Brookwoods beginnings date to the 1945 start of the architectural practice of C. Wilmer Heery, Jr.
The present day firm was established in 1989 by George Heery, Shepherd Heery and Laura Heery as one of three entities collectively referred to as The Wakefield Group of Companies. The three entities were Satulah Properties, Brookwood Design Group, and American Construction Investigations. Upon formation in 1989, all three firms had offices in Atlanta, New York and San Francisco.
Today, Brookwood has offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, San Francisco and Seattle. Brookwood shareholders who are active members of the firm also are located in Akron, London, San Luis Obispo and Whitefish, Montana. Brookwood has completed projects in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Throughout its history, Brookwood and its affiliates have served as strategic advisors - rigorously and consistently adhering to a core mission of advancing and protecting the interests of clients and partners in the management of property investment, development, design and construction programs. Brookwood's clients are public and private sector owners, investors, tenants and users of facilities and real property.
Brookwood traces its origins to the architectural practice of C. Wilmer Heery, Jr., established in Athens, Georgia in 1945.
Born in Atlanta in 1904, Wilmer was raised in a middle class family. His father worked for 50 years as a manager of a women's clothier, Regenstein's. Young Wilmer attended the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) School of Architecture from 1922-1926 where he trained in the neo-classical tradition of the French École des Beaux Arts.
Prior to his graduation from Georgia Tech, Wilmer worked with Felch & Southwell Architects in the summer of 1925. After his graduation in 1926, he apprenticed with several Atlanta based firms including: Edwards & Saywood Architects; Daniel Beutell Architects; and Hentz, Adler & Shutze Architects. These firms flourished throughout the 1920s and produced some of the most important buildings in Atlanta.
Wilmer was a skilled draftsman and a talented designer. He and Sara Elder of Athens, Georgia were married in August 1926 and made their home in Atlanta.
With the stock market crash of October 1929 and the ensuing depression, virtually all architectural firms had a collapse in their backlogs. As a result, Wilmer faced very limited prospects in the early 1930s.
In 1932, with their two young children, George (age 4) & Carolyn (age 2), Wilmer & Sara moved from Atlanta to Athens at the request of Professor Rudy Driftmier, head of the Agricultural Engineering Department of the University of Georgia where Wilmer accepted employment as a staff architect with the University.
Wilmer was licensed to practice architecture in 1933. He held license number 305, indicating that he may have been the 305th architect to be registered in the State of Georgia. His early commissions in private practice included modest residential projects and facilities for the University of Georgia. Given the economic realities of the time, much of his work was for simple residences and agricultural buildings.
In 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression, Wilmer Heery was appointed as Chief Architect of the Atlanta office of the new Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the predecessor agency to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The family relocated back to the Atlanta area and resided in the eastern suburb of Decatur.
For several years in the early 1940s, Wilmer & Sara temporarily moved their family (including their teenaged children George & Carolyn and their new baby, Harriett) from Atlanta to Sliver Spring, Maryland while Wilmer served in a senior capacity with FHA's Emergency War Housing Program.
During his tenure with the FHA, Wilmer was instrumental in establishing national housing design standards. In 1944, Wilmer returned to Atlanta as the FHA's Chief Administrator in the region.
In late 1945, at the end of World War II, Wilmer resigned from the FHA. He and Sara relocated to Athens, Georgia, and he established his architectural practice, C. Wilmer Heery Architect. He eventually expanded to six employees prior to associating his practice with that of his son, George T. Heery. The initial father/son affiliation consisted of two separate but associated practices in 1952 that were known as Heery & Heery Architects, Athens and Heery & Heery Architects, Atlanta.
Having enlisted in the U.S. Navy in late 1944 at age 17, George T. Heery served in the Pacific in 1945 and 1946. Thus, he was a veteran of World War II when he attended Georgia Tech. He graduated in August of 1950 with a Bachelor of Science and then in June of 1951 with a Bachelor of Architecture. He worked with the Atlanta firms of Moskowitz Willner & Milkey Architects (during summers) and then with Finch & Barnes Architects after graduation.
As a World War II veteran, he had an abbreviated apprenticeship requirement and, therefore, in September 1951, he was able to obtain his license to practice architecture (Georgia architectural registration number 797). In June 1952, George formed his own Atlanta based architectural firm in affiliation with his father's practice in Athens, Georgia.
In 1954, George Heery and Wilmer Heery merged their separate but affiliated firms, thereby unifying the firm of Heery & Heery, Architects. With offices in Athens and Atlanta the firm grew quickly and soon added engineering disciplines. The firm pioneered many techniques to improve project performance in the areas of design quality, schedule, and cost control.
Heery & Heery, Architects & Engineers was incorporated in 1958. Wilmer served as the firm's Chairman/CEO until 1962. George became CEO in late 1962.
In the mid-1960s the firm opened an office in New York. In late 1960s and early 1970s, the firm experienced significant growth throughout the United States and eventually changed its corporate name to Heery International, Inc., with its subsidiaries being: Heery & Heery Architects, Heery Engineering, Heery Interiors, Heery Graphics, Heery Energy Consultants and Heery Associates (which would later become Heery Program Management).
Under George Heery's leadership as well as that of Vic Maloof, Ennis Parker and others, the firm grew to become the largest and one of the more innovative architectural firms in the southeastern United States. Throughout the 1960s the firm added additional engineering disciplines, including civil, structural, electrical, mechanical and plumbing. The firm emerged as a national industry leader in a several fields including construction program management, architecture, engineering, interior architecture, graphic design and energy consulting.
In the 1970s, the firm expanded internationally with projects in the United Kingdom, Greece, Jordan and Germany. The firm established a principal office in London in 1976.
Leading the firms international expansion, George Heery resided in the UK from 1978-1980 and, thereafter, continued to commute from the US to the UK on a regular basis through most of the early 1980s. During this time, Ennis Parker and Vic Maloof continued to be two of the firm's Atlanta based senior managers, with Ennis serving as President of Heery International, and Vic serving as President of its subsidiary, Heery Program Management. Brinton Smith also joined the firm during this period.
Throughout the 1970s, George Heery and his colleagues also began developing and refining a hybrid method for organizing the roles of architects, engineers and contractors, an approach for which his son, Shepherd, would later suggest the name Bridging (www.bridgingmethod.com).
During the early 1980s, George's four children became minority stockholders of Heery International. George's oldest son, architect, Shepherd Heery, served on the firm's Board of Directors. At the time Shep served as an outside Director of Heery International, he also was an executive with Gerald D. Hines Interests, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. George's daughter, Laura, was with the New York architectural firms of Pei Cobb & Freed and, later, with Philip Johnson and John Burgee.
In the mid 1980s, Heery International was approached by several firms with an interest in making a strategic acquisition. Eventually, the shareholders of Heery International reached an agreement with British Insulated Callender Cables (BICC), the parent company of general contractor Balfour Beatty.
In early 1986, BICC acquired full ownership of Heery International. Brinton Smith, Vic Maloof and George Heery were among the senior managers of the firm who continued with Heery International for several years following the acquisition.
Under the sale agreement George Heery agreed to stay on as CEO for two years. At the end of that time Balfour Beatty requested that he remain for another year, which he did. He was 60 years of age at the time, and his objectives were to work with his eldest son, Shepherd, and his daughter, Laura, in establishing multiple practices under the banners of Brookwood, Satulah and Wakefield (the name derivations of which are described below).
George, Shepherd and Laura had begun planning throughout most of 1988 for the start-up of the new companies. Laura had recently left the New York firm of John Burgee with Philip Johnson, and she focused on business planning and marketing efforts for the planned new companies. By early 1989, George had completed his three year commitment to continue as CEO of Heery International.
With the founding of the Wakefield Group of Companies in the spring of 1989, Shep resigned from Gerald D. Hines Interests where he had worked since 1982 in the Oakland and San Francisco offices of the Houston based investment/development firm.
Wilmer and Sara Heery lived to see the founding of The Wakefield Group of Companies. Wilmer Heery passed away in August 1989 and Sara passed away in 1990.
Brookwood Group Inc., Satulah Properties Inc. and American Constructions Investigations Inc., collectively known as The Wakefield Group of Companies, were established in 1989 by siblings Shepherd and Laura Heery together with their father, George Heery, who provided financial backing in the form of initial debt capital. George's younger children, Neal Heery and George Heery, Jr. also were minority shareholders and passive owners.
The initial objectives of The Wakefield Group of Companies were to:
- Assist U.S. corporations with their domestic design and construction program needs, responding to an emerging trend toward increased out-sourcing;
- Assist U.S. corporations with project development needs outside the United States (including locations such as Brazil, Mexico, Japan, China, Central Asia & Europe);
- Advance, promote and refine the use of the Bridging method of design and construction procurement for the benefit of clients (www.bridgingmethod.com);
- Acquire and/or develop real estate, taking into account opportunities afforded by the distressed property markets (from the S&L crisis) and offering unique new property types; and
- Provide forensic architectural and engineering services to assist clients in resolving post-construction challenges and problems.
From the outset in 1989, Shepherd Heery was the majority owner and CEO of Satulah Properties, which focused on development and project management services.
George Heery led the forensics practice of American Construction Investigations which was owned in equal shares by his four children.
Georges daughter, Laura Heery, had recently left the New York architectural practice of John Burgee and Philip Johnson. She was the majority owner and lead designer of the planning and design practice of Brookwood Group.
George Heery provided debt capitalization, and he was integrally involved in the comprehensive management and delivery of services by all three companies.
The initial offices of the Wakefield Group of Companies were located: (1) in two rooms of the basement of George & Betty Heerys residence at 48 Wakefield Drive in Atlanta; (2) at Laura Heerys loft apartment in New Yorks Greenwich Village; and (3) in Liz & Shep Heerys apartment on Jackson Street in the Presidio Heights district of San Francisco.
Brinton Smith and Mark Davenport left Heery International in mid-1989 and joined Brookwood during this period. Though based in Atlanta, one of Brint's first project assignments was in California.
Within a few months, the Atlanta office relocated to 1819 Peachtree Road and the San Francisco office moved to interim office space at One Ecker Square in downtown San Francisco.
In 1991, the San Francisco office relocated to new leased premises at 343 Sansome, and the New York office relocated to Rockefeller Center. Additional offices also were opened in Houston and Los Angeles during this period.
Brinton Smith, Mark Davenport, George Bryan and Jack McGinty were among the senior leaders of firm during this period.
In 1993, after four years of operations, American Construction Investigations, Satulah Properties and Brookwood Group (by then known as Brookwood Design Group) were merged into a single entity, and they became divisions of Satulah Properties Inc., which changed its name to Satulah Group Inc.
The merged firm was owned by: Shepherd Heery (Chairman/CEO); George Heery (Vice Chairman); Laura Heery (President); Neal Heery (Treasurer); and George Heery Jr. (Secretary).
The Wakefield name was then used by the firms principals in connection with private investment and development activities. These included the development of a 14-story luxury residential project in the Buckhead district of Atlanta known as The Wakefield (and other activities that continue to the present).
Brinton Smith, Linda Simon, David Gould, Jeff Luney, Robert Parker, Mike Gion, Luigi Sciabarrasi, Douglas Sharp, Ford Fish, Ken Klebanoff, Steven Jones, Jim Worrall and John Young were among the firm's leaders during this period.
By 1997, Satulah had 120 employees with eight offices (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego and San Francisco). Satulah's largest areas of business were in corporate property services, which attracted the attention of Trammell Crow, Koll, CB Richard Ellis, and LaSalle Partners. In late 1997, an agreement was reached with LaSalle Partners to sell the rights to the “ Satulah” name, together with several of Satulah's business units. Satulah's property development, program management and design consulting units were not part of the sale and, thus, remained with Brookwood.
As agreed with LaSalle Partners, Satulah Group changed its name to Brookwood Group. This change was effective as of the January 2, 1998 sale to LaSalle of Satulah's corporate real estate project management outsourcing business unit, its corporate facilities management unit, and its software unit (known as SWIMware).
As a condition of the sale, Shepherd Heery and many other colleagues joined LaSalle Partners. LaSalle Partners subsequently acquired Compass and Jones Lang Wootton, ultimately changing its name to Jones Lang LaSalle.
After two years in a marketing role with Jones Lang LaSalle, Shep returned to real estate development, joining the San Francisco office of Tishman Speyer (2000-2001) and then, San Francisco based, Myers Development Company (2002-2009).
Throughout this period, Shep continued as an outside Director serving on Brookwoods Board and also serving as an occasional consultant to Brookwood.
Brookwood Groups principal office was in Atlanta. Nevertheless, the company continued as a California corporation. The leadership team consisted of George Heery as Brookwood's Chief Executive Officer, Charles Raubacher as Chief Operating Officer, Laura Heery as President, Brinton Smith as Vice President, Linda Simon as Controller, and Shepherd Heery as an outside Director of the firm.
During this period, Brookwood Group shifted its focus toward the college and university markets. This was done to assure no conflicts or non-conformance issues in connection with the LaSalle transaction. This new direction also was seen as a market area with significant needs and growth potential.
On January 1, 2004, the Atlanta based Hardin Group of Companies acquired a significant interest in Brookwood and the practice continued in a newly formed Georgia limited liability company known as Brookwood Program Management LLC, with George Heery as one member and Hardin as the other member in a two member Limited Liability Company.
To facilitate this transaction, the original California Corporation that had started in 1989 (first as Satulah Properties Inc, then changing its name in 1993 to Satulah Group Inc, and then changing its name in 1998 to Brookwood Group Inc.) was placed in a dormant condition, but was it was not dissolved.
At the time of the sale of the interest in Brookwood to Hardin Construction Company, Laura Heery shifted her focus to her planning and design practice (Laura Heery, Planning & Design (aka Brookwood Design Group) and continued as a consultant to Brookwood Program Management, LLC. (Laura now lives with her husband, Andrew Prozes, in Greenwich, Connecticut, New York City and Atlanta. Laura continues as a consultant and advisor to Brookwood and, as such, she remains active with the firm.)
During this period, Brookwood Program Management further intensified its market focus in the realm of higher education, with particular concentration in student housing. This included the programming, financial structuring, design, development and construction phase management of major student housing projects in Georgia and California.
On September 27, 2007, Blount Program Management, LLC a Florida limited liability company established by Thomas A. Blount, purchased Hardin's interest in Brookwood with George Heery continuing as Chairman/CEO. Tom Blount is an architect and is the fourth generation of his family involved in construction. He was born in Montgomery, Alabama, attended Vanderbilt University and received his architectural degree from North Carolina State University. He was the architect for the Alabama Shakespeare Theatre in Montgomery. He is one of several sons of the late Winton M. Blount, founder of Blount International, Inc. Tom's office that manages his various interests is located in Birmingham, Alabama. He has several residences, the primary ones being in Miami and Los Angeles.
Following the acquisition of Hardins Interest, Brookwood Program Management LLC registered the name Brookwood Group.
In February 2009, Tom Blount and George Heery recruited fellow Brookwood Group Board member, Shepherd Heery, to become the firm's President. A principal office in San Francisco was re-opened.
In October 2009, Alan Katz (formerly Senior Vice President of Stockbridge Real Estate Funds) became a Brookwood principal, responsible for operations in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.
In late 2009, Ennis Parker (formerly of Heery International and several other firms) began consulting with Brookwood. In January 2010, Ennis became Brookwood's Vice Chairman. Also in 2010, Ken Klebanoff, a former Satulah Group executive, returned to Brookwood Group's Atlanta office.
Effective January 1, 2010, Shepherd Heery again became Brookwood Group's CEO, with George Heery continuing as Chairman. In February 2010, Shep re-acquired an ownership position in the company.
As part of Brookwood's resurgence in California, Mobius CRE, a San Diego commercial real estate services firm, merged with Brookwood Group in early 2010, and its principal, Mike Gion (previously with Satulah), became a principal of Brookwood Group, responsible for its operations in Southern California and the Southwest.
Throughout 2010 Alan Katz and Shepherd Heery began developing the concepts and principles of Collaborative Public Private Partnerships (CP3s). View the CP3 document in the Publications section of the website.
In early 2011, two other former Satulah executives, Jeff Luney and Jim Worrall, joined the San Francisco office of Brookwood Group.
In March 2011, Brookwood Group Inc., the California Corporation, was reactivated and confirmed to be in good standing with California's Secretary of State.
In June of 2011, the team of K|D|A Brookwood was formalized with Brookwood as prime and the following firms as the initial sub-consultants: KASA Partners, Daniel Management Services, Antaeus Properties, and Owen Adams Consulting.
In June of 2012, Alan Katz accepted the appointment by Brookwood's Board of Directors to become the President of the Company.
In December of 2012, Jim Mueller became a Brookwood shareholder and agreed to serve on its Board of Directors.
In July of 2013, George Heery became Chairman Emeritus.
In December of 2013, Brookwood Group acquired all the stock of its majority shareholder, Thomas A. Blount.
In January of 2014 several new investors became Brookwood Group stockholders, as further described in the News section of this website.
Brookwood now includes:
- Brookwood Group Inc. (a California corporation)
- Brookwood Program Management LLC (a Georgia Limited Liability Company)
- Brookwood Equities LLC (a Delaware Limited Liability Company)
With Brookwood now in its third decade as a company (and its seventh decade as the continuation of the practice founded by C. Wilmer Heery), the firm now works with many of its clients and partners on a confidential and strategic basis. The senior managers of the firm have a wealth of experience in the realms of property development, planning, design and construction procurement. The firm does not seek to be one of the largest players in its field but, rather, to be the best at what it does.
The firm serves as a strategic and trusted advisor to its clients and partners. To the extent appropriate (given the confidential nature of many client and partnership matters), Brookwood also seeks to build highly transparent, open and collaborative relationships that are based upon trust.
From 1959 through 1996, George & Betty Heery's residence was located on Wakefield Drive in the Brookwood Hills neighborhood of Atlanta. This is where Shepherd and Laura Heery grew up (along with their younger siblings, Neal and George Heery, Jr.). For decades, the Heery family maintained a vacation residence on Satulah Mountain in Highlands, North Carolina.