Greenville has grown so much over the years. And it’s still growing. So why not get to know two professionals that have been helping develop our city over the past few years. For our next Q&A feature we dive into the world of Commercial Real Estate. Here’s what we learned and who we met! Let’s go meet Rakan Draz and John Odom of Avison Young.
360: How did you both get into commercial real estate?
Rakan: For me, Commercial Real Estate was a profession that I fell into. Prior to working for Avison Young in 2015, my background was in the Food and Beverage industry providing profit solutions for bars and restaurants in the Upstate. I was looking for a change in scenery and wanted to pursue a complimentary career where I could continue to add value to without having to sacrifice the knowledge and skills gained in F&B. The real estate market, having just come out of an economic recession on a national level, was very healthy at the time. Greenville was also in the early stages of a new growth and development cycle making it a prime target for investment. CRE provided a great opportunity for me to get plugged into that growth and make a positive impact in my hometown.
John: Real Estate has always interested me and I enjoyed learning about it. When the opportunity came around to start working with a local company called Colonial Commercial Group I jumped on it. We later merged with Avison Young and I fell in love with the AY culture and have been with them since.
360: Give us the elevator pitch. What exactly do you do?
Rakan: John and I make up the Retail Team for Avison Young providing intelligent real estate solutions to people in the Greenville marketplace. Although a young firm in Greenville, as a whole, AY is the fastest growing commercial real estate company with over 82 offices around the world. We are part of a culture that utilizes a client-centric approach with an “open source code” philosophy of collaboration so that your best interests are met first. We take pride in building strong relationships with our clients, relationships that go beyond just a single transaction.
John: Our expertise in the retail sector allows us to provide a wide range of services to our clients that ensure a streamlined performance from start to finish. These services include: Tenant & Landlord Representation, Buyer & Seller Representation, Consulting and Advisory, Investment Sales, Broker Opinion of Value (BOV) and Project Management.
360: Tell us about a few deals that you’re particularly proud of. Past. Present. Future.
John: It’s tough to pick favorites, but there are plenty of deals that I am particularly proud to have worked on over the years. Most recently 101 S Hudson St. and 10 Aberdeen Dr. Those were two really cool and unique buildings that both had a great story to tell. We had a lot of fun working on these listings. Another deal that was very rewarding was helping Bacon Bros. expand their kitchen footprint on Pelham Road. Seeing the look on Chef Grays’ face when he showed me his new butcher’s cooler was priceless.
Rakan: Outside of a particular property, Greenville’s emerging arts district, The Village of West Greenville, is and continues to be an area that I have a vested interest in and am very proud to work in. My wife, Kate Furman, just so happens to own a jewelry and art studio here and I have represented and worked with many notable tenants who now call the Village their home. From Neo Burrito, to Kuka Juice, to 9/8 Central and the Bakeroom. All of these people, along with many other like-minded creatives, business owners, and artists took huge risks in becoming a part of the foundation that this thriving community is built on.
360: Tell us about a few services you offer that people typical don’t know about.
Rakan: A majority of people that I interact with typically are unfamiliar with Tenant & Buyer Representation. First off, it’s a free service… when a property is listed the commission is a part of fee the landlord/seller plans on paying the listing broker and the Tenant/Buyer’s broker. Tenant/Buyer rep agents act as cooperating brokers in a transaction and collect their commissions from the landlord or seller. Secondly, being represented is a way to protect yourself/get expert opinions on transaction details and potential pitfalls. All brokers have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients and will look out for their best interests first and foremost. Lastly, you get to enjoy your life while we go to work for you. We are experts in our field, let us handle it so you don’t have to. It’s your choice to have representation or not, but I highly recommend that you give it a shot.
John: Broker Opinion Of Value or “BOV” is also a service we provide. We constantly keep a close eye on our market and we provide a BOV that includes recent sale comps, detailed property information, and recommendations on what a property would sell for. Additionally, we provide advice on how to maximize the property’s value for a small fee. This is not an appraisal, but it will help an owner understand the property’s value as it relates to the current market.
360: What’s the best part of your job?
Rakan: The great thing about this industry is that it is always engaging and never boring. It’s unique in that no two deals are structured the same. This creates a fun and interesting dynamic since every property and client you work with is vastly different from one another. CRE (Commercial Real Estate) is constantly evolving based on economic trends at the macro level. Because of this, there is always something new to learn and adapt to. This job is also very flexible. This flexibility allows us to have our finger on the pulse at all times without having to sacrifice being behind a desk all day.
John: I think Rakan said it pretty well. There is always something to do on a daily basis. Commercial Real Estate is pretty unique in that everybody uses it in some way on a day to day basis as well. If you work in an office, go to a gas station, or a retail shop you are using commercial real estate.
360: What do you guys love most about Greenville?
Rakan: There is so much this town has to offer and the activity we are seeing lately is unheard of. Downtown is buzzing with energy and is repeatedly in the national spotlight as a top 10 destination to visit. We have a great food scene with many award winning restaurants to enjoy. Our economy is very strong and continues to attract new businesses to the area. We have some of the best parks and recreational activities in the state. It’s amazing to see how far Greenville has come over the years.
John: I grew up here and have seen the changes and growth of Greenville. I also love how close Greenville is to the mountains and the beach. The food scene is growing and there are always events downtown to look forward to.
360: Last question. What’s next? Any new developments you can share with us?
Rakan: We don’t want to spoil any surprises just yet, but we have some very cool projects in the works that I think everyone will be really excited to hear about. Announcements will be made real soon, so until then our lips are sealed!
John: We are working with some exciting new market concepts and new developments for 2018. We can’t wait for everyone to enjoy them!
360: Thanks guys! Appreciate your time and look forward to hearing about new developments soon!
For more info on Avison Young and how you can work with Rakan and John, please contact them directly below.