplace, we make neighborhoods.  We capitalize on the enduring architecture of these historic buildings to create an atmosphere of permanence and stability; a place where a buyer or tenant can see themselves living long term. Long term residents who cherish and maintain their investments while interacting and building relationships with one another become a community.    Architecture is the catalyst, and the importance of quality design and workmanship cannot be overstated.

Mike Grabowski

I started my construction career on the commercial/industrial side of the industry in my early twenties.  I spent some time in College studying mechanical engineering, but that environment never felt natural to me.  I needed to build things, to create,  and most importantly I needed to have a physical connection to my work. Walls, stale air, fluorescent lights and the hum of a hard drive were then and are now, like kryptonite.  Fortunately for me I have a great staff who seem to thrive on electromagnetic radiation, keeping everything in order as it should be.

Like so many young Americans who don’t follow a purely academic path after high school, I was a bit lost.  I knew what I wanted to do, I just didn’t know how to do it.  Looking back there were two pivotal points in my career.  I was fortunate enough to connect with a group of tradesman at a young age who not only shared a great deal of knowledge with me, but also pushed me to do more, learn more and ultimately to take a leadership role. They gave me the tools and resources to learn as much as I could and instilled a sense of pride and professionalism in the craft.  The work was expected to be straight, level, plumb, squared, torqued to spec, aligned within tolerances and generally perfect or I got to do it all over again on my own time. It was, at times a frustrating and challenging endeavor.   Having had two decades to reflect on that period though, I now recognize that it was invaluable.  I had a fantastic learning environment.  My mentors were experts in many trades, serious about their work and most importantly they had a genuine desire to share that knowledge with any young person who they felt was invested in learning.  It’s an environment that I’ve worked to recreate within our own organization. If only I could find some young men and women who wanted to be craftspeople……

The second turning point was when I stumbled onto a book called The Timber Frame Home by Tedd Benson in the late 90’s.  By this time, I had been building industrial structures for years.  Lots of concrete and metal, but I hadn’t really had the opportunity to work with wood, or to apply my craft skills or sense of design to the residential sector.  Timber structures were the predecessors to the steel I was so familiar with and had always intrigued me.  By the time I read through the forward of that book I was hooked. Not only had Tedd’s philosophy reinforced my belief in the importance of what we do as craftsmen, architects and designers, but also the role that “great buildings” fulfill socially. I found myself reinvigorated and that energy propelled me into a rapid segue from commercial and industrial work into creating residential spaces.  Most recently, forming Urban Development Partners has given me the opportunity to further develop my artistic side and use that, combined with my technical knowledge to approach design challenges on adaptive reuse and redevelopment projects from an original perspective. Where each new building and new space is unique and perhaps better than the last as we continually learn, adapt and improve.  To paraphrase Tedd, “ Good buildings are built by the ages, not just by the teams who came together for their construction. What is built by the ages is judged by the ages. It is never “good enough”. “

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