On August 6, CREW Atlanta will present “State of Atlanta CRE,” a Tenant Rep Roundtable moderated by Michael Bull, CEO of Bull Realty Inc. and host of the Commercial Real Estate Show. Leading up to the event, CREW Atlanta is asking panelists to share their thoughts on the state of Atlanta commercial real estate. In this post we hear from Lisa M. Rhudy, vice president, asset management for Pattillo Industrial Real Estate.
Q: What is the most disruptive trend you’ve seen in your geographic market and/or industry sector in the last 12 months?
A: No news flash, but the worsening traffic congestion in Atlanta and outlying areas is forcing companies to look at locations hard. Travel times and distances play a big part of transporting products and offering services. Accessibility to good transportation corridors, port traffic and rail lines all play a vital part of the industrial logistics markets. The new developments coming on-line with the relocation of the Braves stadium and the re-development of the former GM site in Doraville (a once predominantly industrial corridor) will continue to help push industrial developments further outside the city as these areas are repurposed for more retail, residential, and office related uses.
Q: Are tenants approaching deals differently today than in years past? If so, how?
A: Tenant expectations are tempered from the last several years. As the market availabilities continue to decline, tenants are learning and understanding that the concessions have declined and so has the amount of available TI. Tenants are also more willing to sign longer term leases as rates start to push upwards.
Q: How has the role of the tenant rep changed or evolved since you began your career?
A: It’s a cycle. I’m on the landlord side, not the tenant side so my view is a bit different. I see a good tenant rep to be one that truly works with their client to educate them on trends, market conditions, and has a true understanding of how a facility will meet the needs of the client. When representing the sophisticated client, a tenant rep works hard to secure the space at the most favorable terms warranted and then frequently allows the parties to finish the deal. However, in the case of entrepreneurial organizations or those that do not really understand real estate transactions, there is a lot of hand-holding and educating the clients on acceptable practices, terms, and rates. Breaking down proposals so that a client can truly understand the differences and compare them apples-to-apples is a tenant broker skill set that I’ve seen to be very effective – for all parties. Tenant reps that stay involved with their clients are those that I see stay in a deal past expiration and continue to build their own client base.
Q: What advice do you have for a young woman interested in pursing a career as a tenant rep?
A: Listen to your clients – really listen and then offer suggestions. Many times the clients have to make a real estate deal, but their focus is not on the deal. It’s understandably on running their business. Making the process as easy as you can for them builds trust and loyalty. This is an invaluable skill and I think young women can particularly excel in this area. You can’t lose sight that all clients need to feel important and valued – no matter their size. Starting out, learn what you can as you work smaller deals so that when the big deals come along, you are well prepared and educated on potential pitfalls and hurdles that you and your client may face.
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