How would you describe your specialty, background, and area of focus? 

“I have been with TRUE CRE for 6 years, specializing in landlord and tenant representation; building many enduring relationships with prominent landlords by leasing their properties.  Over my career I have secured tenant relationships with the following clients: Moe’s Southwest Grill, Aroma Joe’s, Wings Over, Blackstone Group, Sport Clips, Bubbakoo’s Burritos, MoJoes’s Gym, Shah’s Halal and many other local businesses.”

What is an interesting personal fact that no one would know?

“I love everything about baseball and I am having the time of my life coaching little league and traveling around the state with my son, as he learns to love and play the game.”

Where do you think the market is heading? What’s one key trend you think is imporant?

The market is definitely experiencing an uptick since the beginning of June 2021.  One key trend of real importance is that certain sectors, especially restaurants built for takeout and delivery, are starting to become very active.  Here, many restaurants with a drive thru or a quick takeout option, proved that they not only did well through the pandemic, but many actually had their best years.  I think this trend will continue and we will see more and more of these cleints looking to occupy smaller spaces built to handle this “in-transit”, quick-serve trend.

What do you think sets TRUE CRE apart from the rest?

TRUE is a boutique commercial real estate firm that knows the Connecticut and Westchester Markets in and out.  At TRUE CRE, no client is too big or too small.  Given our size and collaborative approach, our team services all our clients with the care and time they deserve, no matter what their needs may be.  Because of this, we have very strong relationships with all the prominent landlords in Connecticut, where our reputation is second to none.

How would you describe your specialty, background and area of focus?

“I have been working in retail real estate for about 15 years, with the last 10 years focused on the Connecticut and New York markets. After attending college at Northeastern University, I began working in commercial real estate in the Boston area for the first five years of my career and then returned to Connecticut, where I grew up. Traditionally, I have been focused on retail leasing, especially tenant representation, but have been engaged much more in Landlord representation and investment sales as well.”

What is one personal fact about you that people might not know?

“I went to the final Hartford Whalers game in the Hartford Civic Center, and I also collect rare sport cards, which has been a long-term passion of mine.”

Where you think the market is heading? What’s one key trend you think is imporant?

“The commercial real estate market is definitely on an upward trajectory, as a result of our economy re-opening and many retailers are now rethinking how to compete and expand their markets. In addition, since many of people are migrating out of New York City and into the tri-state suburbs, I expect that a sizable retail “expansion” will continue to benefit from this housing boom.”

What do you think sets TRUE CRE apart from the rest?

“We have a very “team-oriented culture” at TRUE, where we actively share information internally and truly work as a team, which I have found can sometimes be rare in our industry.  In the end, it may sound cliché, but we have fun at TRUE, while delivering high value to our clients.  It’s all about trust and transparency, really.”

It is often said that the keys to success in any business can be derived from a thoughtful review of the essential practices that have led to success in the past.  Simple right?

Today, as we begin to emerge from the grips of a global pandemic, there has never been a time when this has been more true.  To be sure, most businesses, and specifically key retail markets, have been dramatically altered – some forever.   Unfortunately, while many businesses have not survived, some have gone into an unknown period of hibernation, and still others have altered their business models to adapt to changing pandemic protocols.  An unsettling time for so many, but at the same time an opportunity to reflect on where commercial real estate markets might be headed, and importantly how CRE firms can adapt.  In this spirit, and looking ahead to economic “re-openings” around the nation, the following represents some bedrock ‘pillars for success’ in commercial real estate to help guide the way forward:

1.  Leverage Deep Market Knowledge: It takes years to build a deep knowledge of a trading area, and thus it is essential to leverage it as a strategic asset, which allows for the implementation of bespoke market optimization plans for clients, and also the ability to roll out new retail locations that maximize sales and profits.  In a nutshell, deep market knowledge enables commercial real estate firms to better partner with their clients in a consultative manner; creating value, building trust and planning an approach that is tailored to the exact needs each client.

2.  Your Network is Everything:  Another key asset that commercial real estate businesses need to focus on is maximizing their firm’s network of retailers and brokers to effectively and strategically lease and/or sell exclusive listing in a trading area.  Like a garden, your network needs to be tended regularly in order for it to bear fruit.  By peeling off 10% more time per week to connect, reconnect or build new aspects of you network, your firm can unlock a key growth driver that is often overlooked.

3.  Become an Essential Resource:  Being “essential” to your clients is all about creating value – plain and simple.  To become their “Go To” resource in any trading area, commercial real estate firms need to examine how they are creating value across all of their client interactions and communications.  Ask yourself: Are we providing insights that are relevant vs. your competitors?  Are we offering communications and technology that makes it easier for clients to engage with your firm?  Does your firm express a point of view and take a “consultative approach” to the business of your clients?  By answering these questions, any commercial real estate firm can begin their ‘value creation’ journey, and do so in a way that is rewards existing customers, welcomes new customers and attracts prospects, like never before.

Author: The Pillars of Commercial Real Estate Success in 2021Dominick Musilli, Managing Partner