Brown Commercial Group’s Dan Brown: There’s a positive sign for everyoneebizuniverse
Dan Brown, president of Brown Commercial Group, recently shared with Chicago Industrial Properties how he started (and has sustained) in the industrial real estate sector.
Chicago Industrial Properties: How did you get involved in the industrial real estate market?
Dan Brown: I have always been interested in real estate. When I was 17 years old I found an internship at a small commercial real estate company. I helped them build their data base and got to see firsthand how the industry works. I worked there every summer while I was going to Illinois State. I received my real estate license the day I turned 21
and the day after I graduated I began working. I guess you could say it’s been my passion from day one.
CIP: What kind of broker are you, and what sets your company apart from the rest?
Brown: We specialize in industrial, single story office and investment properties in the suburban market. What sets up apart is the way our company is structured. Everyone in our office is an employee, versus an independent contractor, and that gives everyone a vested interest in the company’s success. We are all about client service and building relationships for the long term. We have adapted a true team concept and continually work deals together.
CIP: What are some of the recent trends within the market?
Brown: Market activity and sales volume have been very strong during the past 12 to 18 months, particularly with the small to mid-sized users. There is a lot of pent up demand for leasing space and buying investment property. We’re seeing a lot of investors buying value-add property and looking toward making improvements and seeing their
investments grow as the market continues to improve.
CIP: What do you think about the current market?
Brown: It definitely is improving and companies are feeling confident and wanting to expand their businesses again. We’re seeing companies looking for longer term leases, which is a sign of their confidence and a good statement about where the market and economy are heading. The financing side also is improving, as it’s easier to get financing and close deals more quickly.
CIP: Please share some of your recent successes.
Brown: In the past year, we sold four buildings for a bankruptcy trustee, including a 103,000 SF industrial building in Schaumburg that was only on the market for two week. All the other deals were under contract within 30-days, a sign of strength in the market and our ability to find the right investors and deliver real value for the client. We’ve also helped several landlords with small to mid-sized multi-tenant buildings that required a significant repositioning. In some cases, we’ve brought multiple leases to a landlord within a short time span to help bring a building to 95 to 100 percent occupancy.
CIP: After more than 22 years of experience in the market, what’s the driving force that keeps you coming into work every day?
Brown: I enjoy the problem solving and negotiation that comes with a real estate transaction, large or small. This is a really dynamic real estate market, with plenty of opportunity for businesses and investors of all shapes and sizes. It’s rewarding to be part of putting all the pieces together and watching our clients and employees grow.
CIP: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Brown: I have four small kids—ages eight, seven, six, and four, so most of my free time is spent playing with them. I occasionally sneak in a little golf and I volunteer every week at Willow Creek Church.
CIP: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Brown: During the recession there were many companies that just couldn’t commit to deals because of uncertainty over the economy or their own future. Today, there is so much more confidence, deals are getting done, and the momentum is so much stronger. That’s a very positive sign for everyone.