Illinois Real Estate Journals
Deena Zimmerman gives advice to women entering the industry and explains the importance of taking risks and being fearless
Roughly eight years ago, Deena Zimmerman was working in the real estate industry with a focus in advertising. At that time, she attended the Forecast Conference for the first time and witnessed firsthand the buzz surrounding the event. Captivated and enthralled by what the experts had to say about the markets and the industry, she quickly realized the direction she wanted to go in her career. She was determined to stay in real estate. Just no longer in advertising–instead, she wanted to become a broker.
Now a Vice President with SVN, Zimmerman will serve as the Emcee of next week’s 14th Annual Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference at the Hyatt Regency.
She will be keeping the program going—from the introduction of the One—2—One conversation between Governor Bruce Rauner and Colliers’ David Kahnweiler– through the end of the event. With the buzz that typically permeates the event as CRE pros gather to network and gain valuable insights, that is no small task. But Deena and her commanding, outgoing personality should be ready for the challenge!
Just ahead of the January 20 event, we interviewed Deena to find out what advice she has for women entering the business, what her goals are for the new year, and even let us in on one of the scariest things she has ever done.
Illinois Real Estate Journal: What does your work consist of at SVN?
Zimmerman: Serving as a vice president in the SVN (We just recently rebranded to just the initials!) Chicago office, my focus is in tenant representation, specializing in finding high quality sites throughout Chicagoland and surrounding areas for national operators, franchisees, and first-time entrepreneurs. It’s an exciting mix of established firms and start-ups … retailers with an appetite for expansion and others with a concept they feel passionate enough about to launch a business!
IREJ: What were some of the firm’s 2015 highlights?
Zimmerman: The highlights for SVN include: SVN became the 8th largest brokerage company in America, we are the 6th most recognized brand of commercial real estate in the world (according to a Lipsey survey), we established offices in Canada, Russia and Mexico, and the company closed largest single commission in its history.
IREJ: What are your goals for the year?
Zimmerman: For the firm, the goals for 2016 inbclude continued international growth and organic growth within the platform. For me, it’s to continue to help build the retail practice here at the firm, and to improve on the services and results I was able to provide and achieve in 2015!
IREJ: What is it about CRE that keeps you motivated?
Zimmerman: I love being a part of the site selection process and seeing all of these amazing new retailers come into the market. And, with some regularity, I get to work with office space users.
IREJ: What advice do you have for women trying to break in to the industry?
Zimmerman: Find a mentor and a senior broker who is willing to take your hand and lead you through the process. NEVER be afraid to ask questions. I also highly recommend attending at least one networking event per week. You will not only make great connections to help advance your career, but you will hopefully gain some valuable insight into the latest topics and trends in commercial real estate. I start each day reading relevant articles on expanding retailers, economic trends, and other topics related to commercial and residential real estate in order to be timely and educated for my clients.
IREJ: What do you like to do on your time off from work?
Zimmerman: I enjoy hiking with my husband and two dogs. I frequently participate in 5 and 10k races to raise money for cancer and animal welfare charities, two causes that are important to me. And of course, without hesitation, ANY chance I can get to jump on a plane to travel I will take!
IREJ: What were your New Year’s resolutions for 2016?
Zimmerman: I am going to try to get out of my comfort zone and try one new fitness activity each month. Tops on the list are karate, ballet and boxing. I also am half way through with the pursuit of the CCIM designation. My goal is to wrap that up in 2016, too.
IREJ: Have you ever conquered a fear?
Zimmerman: I am terrified of dancing and I participated in a charity dance competition—a take-off on Dancing With the Stars—last year. My participation required me to train intensely for three months and to learn the American Tango. I think it’s important to say yes to things that I make you fearful in order to really stretch out the old comfort zones. This DEFINITELY qualified for that! But I am really glad I did it.
Cushman & Wakefield has been selected by Dermody Properties as exclusive leasing agent for LogistiCenterSM at McCook, a newly constructed industrial development at 8601 and 8701 W 47th Street in McCook.
The buildings, of 353,000 and 312,000 square feet, respectively, are divisible to 50,000 square feet and ready for immediate occupancy.
Dermody Properties developed the 34-acre infill parcel for lease or sale. Located adjacent to the I-55/1st Avenue interchange, these state-of-the-art buildings feature 32-foot clear ceilings, ESFR sprinklers, heavy power and abundant loading and parking capability.
The close-in metro industrial park setting holds 6B Real Estate Tax designation and also features Illinois Enterprise Zone status, offering sales tax savings and other incentives. In addition to the property’s highway vicinity, tenants will enjoy easy access to the region’s strong public transit system and Chicago Midway Airport.
Q&A with David Kahnweiler: Favorite TV shows, his go-to restaurants, and thoughts on the Chicago CRE market
In less than one week Chicago Industrial Properties and Illinois Real Estate Journal will host as many as 1,000 commercial real estate professionals at the 14th Annual Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference, January 20 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
The event will kick-off with what organizers have labeled a One—2—One conversation with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Interviewing the Governor will be David Kahnweiler, the chairman of Colliers Chicago.
In the midst of the planning for this segment—and leading one of the major brokerage firms in Chicago and helping clients serve their real estate needs—David took part in the following Q&A with CIP where he shared his favorite shows, restaurants in town, and what concerns him about the Chicago CRE market.
Q: Number of years in industry?
A: I have been in the industry for 36 years.
Q: University attended?
A: I graduated from the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor
Q: Degree earned?
A: My degree is in business
Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?
A: I would break down my proudest accomplishments into two different areas—personal and professional. On the personal side: my wife and I have four happy, healthy and grounded kids (twins that are 22—the others are 26 and 28) and I have married for 33 years. On the professional side, I have been with the same company my entire career (36 years); and the company has been continually growing with average tenure over 15 years.
Q: Regarding the 2016 Chicago CRE market, what are you optimistic about?
A: Among the things that give me the greatest optimism are the continued low interest rate environment, supply of educated Chicago workforce, continued emergence of local tech companies, continued recognition of national tech firms that they need to be in Chicago, controlled supply of industrial speculation, continued recognition by institutions that Chicago remains a “core” market.
Q: What are you concerned about?
A: I am concerned about the financial stability of City of Chicago and State of Illinois, the instability of CPS and the national concern of perceived dangers in Chicago.
Q: Hometown growing up?
A: I grew up in Highland Park
Q: Favorite bar or restaurant in Chicago?
A: There are too many to pick one favorite. Several that come to mind are Mastros, Tanta, Park View at Ravinia festival.
Q: Last movie you watched?
A: Big Short
Q: Last concert you attended?
A: Grateful Dead
Q: Favorite T.V. shows?
A: I like watching all sports… but of the non-sports shows, I loved House of Cards, Transparent, Homeland, Scandal
Q: How often are you on social media?
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: Lots of outdoor and physical activities including biking, spinning, yoga, golf, skiing and hiking. On the less physical side my hobbies include crossword puzzles and modern art.
Q: Any New Year’s resolutions?
A: In my family, we typically make resolutions for each other.
Q: One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: Perhaps one surprising thing would be that I am shy. Another is that I like home renovations.
Newport Capital Partners has purchased The Oaks of Oak Brook for $18.25 million on behalf of Newport Fund II.
The Oaks of Oak Brook is a 67,143-square-foot retail center located at the northwest corner of Kingery Highway (Illinois Route 83) and 16th Street in Oak Park, Illinois. Tenants in the center include Panera Bread, Althetico, Wells Fargo and Sleepy’s.
Joe Girardi and Ben Wineman of Mid-America Real Estate Corporation were the exclusive brokers in the transaction on behalf of the seller, a joint-venture between Tarrytown, N.Y.-based DLC Management and Hartford, Conn.-based Hutensky Capital Partners.
Brinshore Development has selected McShane Construction Company for the completion of Park Place, an affordable housing residence.
The multi-phase construction assignment kicked off in early November with completion slated for Second Quarter 2017.
Park Place will be constructed on a 4.6-acre site at the intersection of 50th Street and Lawndale Avenue within the West Elsdon, Back of the Yards neighborhood.
It will will consist of 14 three-story multifamily buildings offering a total of 78 rental apartment units with 15 one-, 42 two- and 21 three-bedroom floorplans.
The property’s fully-featured community building will be transformed from an existing facility located on the site requiring an extensive renovation by McShane Construction.
Once completed, residents will have access to an outfitted community room, computer lab, fitness center and on-site management. Outdoor amenities include a landscaped park, community garden and a tot lot. As part of the assignment, all sitework for the project including paved roads, alleys, sidewalks and landscaping will be completed by McShane.
The exterior will utilize masonry and fiber cement together with decorative cast stone custom panels at the entryways and elegant window lines. Additionally, it was designed to achieve ENERGY STAR certification utilizing numerous sustainable features such as a green roof, energy efficient appliances, high insulation windows, permeable pavement and rain gardens.
The development will utilize funding from a variety of sources, including the City of Chicago. Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, one of the country’s oldest community organizations, will provide social and programming services for residents of Park Place. Landon Bone Baker Architects is providing the architectural services for this affordable housing assignment.
Origin Capital Partners and Aspen Heights Partners to develop multifamily projects nationwide in new partnership
Origin Capital Partners, a Chicago-based real estate investment firm, and Aspen Heights Partners, an Austin-based developer, have formed a multi-year partnership to co-develop multifamily projects throughout the United States.
Origin is a real estate investment platform founded in 2007 that acquires office and multifamily properties for its principals and investment partners. Award-winning real estate development firm, Aspen Heights, is known nationally for its successful student-housing projects.
Origin Vice President Matt Ozee, who introduced the firms, said the two were a natural fit as their strategies are similar yet they offer complementary areas of expertise.
“We share a common bond in the way we look at where we’d like to invest money,” Ozee said. “Yet Aspen Heights brings us an element we don’t have, fully integrated development and day-to-day construction operations. Similarly, we bring them financial expertise, our asset management platform and capital.”
With offices in Chicago, Texas and North Carolina, Origin has more than a half-billion dollars in assets under management and is raising a third, $150 million fund in 2016. The company also deploys its acquisitions team into those regions.
Since 2006, Aspen has secured more than $775 million in construction financing, placed approximately $520 million in permanent debt and raised almost $300 million in equity. The company currently has almost 300 employees and continues to raise the bar for innovation and excellence in student housing and multifamily housing management.
The Habitat Company was this year’s recipient of the Good Neighbor Award by The Cara Program, a Chicago-based charitable organization focused on helping individuals affected by homelessness and poverty through job training and coaching.
Since Habitat first partnered with The Cara Program in 2009, the company has employed 88 Cara students, and currently has a one-year retention rate of more than 76 percent. This is Habitat’s first time winning the Good Neighbor Award.
Matt Fiascone, president of The Habitat Company, accepted the award at a recent luncheon honoring employed Cara students and the corporate and community partners that have been instrumental in their success.
“We are so proud to be a part of the great work The Cara Program does for Chicago residents,” he said. “The partnership is truly a mutually beneficial relationship. Cara students are presented with a meaningful job opportunity and Habitat gains access to a pool of employees who have had best-in-class job training and demonstrated a commitment to working hard to achieve their goals. We see it as a win-win for both sides.”
With public housing units comprising more than one quarter of Habitat’s total units under management, the company has seen first-hand the challenges brought about by a lack of means and opportunity.
One Cara graduate who benefited from the program was Crystal Davis Owens, a current Habitat employee who was on hand at the ceremony. Owens was hired by Habitat in 2010 as an administrative assistant at the Lidia Pucinska Apartments, one of Habitat’s CHA-managed public housing communities. In just five years, she has risen through the ranks to her current role as property manager at a 357-unit CHA community on Chicago’s north side.
“I am so grateful to The Cara Program and Habitat for giving me the opportunity to grow, both personally and professionally, through training, hard work and dedication,” Owens said.
An affiliate of Hackman Capital Partners, LLC, a Los-Angeles-based real estate investment firm with ties to the Midwest, has purchased a 906,984-square-foot industrial real estate portfolio containing six buildings located throughout metro Chicago.
The buildings, five of which are multi-tenant buildings, are 89% occupied.
With the recent Chicago acquisition, Hackman Capital’s Midwest presence represents approximately seven-million square feet of the 25-million-square-foot portfolio owned by its various affiliates.
The company said it plans to make any necessary capital improvements to lease up the 11% vacancy across two of the six buildings. To help market the available space, Hackman Capital has retained Pete Roberson and Larry Johnson of CBRE and Kenneth Franzese of Lee & Associates. Colliers International has been retained as the property management group.
Michael Caprile, Ted Staszak and Stephanie Park of CBRE represented the seller in the acquisition.
Mid-America Real Estate Corporation’s Investment Sales team recently brokered the sale of a 149,526-square-foot Home Depot Center in Orland Park, Illinois, to Cole Real Estate Income Strategy, Inc. (Cole Income NAV) for $20 million.
Home Depot Center is located at the northwest corner of Harlem Avenue and 159th Street. The center is anchored by Home Depot and features tenants including Sleepy’s, Five Guys and Supercuts.
Cole Income NAV was represented by Phoenix-based VEREIT, Inc. Ben Wineman and Joe Girardi of Mid-America Real Estate Corporation were the exclusive brokers in the transaction on behalf of the seller, an Ohio-based publicly traded real estate investment trust.
Joel McFarlin has been named vice president of sales at Amata Holdings LLC.
He will lead Amata’s overall sales effort to assist businesses of all sizes with their office solutions. Currently, he is concentrating on the legal market with the aLawCenters platform. McFarlin has worked for Amata’s sales team since 2012.
Savills Studley represented Ryan Specialty Group (RSG) in the expansion of its global headquarters at Two Prudential Plaza, 180 North Stetson, now totaling 24,866 square feet.
Executive Vice President and Co-Head of the Savills Studley Chicago office Robert Sevim represented Ryan Specialty Group; Bill Truszkowski of the Telos Group represented the landlord.
The Dickman Company, Inc./CORFAC International recently closed the sale of a 7,000-square-foot industrial building at 9009 58th Place in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Bone Dry Products, Inc. purchased the building from Neal R. Rusecki and Nancy J. Rusecki.
Zach Noble and Cale Berg of The Dickman Company, Inc. represented the seller, and Mike Pitts, Jr. of Pitts Brothers & Associates, represented the buyer.
Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq selling hotel development site north of the Minneapolis Convention Center
Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq is offering for sale a skyway-accessible hotel development site immediately north of the Minneapolis Convention Center and in the heart of the thriving Minneapolis CBD.
The Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq team of Dan Wicker, Kai Thomsen, Paul Donovan, Ronn Thomas, Jeremy Striffler and David Stokes is representing the property owner in the potential sale of 228 S. 12th St., a half-block, 1.2-acre site currently home to an underutilized church building.
The hotel industry has rebounded strongly in downtown Minneapolis, with year-to-date occupancy at 75.1 percent through the end of November, according to STR Global research. Last year’s occupancy of 72 percent was an all-time record for the Minneapolis CBD, and Meet Minneapolis expects the total 2015 occupancy to easily surpass 73 percent.
Brian Bean of The Zacher Company/CORFAC International represented both the landlord, Hanning & Bean Enterprises, Inc., and the tenant, Morgan Olson, in the lease of 62,500 square feet of industrial warehouse space in Angola, Indiana.
The facility is located at 300 Growth Parkway in Angola.
A new multi-million-dollar project expected to begin construction this year and create new jobs is a strong example of an emerging trend in West Michigan: expanding manufacturing companies are building new facilities amid shrinking inventory of available space.
ETO Magnetic Corp., a German-based company and international manufacturer of electromagnetic components for vehicle and industrial applications, has outgrown its current two-building facility near Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Amid significant growth in North America, ETO was faced with a shrinking pool of existing manufacturing space. The company chose to consolidate and build a new 65,000-square-foot facility at 5925 Patterson Ave. SE. The future building will meet the company’s requirements and provide the necessary space to continue its growth.
“After undertaking a rigorous site selection process, ETO Magnetic made the strategic decision for its long-term continued growth in building a new structure that can help the company meet its growing global demand,” said Matt Abraham, an industrial specialist at Colliers International | West Michigan. “With available, existing manufacturing space dwindling in West Michigan, companies like ETO Magnetic are faced with a choice: take an existing space that may not meet all of their requirements or, build a new facility from the ground up that meets all of their needs while remaining situated in the fast-growing West Michigan economy.”
ETO Magnetic’s new facility is expected to be completed this October on 10 acres of land that it purchased in November of 2015. The facility on the corner of Patterson and 60th Street will be near transportation infrastructure, and will strengthen the area as an industrial manufacturing destination. ETO Magnetic’s current facility currently employs more than 130 people, and the company plans to hire at least 15 to 20 more people at the new site.
Abraham and Erin Nugent of Colliers International represented ETO Magnetic in the sale. The 10-acre site on 60th Street was purchased from Franklin Partners LLC, represented by Duke Suwyn of Colliers International.
Susan Branscome, senior vice president/managing director of NorthMarq Capital’s Cincinnati office, finalized the $3 million refinance of Ferguson Woods Apartments, a 156-unit multifamily property located at 2890 Four Towers Drive in Cincinnati.
The transaction was structured with a fully amortizing 20-year term. NorthMarq arranged financing for the borrower through its correspondent relationship with a life insurance company.
“This refinance of bank debt allowed the borrower to eliminate his recourse, recapture equity placed in the property through the renovation,” said Branscome. “The 20-year fixed rate was very competitive allowing future cash flow to increase over many years to the owner.”
Cushman & Wakefield earlier this week released more positive commercial real estate news for the Midwest, reporting that office activity in the Columbus, Ohio, market saw its lowest vacancy rates and highest absorption and rental rates since the end of the recession.
The area’s office construction activity is especially impressive, with Robin Mitchell, research analyst in Cushman & Wakefield’s Columbus office, saying that the market saw 1.1 million square feet of office construction projects in 2015.
That’s the highest this figure has been since 2008, Mitchell said.
The Columbus-area office market ended the year with a vacancy rate of 12.99 percent, again the lowest since 2008. The market’s total absorption of 621,558 square feet doubled what the Columbus area saw in 2014.
Not all office submarkets were equally hot, of course. The Central Business District and the Northwest submarkets were the area’s best performers in office in 2015. They both benefitted from mixed-use projects that converted obsolete buildings into desirable modern office space, Cushman & Wakefield reported.
Asking rental rates jumped a bit from 2014, hitting $20.40. Cushman & Wakefield pointed to the new buildings coming onto the market with higher rental rates.
Construction on the new development for Molto Properties within the Randall Crossings Business Park in Elgin, Illinois, has been completed by Ryan Companies US, Inc.
The 246,457-square-foot spec industrial building located at 2770 Alft Court, sits on a 13.51-acre site, is a double-loaded, single- or multi-tenant facility with 50-foot-by-50-foot typical bay sizes, a 60-foot speed bay, 32-foot clear ceiling height, and office space to suit. Included in the building are 40 existing truck docks (and the potential for 32 additional), four drive-in doors and parking for 188 vehicles.
Ken Franzese and John Cassidy, principals with Lee & Associates, are marketing this building, 2770 Alft Court, on behalf of Molto Properties and the business park on behalf of Ryan Companies. With the completion of this building, the park includes more than one million square feet of space. Additionally, there is one parcel totaling 5.7 acres that remains for development.
Randall Crossings Business Park is a master-planned business park which provides flexible industrial uses from general industrial and manufacturing to distribution and office space in a commerce park environment. Ryan has owned the 70-acre park since 2005 and completed a turn-key presale speculative construction transaction with Molto in December 2015.
Bridge Development Partners, LLC has promoted Steve Groetsema, director of leasing and development, to the role of firm principal.
Groetsema joined Bridge Development Partners in 2007 as an analyst and became director of development and leasing in 2010.
He is Bridge’s Chicago partner and is responsible for all the Chicago region’s activities which include-acquisitions, development, leasing etc. He is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in Economics.
There is a certain buzz that hits the commercial real estate industry and Real Estate Publishing group about this time of year. That buzz, which starts when everyone returns after the holidays, typically is generated by the Annual Commercial Real Estate Forecast Conference (this year on Wednesday, January 20 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago). Quite often the buzz is centered on the keynote speaker.
Four years ago, when the One—2—One Conversation was first launched as a means for kicking off the conference, it was Sam Zell being interviewed Debra Cafaro. Everyone wanted to hear what Zell had to say as the recovery was just getting going. Standing. Room. Only.
Zell and Cafaro were followed by Chris Kennedy, always an engaging speaker, and the quite but powerful Deputy Mayor Koch in 2013 and 2014, respectfully. Last year, Howard Tullman helped the hype behind the Teching of Chicago!
This year’s speaker is generating a whole new level of buzz. It’s Governor Bruce Rauner being interviewed by real estate industry veteran and Colliers’ Chairman, David Kahnweiler. It’s a look at the first year, the agenda for the next three and the State’s Chief Executive Officer talking about what’s going well and how the State can generate momentum. What a great time for an interview with Governor Rauner.
With the real estate markets generally viewed as healthy and still having runway left, there is more than enough buzz left to trickle down from the One—2—One Conversation to the other two general session offices, a State of the Market Panel and a discussion focused on The Great Urban Migration.
Yes, with about one week until “Showtime”, it’s all about the buzz and the bold names—this year’s class of speakers who will bring the insights and perspectives to the dais for the general sessions and a series of breakouts covering most of the major product specialty areas.
And now for the bold names, because everyone in real estate likes to see their names in bold print, associated with the announcement of a completed transaction, a promotion or a speaking engagement that underscores their expertise.
Deena Zimmerman, SVN; Danny Nikitas, Avison Young; Dave Burden, Colliers; Andy Hochberg, Next Realty; Tony Pricco, Bridge Development; John Przybyla, Marcus & Millichap; Collete English-Dixon, Prudential Real Estate Investors; Paul Heinen, Vornado Realty Trust; Drew Nieman, CBRE; Dave Trumpy, GlenStar; Bob Chodos, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank; Michael Drew, Structured Development; George Ratiu, National Association of REALTORS; Matt Carolan, JLL; Jim Hochman, Arnstein & Lehr; Robert Palffy, Steinco Inc.; Bob Six, Zeller Realty Group; Roger Heerema, Wright Heerema Architects; Robert Sevim, Savills Studley; Eric Myers, Avison Young; Adam Roth, NAI Hiffman; Matt Goode, Venture One Real Estate; Neal Driscoll, Liberty Property Trust; Ryan O’Leary, DUKE Realty; Brian Quigley, Conor Commercial Real Estate; Karl Heitman, Heitman Architects; Joe Parrott, CBRE; Gregory Kirsch, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank; Anthony Campagni, RKF; Daniel Rosenberg, Cohen Financial; Charley Margosian, III, Highland Management; Paul Tsakiris, First Western; Don Shapiro, Foresite Realty; Marc Boorstein, MJ Partners Real Estate Services; Matt Robertson, MB Financial; Steven Weinstock, Marcus & Millichap; Laura Auwerda, PNC Bank; Alissa Adler, Podolsky|Circle; Joe Smazal, Interra Realty; Stephen Rachman, Marcus & Millichap; Michael Daniels, Cagan Management Group; Patrick Tuohy, Marquette Bank; Joffre Colbert, @properties; and Tim Anderson, Focus Development.
That’s quite the list of bold names! And the names of sponsors of the 14th Annual event is even more impressive.
The largest, longest-running commercial real estate of its kind in Chicago and the Midwest, and perhaps anywhere else in the US, is just one week away. Hear the buzz. See the names in bold. Register for the event today ($109) by going to www.rejournals.com/conferences.
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