Exclusive: New Woman-Owned Development Company Launches In Silicon Valley
Iron Construction COO and co-founder Claudia Folzman is looking to break down walls while creating new developments.
Claudia just launched Titanium, a development company joining the handful of real estate companies nationwide with women executives and owners. She remains COO at the construction firm she co-founded in 2001 even as she builds Titanium.
"Titanium offers unique perspective on the industry because of our core belief that we must remain entrepreneurial and aggressive, as individuals and as a company," said Claudia, who is Titanium CEO. "We believe in teamwork, innovation and honest communication. We have many strong, intelligent women in our industry, and I want to continue to mentor them to create bigger and bolder ideas for the CRE space."
Claudia said she is evaluating the cycle since it’s currently frothy, and she plans to get into the thick of things during the next cycle. Titanium, named after the next element on the periodic table following Iron, will focus on traditional repurposing of buildings and properly converting them to a new use.
Claudia is particularly interested in homelessness and affordable housing. While timing is great for infill developments, she said everyone is trying to do it. There are a lot of smaller developments coming online, but affordable housing fees of $17/SF in San Jose on projects with more than three units results in hefty fees. She said affordable housing fees don’t really help solve the housing problem either.
"Cities need to look at the full life cycle," Claudia says. "They’re just nibbling at the apple and not getting to the full core."
Claudia (above with Sleepy Hollow Management commercial real estate asset manager Dale Green during Bisnow's Power Women event held earlier this year) hopes permitting and development will become easier with a more business-friendly San Jose council coming into office. She’s also taking slowdown talk with a grain of salt. People in one breath say things are slowing down, but then end up closing several deals, she said.
"People are always going to worry when they don’t have a tenant," Claudia said. "It’s now a matter of figuring out if they want to lock in a tenant short term or long term."
While Claudia’s new company is taking a wait-and-see approach, Iron Construction has plenty of projects in the pipeline, including creating an outdoor entertainment area at Sushi Confidential and a project for Salon Professional, both in San Jose.
Iron Construction plans to renovate its own office space, Iron Construction marketing and business development director Stephanie Pence told Bisnow. The renovations at the 17k SF office at 1955 The Alameda in San Jose embrace the open office concept.
The firm is converting the two-story building into a multilevel office with mezzanines. Except for private conference rooms, there will no longer be private office spaces for any one employee.
“It’s a fun open office environment,” Stephanie says.
Iron Construction sold its old building in Sunnyvale to Walnut Hill Capital in February, doubling its capital.