Strengthening our local economy

2013-05-12T00:00:00Z Strengthening our local economyMichelle Krueger Times Correspondent
May 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

There’s nothing like a recession to hammer home the importance of real estate in our local, state and national economies. A healthy real estate industry is vital to a prosperous US economy and represents a significant annual contribution to local and state economies.

Now, with the construction industry showing steady signs of improvement so is the overall economy.

FMI, the largest provider of management consulting and investment banking services to the engineering and construction industry, stated in its first quarter 2013 Construction Outlook last month that while residential building, with a 23% rise in single-family home starts, is currently the star of the show, commercial construction is the third largest nonresidential growth market behind education and manufacturing, continuing into its third year of improvement.

Just as it’s important to work with a professional local expert when buying or selling a home, successful commercial real estate development relies on local partnerships. Community-based teams committed to the long-term prosperity of our region offer the strong leadership necessary to envision and create innovative real estate projects. Recently, a group of local experts dedicated to seeing positive change that enhances our communities for an improved quality of life came together to form Ascend Real Estate Advisors.

Bringing a broad range of specialization plus a great passion and enthusiasm for commercial real estate, the founding partners of Ascend Real Estate Advisors, Vladimir Ganz, John Nekus, Jeff Brant and Jim Lyons along with broker associate Sorana Ganz, have established offices in Schererville and Chicago. The firm's brokerage services include tenant representation, commercial leasing, commercial property sales and lender advisory.

“Each of us brings a unique perspective to the table,” Vladimir Ganz, who specializes in owner/tenant representation on the retail side of things, said. “Combined, we bring a wealth of knowledge to our projects.”

“There’s a unique synergy here, a blending of all the key skills necessary for success,” John Nekus, a global business/technology consultant and former Chief Information Officer (CIO) for a Fortune 500 financial company, added. “However, despite our different backgrounds, we all have the same philosophy when it comes to great customer service. We have a great deal of knowledge and broad expertise in commercial real estate and corporate business development to deliver value to our clients.”

When it comes to matching a commercial investment decision with the right opportunity, there are often many obstacles to overcome. From project feasibility analysis to negotiating the contracts, making and executing commitments, construction, project management, business start-up and asset management there will be relationships along the way that require constant coordination, as well as creative solutions that need to be negotiated when problems arise. That's why an action-oriented team with proven analytical skills, customer focus, experience and inexhaustible energy is at the heart of every successful commercial project. The founding partners at Ascend Real Estate Advisors understand and are committed to these principles.

“This is honestly the last thing I expected to be doing at this stage of my career,” Jim Lyons, a longtime leader in the local banking industry who specializes in income property sales, said. “But I have to say after seeing so many deals where the brokers were literally trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, the fact that this group is all about listening to the customer and aligning their goals with the right opportunity really drew me in – we’re looking at certain pieces of real estate with a specific plan in mind.”

“We all know the area, and we know what it takes to deliver for our customers,” Jeff Brant, a second-generation family business owner specializing in land development and real estate transactions, explained. “We’ve been thinking outside the box, looking at opportunities to adapt and reuse properties, redevelop brownfield sites, to create jobs for the community and get those parcels back on the tax rolls. It all comes down to community development.”

The importance of development and construction spending on the strength of local economies has been demonstrated across the country over the last several years.

In a report that analyzes construction data over the last four years, the strong jobs connection during the recent recovery emphasizes the connection between construction and future growth opportunities.

“The value of commercial buildings is much more than the sum of their construction outlays or their assessed valuation. Commercial real estate development, construction and operations create a ripple effect in the economy,” the executive summary states.

“This contribution consists of annual direct spending for new development and construction and annual expenditures to operate existing buildings. Additional important economic benefits - the ripple effect - are also derived from the re-spending of the salary and wages supported by direct construction and operating outlays and purchases of construction-related materials and services from vendors.”

With commercial real estate and development on the rebound, the newly aligned team at Ascend Real Estate Advisors is looking forward to the future.

“We’ve all done different things together in the past, so this is a great opportunity for us to put our broad-based experience to work and deliver some great projects to the people of Northwest Indiana,” Vladimir Ganz added. “We already have a handful of projects in the works with another few on the horizon. We’re definitely excited to be here.”

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