Rob Lochner, Vice President of Development at KDG, has built a successful career in the St. Louis development world, but he did not always know that development was where his passion lied. Rob is originally an architect by education and training, so it was during his work at a local architectural firm that he was introduced to the real estate development industry. He quickly realized that he wanted to experience the other side of projects as an owner. When an opportunity arose at May Design & Construction to manage the planning, design, and construction of the May Company department stores, Rob jumped at it. In 2005, he decided to investigate opportunities with real estate development companies, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Rob is a life-long St. Louisan and has loved being able to serve his local communities. He finds it especially rewarding to be able to see the direct, physical impact his projects have on the communities around him.
“We create a place for people to live, work, play, shop, and more. The better we can design and construct those spaces to improve their overall experience and improve the quality of life for our residents, tenants, and visitors, the more successful I feel our community can be in every aspect of our daily lives.”
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to developing a new property, whether that be an office building or a multifamily apartment complex, and Rob has been part of the development process from many perspectives. His favorite part of real estate development is serving the client by creating distinctive properties that meet their financial needs. He enjoys working with creative and patient clients that are fully engaged in, not only the entire development process, but the real estate market itself, and that have goals in alignment with Rob and his team’s goals.
“The team and the projects get me out of bed every day. When things get tough, I firmly believe to never give up. Many times, the solution to a particular problem may not be clear initially but avoiding it or ignoring it is never the answer. Jumping in, engaging in a discourse with the team about solutions, and building consensus typically leads to the best resolution to a challenging situation. It is important to bring all available resources to the table for thoughtful, creative solutions in a timely manner.”
One of the most important lessons Rob has learned throughout his career is fundamental – every line on a drawing means something and costs something. It is essential to understand the construction designs for all disciplines, how they impact cost, and how to work with the team to put economically effective designs on paper. Learning this lesson early on has allowed Rob to deliver high quality projects on budget and on time. His passion for real estate development is evident, and if he could give one piece of advice to someone starting out in the industry, it would be:
“Learn as much about every aspect of the business as you can, not just the specific job for which you are being hired. By doing so, you will find certain areas where you excel and where you can build your confidence. Ultimately, you can follow through with your career focus in that area and become a critical part of a development team. It may be property management, market research, construction, financing, etc. – all are important components for a successful real estate development platform.”
Rob is energized by KDG’s growth trajectory, having recently rejoined the team after being part of Koman Group in the past. He sees KDG growing well beyond the St. Louis market with developments throughout the country and is committed to helping grow the pipeline and bring new properties to life here and in new markets.
“I’ve always kept a great relationship with the team, even after I left a couple of years ago. Since Jason and Rusty have formed KDG, the opportunities are truly amazing and it’s very exciting to return to such a robust pipeline for real estate development. The culture, team, and vision for KDG is far superior to anything in the sector.”