REthink Owner Solutions has transformed underutilized book stacks into state-of-the-art meeting and amenity spaces as part of an extensive renovation and modernization project at the Highland Park Library, in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
REthink Owner Solutions, founded by commercial real estate experts Rick Goldman and Justin Pathmann, is a firm that allows developers, owners and businesses to tap into vast expertise and proven methodology they otherwise might not be able to access or afford.
Over time, as more and more books and reading materials have been converted online, officials at public libraries across the country are finding that areas required for book stacks are being reduced, according to Pathmann. These libraries are turning to firms like REthink to convert these underutilized spaces into productive individual and/or group areas.
At Highland Park Public Library, the underutilized book stacks have been transformed into meeting rooms and conference spaces. Those spaces are on par with a shared office environment in a commercial office building. The five dynamic, glass-enclosed spaces offer state-of-the-art technology and individual climate control systems. Each room contains video conferencing and 5G internet connections to allow those working from home functional meeting and collaboration space. The spaces provide accommodation for individuals and groups of as many as 10 people.
Additionally, the project modernized their 100-year-old children’s department by creating a puppet theater and an interactive LED ceiling. Additionally, the administrative areas were upgraded and structural walls were opened up to make staff workspaces more cohesive.
This, according to Pathmann, was a significant issue the library had been dealing with for a very long time. Various other firms had previously told the library it would be “impossible” to remove the obstacles and challenges associated with 100-year-old structural elements.
“This is a signature project for Highland Park,” Pathmann said. “It’s important to note that throughout the uncertainty the coronavirus created, we never lost a day on the schedule, or incurred additional expenses because of the pandemic. In fact, we ultimately came in significantly under budget and ahead of schedule. That speaks volumes to our ability to pivot and execute on behalf of our clients.”
In establishing REthink, Goldman and Pathman are making available the insights, knowledge, expertise and proprietary processes that more typically are found within dedicated real estate departments. That is a luxury, Goldman said, that few groups—CRE developers, property owners and investors, public libraries, retailers, restaurants and commercial tenants—have the flexibility or resources to afford.
Goldman has more than 30 years of diversified commercial real estate development and construction management experience. Most recently, for the last 19-plus years, he was an owner of Pacific Construction Services. He has also developed and redeveloped commercial and residential properties across the country, for his own firms as well as during executive positions with Crate & Barrel and TrizecHahn Development Corporation, among others.
Pathmann has more than 20 years of construction management experience. In 2017 his former firm, Pathmann Construction Management, merged with Pacific Construction Services. He is proficient as a municipal construction manager and has completed more than 20 public library assignments and numerous other township projects.
The formation of REthink has been more than 30 years in the making. At the end of 2019 Goldman and his partner sold Pacific Construction Services which created the opportunity for Goldman and Pathmann to focus on their individual and collective experiences and provide clients with a comprehensive menu of advisory services that produce tangible outcomes.