• December 21, 2014

Friendly competition: Commercial leasing companies work to keep business booming

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Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2014 4:30 am

When In-N-Out Burger announced its location on W.S. Young Drive earlier this year, 10 commercial operations learned they were being forced to relocate.

Jim Wright, owner and commercial broker for Jim Wright Company, offered to help the businesses find new sites.

“I walked around the center and talked to (the business owners),” Wright said.

Barry Hinshaw and John Reider, an agent and broker with John Reider

Properties, also called the businesses offering to help them relocate.

For competing commercial brokers, the effort to gain potential tenants is about more than money, it’s about keeping their landlords and businesses in operation and viable.

Wright landed two new tenants and Reider Properties earned one.

“There is not really that many major players in Killeen, when you look at the commercial market considering retail and office,” Wright said. “It is pretty competitive.”

Wright manages more than 2 million square feet of commercial properties, some of which he owns. He has been in business in the Fort Hood area for 40 years.

Reider Properties manages more than a 12 dozen commercial sites and has been operating in the area for 19 years.

“There is a competition obviously, but I think the market has been good enough that we share a portion of the market,” said David Barr, owner and broker for David Barr Properties.

Barr manages 200 commercial properties and been in business for 34 years.

The three are among several commercial brokers and leasing agents who work in the area.

Killeen and its surrounding cities experienced steady commercial growth that allowed the brokers to experience some friendly competition, Barr said. To be profitable, the groups have to work together, while building lasting relationships with their landlords, tenants and investors.

As the city continues to grow, so do those bonds and the competition.

Booming business

“The selling market has slowed up a bit since last year,” Barr said. “But it is still steady. We still have a lot of franchises that are looking into the area. We have seen a lot of growth in the Stan Schlueter and Clear Creek area and that continues to be healthy. Those projects out in that area are leasing rather quick.”

John Reider Properties leased more than 80 percent of The Domain, at 2408 Clear Creek, before the building was erected.

Jim Wright Company is building a retail and housing development next door with a number of tenants, including an Illuminate Gym, confirmed.

“We have seen on West Stan Schlueter that owners have built five (buildings) in one year, but they are starting to fill up and that is good, that shows you they are still having growth and the town as a whole is growing,” Barr said.

Wright, Barr and Reider are marketing properties along Clear Creek, Stan Schlueter Loop and Elms Road, several of which are under construction.

As the brokers work to develop and lease lots, some concerns start to come into play.

“It is always good to see the area grow,” Reider said. “But who can be the most flexible at the rent structure will be a standout.”

Property values and traffic counts will help drive those figures.

Franchises and chains factor in as well, Barr said.

Traditionally, it has been hard to locate franchises off U.S. Highway 190, but as the gaps with interstate frontage get tighter, new franchises are looking elsewhere, Hinshaw said.

Wal-Mart, which plans locations on Stan Schlueter in Killeen and Stillhouse Lake Road in Harker Heights, and possibly a second Killeen H-E-B will contribute to future growth of smaller rental properties off the U.S. 190 corridor. Those larger retailers will become destination sites for shoppers, and the surrounding sites will gain traffic and customers, Hinshaw said.

Sharing business

Although some of the bigger retailers and out-of-town developers manage their own out-parcel sites, Killeen area commercial brokers work alongside them to ensure good business.

Hinshaw helped locate at least two business in the Five Hills shopping center in Copperas Cove, he said.

“The bigger guys will come to us to try and locate tenants,” Reider said.

In the case of Five Hills, John Reider Properties knew there were two businesses looking to expand, Hinshaw said.

“If a business can thrive in another location, it will benefit our landlord more not to have that business come in and close up shop. The broker’s business is to look out for all parties.”

“We all work together and get along with each other and try to help our landlords, owners, developers and tenants, so we are able to keep employees,” Barr said. “We have and provide jobs like any other business.”

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