Industry Insights with Jon Hardy
We sat down with Jonathan Hardy, Senior Managing Director at Bradley Company, to get his perspective on the latest commercial real estate trends in Indianapolis.
You have been in real estate for over 20 years, how has today’s climate changed since you started?
Up until COVID, the greatest change has been the increase in availability of quality information in the market across the spectrum and the ease of access through multiple online avenues. If you go back to 1995, every company kept their own database at that time. My first job was maintaining the database, checking vacancy rates, updating asking rents and making lists of tenants in the buildings. We had the information and the information made us valuable to the market. Now when the market information is available to everyone at their fingertips, you must change your game. Now as brokers, we rely on service. A successful broker increases how they take care of their clients, which increases their coverage.
WHAT ARE YOU SEEING IN THE MARKET? ANY NOTABLE INSIGHTS?
Due to COVID, we are all viewing the landscape differently. For instance, conversion of office buildings into mixed use – multifamily taking advantage of dense amenities and usually A+ locations. Also, we are working with clients who are doing gradual return to work. Helping them understand new and pending legislation (State and Federal) and how those new regulations may impact their work environment. I think the work week may shift away from the classic 8-5, 5 day a week in-office model. We are seeing 3-4 day per week in office options.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE WHEN YOU SIT DOWN AND DISCUSS WITH THE CLIENT ON WHAT THEY NEED?
I ask them 29 questions, sometimes 30.
“I tell them, when I have answers to all 29 questions, I am truly your teammate.”
When we sit down and spend time with our client, it allows us to understand the evolving nature of their business, the associated business goals and have invaluable conversations. We meet with many clients, enjoy many conversations and find many ways (not just real estate) to add value to their business operations.
WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE DEAL YOU HAVE WORKED ON TO DATE?
One of the strangest, but most rewarding was a large transaction for a lending client. We conducted a large amount of Debt / Loan / Note adjudication during the Great Recession. We were helping them recover from a variety of bad or crumbling credits maturing into bad debt. Our client was the primary lender on a project on the west side of Indiana. The asset was on a university campus and had an extreme environmental release. Not knowing prior to beginning our process yet discovering during due diligence was paramount to our Client as they did not want to be in the chain of title on an environmentally contaminated site due to the potential liability
Utilizing our playbook, we spun up a Special Purpose Entity to eventually shield our client from millions in remediation. Then utilizing the Kiger case in the 1990’s as our guide, we investigated historic insurance on the property dating back to the 1950s. Based upon the Kiger ruling , we gained funds from several insurance companies to pay for remediation. Prior to plan execution, we took it a step further by selling the environmental liability to a 3rd party further shielding our client.
What are some of your keys to success?
When it comes to working with the client, I have a goal. To provide a level of service over and above their expectations leading to a successful partnership and project. Clients quickly understand we are an entity that truly teams with our client to the extent the client is comfortable.
“It means we do whatever it takes.”
The act of doing what it takes forces you to integrate at a higher level. For instance, adding a team member to their office or teaming with client vendors or other outside counsel. When teaming with the client at this level, it allows you deeper insight into your client’s business, which is most important when developing solutions.