Commercial Investment Real Estate March/April 2013 - Page 27

The restaurant has to have a great reputation among locals to have staying power, but it also has to impress and market itself to travelers, hotels, and local tourism agencies. Hand says having a vision for the property and working his profes- sional network were the keys to the deal. “The best strategy was to use several marketing chan- nels to reach local as well as regional and national hotel owners who are already in the industry and know what the risks were. I had a vision, had already run the numbers, and put together a team of experts to answer all the questions a potential buyer would need to know before making an of er.” Tourist Town Turned Tech Hub Bend’s close proximity to Mount Bachelor makes it a per- fect place to spend long weekends hitting the slopes. But this fast-growing town is also a mecca for entrepreneur- ial small businesses. Recently pegged the “next big city for entrepreneurship” by Entrepreneur magazine, Bend of ers prime leasing and development opportunities with some of the country’s biggest high-tech f rms, including Facebook and Apple. It’s precisely this burgeoning growth and start-up energy that requires commercial real estate investment opportunities that appeal to a unique mix of tourists and business-minded locals, says Darren Powderly, CCIM, partner and president of Compass Commercial in Bend. T e Firehall Building, which was converted from the town’s historic f rehouse into mixed-use of ce, retail, and restaurant space nearly a decade ago, meets the town’s unique demands. Af er its conversion, the space was occu- pied for f ve years by a successful Italian restaurant, yet when that closed in 2009, the landlord struggled to f nd a viable operator. Due to market demographics, its unique architecture, and other factors, the 4,500-square-foot space “does not f t the typical format for big national restaurant chains,” says Powderly. Instead, as director of marketing for the listing, he sought regional and local restaurateurs who could create the right environment for the space. His ideal tenant turned out to be Brickhouse, an upscale independent steak house and wine bar. “T e restaurant has to have a great reputation among locals to have staying power, but it also has to impress and market itself to travelers, hotels, and local tourism agencies,” he notes. While the need to appeal to tourists is ever-present in Bend, a variety of geographic, economic, and cultural factors has put the town on the map among entrepre- neurial young professionals as well. With direct f ights from Portland and San Francisco/Silicon Valley, Calif., high-tech companies and small businesses are fuel- ing the local economy and driving commercial real estate opportunities. The region’s variety of business develop- ment and relocation tax and f nancing incentives complement the entre- preneurial environment, Powderly notes, citing Facebook’s $210 million investment in a 300,000-square-foot data center in the area. Low land costs and ample access to power sources are other factors luring high-tech companies, he adds. Commercial real estate opportunities continue to grow among the tech and start-up f rms that are eyeing the region. For example, last year Compass worked with T e Staubach Co. to recruit Consumer Cellular to central Oregon. Consumer Cellular, which is based in Portland, signed a long-term lease for a 77,500-sf call center facil- ity with plans to employ 500 people within three years. In the year ahead, Powderly plans to continue to use his CCIM network in an economic outreach initiative he’s spearheading through the non-prof t Economic Develop- ment for Central Oregon. His ef orts will concentrate on marketing the region to small tech and start-up companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Powderly knows f rst-hand how to reach this segment of the industry, having made his way to Bend — and into commercial real estate — via the Silicon Valley sof ware scene. Powderly says his CCIM training has been highly valuable in “providing world class investment real estate advisory service to clients.” With most of his Compass colleagues hailing from large markets around the coun- try, Powderly notes that he chose to pursue his career in a small market where he could enjoy a high quality of personal and business life with access to the many natu- ral attractions that draw visitors to the area. “CCIM helps me achieve this,” he says. Jennifer Norbut is senior editor of Commercial Investment Real Estate. March | April | 2013 25