David Furman, a longtime architect and developer behind some of uptown’s most prominent projects, is set to be honored Thursday night with Center City Charlotte’s Vision Award.
Furman has developed projects such as the Trademark condominiums, a 28-story tower at Trade and Poplar streets, and the 17-story Courtside condominiums at Sixth and Caldwell streets.
“As an architect first and a developer second, he has brought beauty and sophistication to all his projects and across our urban neighborhoods,” said Michael Smith, CEO of Center City Partners, in a statement. “David walks the walk of an urban pioneer.”
Furman, who is the founder of Centro CityWorks, said he’s proud of the work he’s done developing projects uptown. I spent a few minutes talking with him on Wednesday:
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▪ On how he’s approached development as an architect: “I’m an architect, primarily,” said Furman. “Architects really don’t control the vision, developers do.”
When he started developing his own projects, “That was a unique thing to do,” Furman said.
“As a developer, you get to create that vision. You get to go past an empty site and say ‘What should happen there?’ ” said Furman. “I don’t come at development from the MBA school. I look at what should happen there, not what could make the most money on that corner.”
Of course, he added: “You try not to lose money along the way.”
▪ On what he’s proud of looking back: Furman said he’s most proud of all the work he did in First Ward, where his projects helped revitalize the area and build it into a residential zone. “The most work we did or have done during my career has been in First Ward,” Furman said. “I’m very proud of that neighborhood.”
▪ On whether he’ll jump into the current apartment development boom: “There are a whole lot of apartments being built out there today. I don’t need to be out there developing apartments,” said Furman.
▪ On what he’s doing these days: Furman’s company has designed and “teed up” several projects recently, such as the five-story 1616 Camden office building in South End that Beacon Properties is construction. Furman also said he’s doing sculpture work in an uptown studio (he was squatting in an abandoned building, but moved to a real studio after being discovered), and working on the Rail Trail along the light rail line. He’s also working on initiatives to help the homeless, and designed projects such as Urban Ministry Center’s Moore Place.