How We Think

Drawn from the bullet-point list of representative projects below, here are short stories of seven that illustrate the broad range of services THG provides to its clients. (View Photo Credits)

Mammoth Mountain Resort


Location: Mammoth Lakes, California
Development: Master planned ski resort, village development, condominium and hospitality development
Team: Intrawest / Starwood Capital / Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
Of Note: Environmentally friendly resort development and operation including LEED developments and bio-diesel fuel for mountain equipment operation


Located on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, Mammoth Mountain is the third busiest ski resort in North America, with 1.6 million visitors annually. In the 1990's, Intrawest became involved in this popular year-round resort. Robert Holmes was integral in structuring Intrawest’s development agreement and acquisition. Through this partnership between the founding family of the resort and the world's largest destination resort company, Mammoth grew in popularity and profitability. In addition to arranging this partnership, Robert was a key team member in the development of the Mammoth Village plan and execution. Today, the village with its signature clock tower, central plaza, numerous shops, restaurants, activities and visitor services has become the heart of the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Robert continues to consult to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (MMSA), the operator of the mountain itself. Most recently, THG was asked by MMSA to help the Town Of Mammoth Lakes author a new vision for this destination in the aftermath of 2007’s financial downturn – an event that, along with the effects of global warming, affects this high-altitude community to this day.


City of Bothell


Location: Bothell, Washington
Development: Downtown redevelopment of a suburban city
Team: The Holmes Group / Concord Group / CollinsWoerman
Details: Redevelopment of 529-acres of downtown Bothell with $150 million of investment in infrastructure


THG was retained by the City of Bothell to put together a development strategy and market feasibility study for the suburban city's downtown, based on the community's Downtown Subarea Plan. Like many other communities, Bothell has experienced significant strip mall, plat housing and office park growth over the past 60 years. This growth, while positive for the City, has also disconnected the community from its original downtown. When the City approached THG they had a sound vision but wanted to ensure that the details of their plan was consistent with the wants and needs of the market. THG partnered with the Concord Group to develop a market study and phasing plan for the vision, which was then vetted, and approved by the City Council in the fall of 2009. Bothell then moved forward with the phasing plan that included:

  • Introducing the adaptive re-use of the Anderson School Building
  • Generating an RFP for the City Hall mixed-use project
  • The sale of two land parcels
  • During this period, THG acted as an advisor to the city specifically on the City Hall project.

To see the remarkable outcome of Bothell’s renaissance see:

Harbor Steps


Location: 1221 1st Avenue, Downtown Seattle, Washington
Development: Mixed-Use / High-Rise For-Rent Residential / Retail / Public Park / Office / Hotel
Team: Harbor Properties, Inc.
Details: 730 residential units, 31,000 SF of office, 51,600 SF of retail, 28-room boutique hotel, 640 spaces of below-grade parking; public park; completed November, 2000.
Of Note: ULI Award of Excellence for Large Scale Residential Projects, 2001


First Avenue in downtown Seattle should have been the city's best neighborhood with the famous Pike Place Market as its primary draw. However, prior to the construction of Harbor Steps, it was riddled with gun shops, strip clubs and retailers with security bars on their windows. The visionary development of Harbor Steps was a catalyst for change in the entire area. The Seattle Art Museum elected to develop across the street from the site, and faced their front door toward the development. The four-tower, mixed-use development is truly a village within a city and has its own small grocer, a child care center, restaurants, galleries, a yoga studio, fashion boutiques, a charming inn, and every amenity from a basketball court to a swimming pool, all of which can be utilized by its residents, commercial tenants and guests. But what is entirely unique about this development is the team's decision to build and continuously operate at their own expense, a public park down the center of the project, including three levels of fountains, areas for sitting and steps that reconnect downtown with the Seattle waterfront.

Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (SBRI)


Location: 307 Westlake Avenue North, South Lake Union Neighborhood of Seattle, Washington
Development: Life Science Research Laboratory / Office Building / Ground Floor Retail
Team: Partnership of Harbor Properties, Inc. / Vulcan Real Estate / SBRI
Details: 112,000 SF office, laboratory, retail space; completed in 2004.
Of Note: First LEED-certified (Silver level) laboratory core and shell building in North America


As the CEO of Harbor Properties, Robert Holmes led the team to help SBRI realize their goal to double its research capabilities and recruit world-class scientists. As a non-profit focused solely on curing the world's deadliest diseases (including malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and African Sleeping Sickness), SBRI required a building that would support wet-lab research, provide space for expansion, and allow for fiscally responsible operation. In addition, the organization wished to be an ownership partner in the building, allowing grant dollars to be spent on research, not on rent. The facility has also brought new street-level energy to the emerging neighborhood of South Lake Union. A percentage of the development budget was allocated to public art. A significant piece standing at the entry to the building utilizes the gene sequence of the disease Leschmania (African Sleeping Sickness) as a motif for a colorful glass installation. In addition to attracting new retailers, the team worked to assist SBRI in creating BioQuest at the foot of the building - a learning laboratory for area high school students that includes a gallery for the public to understand the organization's important research.

The Interlink Group


Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Development: Numerous residential, mixed-use and hotel projects in Puerto Rico including Bahia Beach, The Sheraton Hotel (Convention Center) and the historic Hotel El Convento
Team: The Holmes Group and Storysmithing


THG was commissioned by the Interlink Group to assist this Puerto Rico-based development firm to author a future story (a vision) for the company, along with an implementation strategy supported by a business plan to ensure that the firm would realize that vision. Working with the President and CEO, the son of the company’s founder, and the leaders of the company, THG delivered a document that met these objectives – “clearly distinguish Interlink by sharpening its competitive story, make the company’s activities more focused, have it become recognized as an innovator, get more out of its quality partnerships, and be more strategic especially in terms of new-business development.”

Positioned as a gateway to the Caribbean, a sister island of Cuba, and with strong cultural ties to the vibrant Hispanic culture of South Florida, Interlink is poised to benefit from the explosive growth that is occurring in the region – both as a developer and as a company with its own heavy construction expertise. In the conclusion to the future story, Federico Sanchez-Ortiz, the President and CEO of Interlink, summed it up this way:

“The two most frequently used words we hear our clients, associates and partners use to describe Interlink are ‘respected’ and ‘trusted’. Respected for our sense of design and our attention to detail, and trusted because we can be relied upon to do everything we commit to doing. They also know we are as focused on their success as we are on our own.”

The Bellevue Collection


Location: Bellevue, Washington
Development: The Bellevue Collection is a major retail and mixed-use center encompassing 50-acres in the heart of downtown Bellevue, WA and owned in its entirety by the Kemper Development Corporation (KDC). In addition to entertainment retail, the complex includes hotels, offices and luxury residences. The Collection has become a regional destination attracting 22 million visitors each year.


The collaboration between Kemper Freeman, Chairman and CEO of KDC, and Robert Holmes initially began with a shared belief in the concept of “placemaking” that Robert had helped pioneer in locations like British Columbia’s Whistler Resort and again at Harbor Steps in downtown Seattle. Kemper and Robert viewed The Collection as a “resort-like experience within a city.” It was possible to think this way because KDC retained ownership of the development as well as operating and programming The Collection.

THG also has also completed a number of advisory projects for The Collection, among them working with the internal leasing team on the search for the perfect “fresh-from-farm-to-table” grocery concept suited to the needs of this discerning urban neighborhood. That search has now been successfully concluded with the announcement that Whole Foods will launch a new concept at The Collection. Known as 365 by Whole Foods Market, it will occupy space in the former J.C. Penney location.

KDC and THG have also focused on creating a concept for a revolutionary state-of-the-art wellness and health center that would serve the entire Puget Sound area. As a regional destination in the heart of one of America’s foremost high-tech regions, the trendsetting Bellevue Collection would be the ideal location for it. That began an ongoing series of discussions with Canyon Ranch, the gold standard among destination resorts and spas and a company that understood THG’s and KDC’s concept of “integrative wellbeing.”

Sustainable Living Innovations (SLI)


Location: Seattle, Washington
Project: Growing populations and shrinking land resources are forcing a shift in the way we build. In response, Seattle-based CollinsWoerman has created an innovative mid-to-high-rise component-based building system to make housing construction cheaper, faster and more sustainable. Known as Sustainable Living Innovations, CollinsWoerman has now partnered with Intellectual Ventures, a Bellevue-based company with a worldwide presence (now in nine countries) that funds invention and makes it possible to quickly roll out exciting new products like this one. The partnership is known as Innovative Building Technologies (IBT).


Each year Robert organizes a ‘Gathering’. Attendees are connected in some way through work, partnering and organizations like ULI (the Urban Land Institute). All participants are successful, curious and engaging real estate people. During the early stages of 2007’s Great Recession, a ‘Gathering’ was held in Balboa Island, Newport Beach, CA at the home of Rusty Gregory, Owner, CEO and President of Starwood Capital’s Mammoth Lakes Ski Area in Mammoth Lakes, California. As guests mused about the vagaries of the real estate market, Arlan Collins (Co–Founder and Co-Owner of CollinsWoerman, the Seattle based design firm who had worked with Robert both at Intrawest and Harbor Properties), and Robert hatched the idea for building a new type of housing in a new way. Arlan called it a ‘game changer’. In a classic example of entrepreneurship, the idea continued to evolve on an airplane napkin on the return flight to Seattle.

What has happened since then is captured in these photographs and in the product’s marketing video (click here). It is a patented form of residential construction based on a kit of prefabricated parts provided to a developer and general contractor. Parking, utilities and foundations are constructed conventionally. Components (panels, doors, windows, internal systems, etcetera) are all prefabbed off site and trucked to the job for install and connection. The system has many benefits:

  1. Precision quality
  2. Use of energy-efficient and eco-friendly building materials
  3. Durability. Residences last 60 to 100 years – longer than conventional wood construction
  4. Faster construction time (especially important in locations with short building seasons, like mountain resorts)
  5. Lower maintenance and operating costs
  6. More predicable costing
  7. Reduced financing costs because of the abbreviated design/build construction cycle

What emerged from that “Gathering” is the only pre-fabricated system on the market that is scalable for mid and high-rise structures. And faster construction means more homes – better homes – are available to those around the planet who need them most. Innovative Building Technologies (IBT) is evidence of the strength of THG’s concept of “relationship architecture” – great ideas born out of informal meetings like Robert’s annual “Gathering”.

Downtown Seattle Projects


Location: Seattle, Washington
Project: As General Manager of Carma Developers, President and CEO of Intrawest USA, and President and CEO of Harbor Properties, Inc., Robert Holmes has been a developer and operator of urban and resort real estate projects, some of which are located in downtown Seattle, WA.


Representative Projects

THG has been a leader or key contributor in significant real estate transactions and developments throughout the United States and Canada. THG’s projects have spanned all areas of residential and commercial development including urban infill mixed-use projects, office, life-science research facilities, suburban mid-rise developments, resort master plans and hospitality development.

Representative projects include:

Urban Development

  • Coleman Building, Historic Commercial Office - Seattle, WA
  • Arctic Building, Historic Commercial Office - Seattle, WA
  • Alaska Building, Historic Commercial Office - Seattle, WA
  • 2505 Second Avenue, Commercial Office/Retail - Seattle, WA
  • Belltown Court, Residential, For Rent then Converted to Condominiums/Retail - Seattle, WA
  • Arbor Place, Mixed-Use: Office, Retail, For-Rent then Converted to Condominiums - Seattle, WA
  • Park Highlands, Low Income, Senior Housing and Market Rate For-Rent Residential - Bellevue, WA
  • Harbor Steps, Mixed-Use: For-Rent Residential, Commercial Office, Retail, Hospitality, Conference Center - Seattle, WA
  • SBRI Building, Lifescience Research - Seattle, WA
  • Alcyone, For-Rent Residential - Seattle, WA
  • Site 17, For-Rent Residential - Seattle, WA
  • Press, For-Rent Residential - Seattle, WA
  • Alley24, Mixed-Use: For-Rent Residential, Commercial Office, Retail - Seattle, WA
  • The Grove at Harbour Pointe, Townhomes, For-Sale, Residential - Mukilteo, WA
  • 12 Central Square, Garden For-Rent Residential - Bellevue, WA
  • Walnut Creek Center, Commercial Office - Walnut Creek, CA
  • Waterfront Park & Front Ave., Removal of US Route 99W and Park Creation - Portland, OR
  • Morrison Street East and West, Property Acquisition and Construction of Two Retail District Public Parking Garages with Ground Floor Retail - Portland, OR
  • RiverPlace, Property Acquisition, Esplanade and Marina Breakwater Construction, First Phase Developer Selection - Portland, OR
  • Portsmith, For-Sale Residential - Kirkland, WA
  • Laguna Sur, For-Sale Residential – Laguna Nigel, CA
  • Wilshire Thayer, For-Sale Residential – Westwood LA, CA
  • McKee Parkside, For-Sale Residential – Bellevue, WA
  • River Trail, For-Sale Residential – Redmond, WA
  • Pioneer Courthouse Square, Urban Park – Portland, OR
  • Suncrest Homes, Home building and Land Development – Bellevue, WA
  • The Point on Yarrow Bay, For-Sale Residential – Kirkland, WA
  • The Newmark, Mixed use: For-rent residential then Converted to Condominiums, retail – Seattle, WA
  • 1411 Building, Commercial Office – Seattle, WA
  • 98 Union and South Arcade, Residential and Retail, Pike Place Market – Seattle, WA
  • Holyoke Building, Historic Commercial Office Renovation – Seattle, WA
  • 500 Union Building, Commercial Office – Seattle, WA

Community & Resort Development

  • Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Due Diligence and Acquisition – Snowshoe, WV
  • Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Acquisition, Master Plan, Village Development - Mammoth Lakes, CA
  • Wilson Ranch, Freestone Inn and Early Winters Cabins and Heli-Ski Facility Development - Mazama, WA
  • Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Acquisition, Master Plan and Entitlements, Village Development - Sandpoint, ID
  • Stratton Mountain Resort, Acquisition, Master Plan and Entitlements, Village Development, Stratton, VT
  • Stevens Pass, Ownership, Master Plan and Granite Peaks Lodge - Skykomish, WA
  • Mission Ridge, Ownership, Master Plan, Wenatchee, WA
  • Mountain Creek Resort, Due Diligence and Acquisition– Vernon, NJ
  • Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, Acquisition and Master Plan – Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada