We are proud to welcome Ray Warner, Partner, Franklin Partners to our Board of Advisors. His industry insight and experience will be a valuable addition to the Graaskamp Center for Real Estate as we work to maintain our position as the global leaders in real estate education.
Describe your current position and what an average work day is like for you.
My role as one of the partners is to oversee all aspects of our developments and our operating company. I work with many brilliant individuals from our internal staff to outsourced groups such as architects, contractors, attorneys, and brokers. I wear a lot of hats and rely on a lot of people to assure initiatives are met. I oversee our assets from the day we identify the investment opportunity to the day we sell the asset. Because my role is extremely hands-on my average day varies a lot at times. Some days I am involved in identifying potential investment opportunities, working through the underwriting of the said asset, determining our overall strategic plan that we will then implement if the asset is acquired. Other days I am involved in the development plans either for our base building or tenant-related projects, working with architects and contractors to determine layouts, finishes, and supportive construction pricing. The consistent part of my morning ritual is reading through leases, either new tenant deals or renewals. In addition to our active new deals, we have a large volume of tenant renewals which both result in dedicated time for review. Out of all of my responsibilities I enjoy the development aspect more than anything. I enjoy the challenge of taking an overlooked asset in the marketplace and converting it into the next big thing.
In your view, what is the biggest opportunity in commercial real estate today?
Concerning opportunities today, I think the real estate markets and the cycles we live in always produce opportunity; good or bad, you just need to know how to adapt. Downturns certainly provide a greater amount of opportunity and typically reducing developer risk. Working through many downturns you always see new opportunities that are presented in the marketplace. This downturn will be no different, opportunities will be presented in the near future. We will see significant opportunities in the retail and office sectors. This time will be different in the sense that functional obsolescence will be a significant challenge in certain areas of the market. As for living in the world today and dealing with the challenges the pandemic has created for real estate professions, I think it is critical you always adapt to your current environment. Everyone has been challenged over the last year as a result of the pandemic. I think it is critical to work with your tenants to weather the storm but at the same time protect the value of your assets.
What advice would you give to young professionals starting a career in real estate?
My advice for young professionals beginning their careers in the commercial real estate sectors is no matter what your role is, you will have the opportunity to work in both distressed and recovering markets. Experience is critical to your development, and work hard.
What are you looking forward to as a new member of the Graaskamp Center Advisory Board?
As a new member of the Graaskamp Center Advisory Board, I am excited to participate. I am looking forward to bringing a unique voice to the advisory board as it helps guide your real estate professionals of tomorrow. As someone who has spent days knocking on tenant doors collecting rent, to now underwriting offers of over $100,000,000 to close in 30 days, while still working with architects on specific finishes and with attorneys on the minutia of the most trivial lease terms on a day-to-day basis, I believe have a unique holistic approach to almost every aspect of the industry in management, development, broader investment, and more. As someone who has had many meaningful mentors throughout my career, I am privileged to be able to return the favor to the next generation of real estate minds.