Movers and Shakers Week Ending 07.21.23

Jon Buerge Named President of Urban Villages

 Jon Buerge

Urban Villages, a leading real estate developer and environmental steward based in Denver with projects across the country, announced that Jon Buerge has been promoted to president. In his new role, Buerge is responsible for further realizing the company’s mission of ensuring every project has a positive impact on the planet, the surrounding neighborhood and community, and the company’s bottom line; guiding its strategic direction, and amplifying growth at Urban Villages. As a part of this next chapter, he is focused on cultivating dynamic designs for projects that strengthen local communities, while being economically and environmentally smart for investors. Further, Buerge is proud to continue Urban Villages’ journey in making their portfolio entirely carbon positive including bringing to life its existing, innovative developments and identifying new opportunities to expand the firm’s sustainable footprint.

Buerge’s appointment follows a 15-year tenure at Urban Villages and his success as its Chief Development Officer.  Under Buerge’s tutelage, and alongside the senior leadership team, Urban Villages has already set new precedents for environmental stewardship within the real estate industry, marked by the recent topping out of vertical construction at Populus, the first carbon-positive hotel in the U.S. opening in Denver in spring 2024, and the start of construction at Hotel Westland, a carbon positive, adaptive reuse hotel in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood in summer 2024. Hotel Westland is a part of RailSpur, a carbon-positive micro-district that is positioned to be one of the country’s most significant adaptive reuse developments, which consists of three main historic buildings and the activated alleyways that connect them.

“I am honored to step into the role of President at Urban Villages, leading a remarkable team of people who are passionate about making an impact. We have built an incredible portfolio of projects that set new precedents in sustainable real estate, and I am eager to continue this momentum and drive our curiosity in pursuit of finding the next, most effective green strategy,” commented Buerge. “The real estate industry’s impact on the environment is dire, and my team and I will continue to strive to ignite positive change for the planet and our people as the priority. By showing that sustainable projects can also be architecturally stunning and profitable – while positively impacting their communities – we are laying the groundwork for other developers around the world to replicate. I am excited to continue this people-first mission in my new role.”

Urban Villages’ Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Grant McCargo states, “Jon has been an integral part of our leadership team for over 15 years, and we are thrilled to appoint him as president. He has an insatiable thirst to learn, grow, and do things better – both for business and for our planet – and we are confident that he will continue to not only push Urban Villages to a greener future but inspire the larger real estate industry as well.”

As President, Buerge oversees the daily operations of the company, including the positioning of real estate assets and securing of strategic capital partners that are aligned with Urban Villages’ carbon-positive mission and vision for how to meet the needs of tenants and communities. Additionally, he leads a team of 30 employees and is focused on mobilizing their talent, enthusiasm, and expertise to further the company’s evolution.

A seasoned leader with two decades of real estate development experience, Buerge’s expertise spans across real estate, investment management, land regulations, development, and property management, among other key areas.

Urban Villages has developed and operated extraordinary projects across the United States that define environmental stewardship while delivering strong financial returns. Its intentional and holistic approach translates to nearly $5 billion in real estate developments and transactions, illustrating that its cutting-edge buildings are both good for the planet and good for business.  This impressive portfolio includes Denver’s iconic Larimer Square, which successfully combined specialty placemaking and innovative urban farming; Denver’s Sugar Block, which blended adaptive re-use of the Historic Sugar Building with architecturally dynamic urban infill; West Village at UC Davis, the largest planned Net-Zero energy community in the U.S.; RailSpur, a multi-project revitalization in Seattle featuring adaptive re-use of historic warehouses retrofitted for LEED Platinum certification; and Populus, the first carbon positive hotel in the country and a stunning architectural landmark in Denver. Urban Villages’ goal is to make not only every project it does, but the company itself, carbon positive moving forward.

Monfort Companies Hires Fritz Jünker as New Vice President of Community and Government Affairs

 Fritz Junker

Monfort Companies, a community-minded investment and development company based in Colorado, recently hired Fritz Jünker to serve as its new vice president of community and government affairs. Under his leadership, the company will broaden its efforts to initiate strong public/private partnerships with community, governmental and trade organizations, and to develop strategic initiatives and programming that positively impact the community.

“Monfort Companies is committed to proactively identifying opportunities for collaboration with the communities we serve,” said Kenneth Monfort, executive vice president of Monfort. “We’re making strategic investments in personnel, and with Fritz’s hire, we hope to amplify our impact and more meaningfully participate in addressing the challenges Denver is facing – all of which we see as solvable. His experience, passion and unique ability to unite business and community leaders under a common vision will be instrumental in furthering our efforts to support a safer, stronger, more vibrant Denver.”

Jünker’s diverse professional experience spans real estate development and construction, architectural and industrial design, municipal politics and nonprofits, music performance and promotion, venue and artist management, and television and film production. For over 16 years prior to joining Monfort Companies, Jünker owned and operated Fritz Jünker Design Group, a design/build firm in Portland, Oregon providing architectural and industrial design, consulting, and project management for residential and commercial real estate developers, owners, and investors.

“From our earliest conversations, Kenneth was very clear about Monfort Companies’ vision for a world-class entertainment district here in Denver,” said Fritz Jünker. “They’ve already made exciting strides in realizing that vision with their strategic redevelopment of the 1900 block of Market Street, pulling in Riot House and opening Whiskey Row, which has created immediate positive momentum in the neighborhood. Monfort Companies has also recognized the importance of bringing more people to the table and engaging with our policymakers in a more meaningful way, and I look forward to spearheading those efforts.”

Beginning in 2011, Jünker was active in local politics and neighborhood coalition-building in Downtown Portland, participating in front-line efforts to encourage common sense alternative solutions aimed at the city’s policies surrounding addiction, mental health, and homelessness. He served as an election campaign citizen advisor to Portland City Councilman Rene Gonzalez and on the election campaign strategy team for City Council candidate Felicia Williams. Jünker was also a board member for the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to preserving, enhancing and activating the Portland Open Space Sequence, a pocket of Portland’s urban spaces and pedestrian zones. Fritz also served as a representative and downtown advocate for the North Park Blocks Neighborhood Association.

Jünker currently serves on the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Adaptive Reuse Taskforce and as a board member and secretary of the Ballpark neighborhood’s newly reformed 501c3 RNO. Jünker graduated with honors from Iowa State University and studied a year abroad in Ibadan, Nigeria. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious Sundance Institute Producer’s Program.

Confluent Development Appoints Matt Derrick to Managing Director of Senior Living Division

 Matt Derrick

Confluent Development, a national full-service real estate investment and development firm, has promoted Confluent Senior Living Vice President Matt Derrick to managing director of the firm’s senior living development division. As Managing Director, Derrick will usher Confluent Senior Living into a new era of growth and spearhead Confluent Senior Living’s continued strategic expansion plans both in its projects and internal team growth.

“Matt Derrick’s well-deserved ascension to managing director is a direct reflection of his hard work, dedication, attention to detail and servant leadership. He has consistently demonstrated an unmatched commitment to excellence which drives results, and his rise to a formal leadership role within our Senior Living team is a testament to his exceptional contributions to our firm,” said Marshall Burton, CEO of Confluent Development.

Since joining Confluent in 2016 as a Senior Development Director, Derrick has led the development team in the completion of nearly $600 million in senior living development projects, divided across 14 projects. In addition, Derrick has led the team to a $400 million senior living and active adult pipeline that is currently in development. Throughout his career at Confluent, Derrick quickly ascended to serve on the leadership team, receiving three promotions to achieve the title of vice president in under six years.

In his new role as Managing Director of Confluent Senior Living, Derrick will be responsible for driving Confluent Senior Living’s business strategy and investment initiatives. His team will identify and pursue new markets and sites for future projects, as well as oversee project delivery and manage the day-to-day relationships with Confluent Senior Living’s partners to ensure existing and new communities achieve asset management objectives.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Confluent’s senior living division in the continued execution of our strategic plan, and I’m grateful for the firm’s commitment to cultivating opportunities that enable our team to make an impact on the communities we serve,” said Matt Derrick, managing director of Confluent Senior Living. “As we prepare for measured growth and expansion, we will continue to closely monitor the capital market indicators and build upon our traditional senior living development platform through new investment opportunities that include value add acquisitions and active adult development. I’m looking forward to embracing this new role and excited about what the future holds for our growing team and the senior living industry.”

Derrick has always been motivated by opportunities to further both his and his team’s personal and professional growth through career coaching and will continue to advocate for its implementation at Confluent.

In 2019, Derrick joined Vistage, the world’s largest coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize business leaders, to further his career and leadership capabilities. He has since been an active member of a Vistage group, which directly impacted his business and his leadership improvements have shown tangible improvements. Matt continues to apply the lessons he has learned through the peer advisory group and has shared these with other members of the Confluent team.

Derrick has also been elected to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) Future Leaders Council (FLC). The FLC was created to be an extension of, and resource to, the NIC Board to further its mission. The FLC is a highly competitive, preeminent senior living leadership program with many alumni moving onto the NIC board and leading the industry’s top organizations.

Additionally, Derrick is on the advisory board for the Vision Centre, an organization that bridges relationships between universities and providers, and builds robust, sustainable academic leadership programs that promote and support the field of aging services.

Derrick draws upon a diverse background in real estate, as he began his career nearly 20 years ago at Opus Northwest, focused on the development of multifamily and mixed-use development projects. Derrick has also held positions in commercial brokerage, asset management, land development, land entitlements and land acquisitions. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a master’s degree in real estate and construction management from the University of Denver. A Denver native, Derrick is active in the community and previously sat on the Associate Board of ACE Scholarships and was a Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado.

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