Cocktail Confessions – Volume 1

December 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm 3 comments

By Tony Carlson, Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, LLC

The NAIOP Communications Committee is excited to launch the first edition of a bi-monthly series entitled Cocktail Confessions: Insights from Industry Vets.  Every other month a member of the NAIOP Communications Committee tracks down three industry veterans, feeds them some cocktails, and gleans answers to three specific questions.  Their answers are published exclusively on the Pulse and are meant to provide interesting commentary and insights for the NAIOP constituency.  

If you have questions you’d like asked for future segments, please leave them in the comments section, below.

Our first industry veterans to be interviewed were Doug Fulton, current president of NAIOP and Senior Director at Cushman & Wakefield, Whitney Peyton, Senior Managing Director of CB Richard Ellis, and Eva Stevens, Executive Vice President Asset Management at United Properties.  They were each asked the same three questions, and their responses should make for some interesting reflections.

Without further ado, welcome to the first edition of Cocktail Confessions.

Question 1:  What is the best or most interesting deal you’ve ever done?  What made it such a good deal?

Whit Peyton replied:
The most interesting deal guides thought to a real estate transaction.  Upon reflection, the involvement we had as a group in coordinating the MNCAR exchange is the most interesting deal for me.  The exchange has revolutionized the way the real estate professionals in the Twin Cities make a market for both the leasing and sale of commercial real estate.  It was adopted most quickly by the industrial folks, followed closely by the office folks, and subsequently, retail and land have gained great traction.  Today the exchange includes the greater Twin Cities area, St. Cloud, Rochester, and many assets out-state.  One thousand professionals, with 8,000 listings, are able to share information real time.  Our long-term goal is a state-wide exchange.

It improved the professionalism and quality of service that we deliver to our clients every day.  Clients now have better information sooner, and can make more informed decisions faster.  We are the envy of many markets in the United States for our collegial cooperation in making our market efficient.

Doug Fulton replied:
One of the things I like best about our business is the broad exposure and experience we get with so many types of companies and industries…every transaction is unique and interesting in its own way.  Several years ago, our team helped develop and execute a strategy on behalf of Oracle which involved subleasing over 100,000 sq. ft. of existing space to Target Corp and subsequently relocating our client to a new location in Minneapolis CBD with new space, building naming rights and more flexible lease terms.  That transaction, which was a win-win-win for all parties, resulted from good market insight, strong financial understanding and great communication skills – all traits that help create good outcomes in our business!

Eva Stevens replied:
Working in partnership with John Saunders (United Properties Vice President Acquisitions/Dispositions) on the acquisition of Ford Centre in 2007.  Located on N 5th Street the 267,000 sq. ft. multi-tenant office building is a historic building sitting at the confluence of public transportation and adjacent to the Twins ballpark.

The acquisition was fascinating due to the complexity of the potential re-development of the physical asset.  John and I addressed multiple matters that required resolution during the diligence period including unusual easements, potential relocation of multiple long term tenants due to eventual renovation, and the complexity of an historical renovation. The diligence was a challenge and I found myself fully engaged, reaching out to experts for advice and applying many of the things I have learned over the last 30 years.  I enjoyed the work immensely.
Question 2:  What has had the greatest impact on your success?   

Whit Peyton replied:
Setting long-term goals and focusing on them continuously.  One has to try not to be upset by the various bumps in the road one hits when trying to create change.

Doug Fulton replied:
Hard work, luck and a shrinking world.  I think this is a great time to be a real estate broker representing clients.  With the emergence of a global economy, many clients are looking for ways to work with a real estate partner that can guide a lease renewal in Edina, a building purchase in Atlanta and site selection in Bogota.  Combining a global platform with good communication and organizational skills has really been a key to being successful with our clients.  I also think that the relationship building emphasis I learned early on in my career from guys like Kim Culp and Clint Miller have been key in helping build a successful practice.

Eva Stevens replied:
Three things really:
1) Tenacity – I refuse to give up until I wrestle something to the ground.
2) Teaching continuing education classes – preparing to teach requires me to thoroughly understand concepts and to articulate them publicly.  This has helped me think and speak concisely about complicated matters.
3) Volunteering for any new project or problem that didn’t have a designated leader – this exposed me to all sorts of matters which broadened my base of knowledge in our business and allowed me to develop a comfort with problem solving. 

Question 3:  What books are you reading now?  Any particular reading you’d recommend to other NAIOP members?

Whit Peyton replied:
Currently reading two books by Dr. David Logan, Tribal Leadership and The Three Laws of Performance; I strongly recommend both.   For anyone in the service industry, I believe David Maister’s book, The Trusted Advisor, is a must read. On a lighter note, I keep returning to Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern, which is always good for a laugh.

Doug Fulton replied:
My bed stand usually has the most recent work from Vince Flynn, Carl Hiaasen and John Grisham as well as a Sudoku collection.  I know, pretty typical, but hey with three kids under the age of 9, I am doing good to be reading more than the back of Rice Krispie boxes.  I always try to mix in a monthly Golf Digest, Whitetail Hunting Magazine and the Memoir of the Month.  I just read George Bush’s Decision Point.  He had his faults but the 43rd President entered office with serious challenges facing our country (and that was before 9/11).  I admire him for his values and keeping our country safe under very difficult circumstances.

Eva Stevens replied:
Catalogs – I need to complete my holiday shopping!
 Strategic Management Concepts and Cases – a textbook from graduate school that I refer to periodically particularly during a changing market environment. 
Retrofitting Office Buildings to Be Green and Energy-Efficient by Urban Land Institute.

Entry filed under: Cocktail Confessions, Featured Articles.

Department of Revenue (DOR) announces a 2.6% increase in the State General Property Tax, a property tax paid to the state by business and cabin properties, only. Released to the General Media on Thursday, December 9


  • 1. Andy Hunt  |  December 15, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Really great idea to do this, and excellent questions. Clint, Doug and Eva are wonderful people to learn from. I look forward to reading more “Confessions” in the future!

  • 2. Rick Collins  |  December 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I think this is a great idea. I must admit that the list of books on my bedstand looks a lot more like those on Doug’s, instead of Whit’s and Eva’s!

  • 3. Noel LaBine  |  January 12, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I enjoyed this article and am looking forward to the next set on this series. It gave me some ideas about some other good reading material.

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