Property Managers Fend Off Hagglers, See More Lookers

by George Waldon  on Monday, Jul. 27, 2009 12:00 am  

Dixie left the list last year amid the financial setbacks of its leader, Ben Israel. The company ranked as high as No. 7 in 2007 with more than 1.4 million SF of office, retail and warehouse space under management.  

Portfolio Property Management of Rogers enters the list at No. 22, with 378,102 SF. The firm essentially replaces The Shearin Hathaway Group of Rogers. PPM acquired the lion's share of SHG's management portfolio in November.

Let's Make a Deal
Lou Schickel, president of Little Rock's Development Co., said that with the downturn in the economy some tenants have attempted to haggle better lease terms.

"On the front end and on the front of the middle end," he said, "some of these companies hire firms to come in and try to renegotiate a deal. We don't even respond to them, and we haven't lost anyone yet."

Greg Mueller, director of operations for The Ashley Co. in North Little Rock, also has encountered more hired guns attempting to redo leases on behalf of clients.

"It really depends on where the lease is," Mueller said. "If there's a pretty good term left on the lease, you don't really have to deal with them.

"For the most part, everyone has been fair with us. There's always a few folks out there trying to take advantage of the situation."

Bruce Burrow, principal of MBC Holdings Inc. of Jonesboro, said the pace of lease haggling really stepped up last year with the meltdown in the financial markets.

Much of the rent concession-hunting is done at the behest of national retailers, he said.

Burrow recalls a brief conversation with a national broker looking to get lease payments cut in half for a client that is doing good business locally.

"We just need to go see the bankers and see if they will cut our payments in half," Burrow said. "If they do that, we have a deal."

"Well, they're not going to do that," the hired gun said.



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