Name a large office, retail or industrial building in the Piedmont-Triad, and Robin Team probably had something to do with getting it built.
Here are a few of them:
The Replacements Limited building along Interstate 85/40 in eastern Guilford County
The Kimel Park medical office complex in Winston-Salem
The Polo Ralph Lauren distribution center just south of Kernersville
The 400 Bellmeade office building overlooking Greensboro’s downtown baseball stadium
The Union Cross Industrial Center in Winston-Salem which will soon be the home of the North American headquarters of Ziehl-Abegg, a German manufacturer of ventilation systems, fans and motors that hopes to add as many as 600 jobs
Each of those projects has its own unique story.
But what Team and his “team” have done recently in Lexington could be the most innovative, not to mention “boldest” effort yet.
Team is the managing partner of Front Street Capital based in Winston-Salem.
“Front Street Capital is, very simply, a full-service real estate firm,” Team told me during a recent visit to Front Street’s modern headquarters in Bailey South, the southern portion of the old coal-powered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco power generating plant, another building Team has developed into a sprawling complex of offices, retail establishments and restaurants.
“We go from acquiring land and getting it ready for commercial development to acquiring some commercial development properties around the Southeast. And then, we build from the ground up, pretty much entirely in the Triad.”
Team grew up and still lives in Lexington. After graduating from Wake Forest University, he started work in the banking industry. He then worked in marketing with Burlington Industries’ furniture division before working with a company that bought apartments and converted them into condominiums.
In the late 1980s, he decided to form his own company and focus on commercial development. His first “breakthrough” project was what is now the Replacements Limited building which he expanded and sold to what would become the world’s largest retailer of china, crystal and silverware.
Fast forward to 2019, when Team decided to focus on a 200+ acre tract of land of Brown Street in his hometown of Lexington.
“You drive right down Brown Street to the furniture factory where I worked as a teenager,” he said. “So, I’ve known that property forever.”
Given its access to Interstate 85 and railroad tracks nearby, he knew it had potential. But he decided not to develop it alone.
“There has not been a large industrial development announcement in Lexington for decades,” he told me. “So there was much more risk involved than had we done a 200-acre park in Winston-Salem, High Point or Greensboro. We’ve developed in all those markets.”
To help reduce that risk, Front Street Capital partnered with the City of Lexington to form a limited liability company that would buy, make shovel-ready and turn the site into the Lexington Industrial Park.
“Your partner is the one that’s going to approve all the entitlements that you need,” Team said in describing Lexington’s role in developing the park. “So they (Lexington) had a vested interest just like we did in seeing the project a success.”
That success would reveal itself in March of 2023 when Siemens Mobility announced it would build a passenger rail car factory as well as a locomotive and passenger coach overhaul facility in the Lexington Industrial Park.
It’s a $220 million investment and one the company says will create 500 jobs. It could start operations in Lexington as early as 2024.
Team feels Lexington’s partnership with Front Street Capital gave the city the resources to compete with much larger municipalities for this project. (We know Spartanburg County, SC was in the running.)
“There were very few people who live in Lexington who have the organizational structure behind them to be able to develop a piece of property like this,” he said.
But for Team, this project is even more personal.
“My dad (Robert Team, MD) was a solo practice family physician in Lexington,” he told me. “And growing up I always watched what he could do for his community not just through his medical practice, but serving on the school board through integration and serving on the city council for 15 years. This was my chance to do something for my community that I was equipped to do.”
“So what’s important to me about this is I helped facilitate the largest economic development announcement ever in the history of Lexington.”
Yes, you can add another project to Robin Team’s already impressive list.
For more information on Front Street Capital, click here.
To read more about the Siemens project in Lexington, click here.