DLC’s Leasing Associate, Joshua Dreyer, set his eyes on pursuing a career in commercial real estate since his undergraduate years at Baruch College. From an aspiring college student to becoming a real deal maker, Josh shares what he has learned during his journey.
Q: As an undergrad, you studied finance. What captivated you to pursue a career in leasing?
JD: In my sophomore year, I realized that I didn’t want to be in a role that spends the entire day behind the computer. In the end, I naturally gravitated towards leasing given how it entails cultivating relationships with people, exploring different areas and solving problems through face-to-face interactions. All of these which I really enjoy.
Q: How did you learn about DLC Management and become a Leasing Associate?
JD: Throughout school, I continued to learn about the commercial real estate industry and make connections. In my senior year, I signed up for the ICSC student membership and attended the New York Deal Making Show. At one of the educational programs that were offered at the show, Chris Ressa, EVP and COO at DLC Management (DLC), was giving a presentation on co-tenancy. I found Chris’s presentation very informative, and the company name stuck with me.
Since then, I regularly checked out DLC’s latest job openings and I applied for the summer internship program in the following year. After rounds of interviews, I secured the internship opportunity and I was so excited to join DLC as a Leasing Associate once I completed the internship.
Q: That’s a great story! Can you explain what your day to day is like?
JD: No day is the same and that’s what I love about my job. I’m currently working with two colleagues on two shopping centers: Union Consumer Square in Cheektowaga, NY and Randhurst Village in Mt. Prospect, IL.
A huge part of my day is spent on prospecting new tenants. This involves cold calling, following up with the tenants I’ve previously visited, doing market research, meeting with brokers and showing properties. These are all steps necessary in making a deal.
Every single lease or tenant is unique, so things don’t just plug and play. Every day, I sit down with my teammates to openly talk about different types of leases and issues I’m facing and exchange “how to” tactics and solutions.
Q: It must have felt amazing when you made your first deal. Can you tell more about that process and the deal itself?
JD: Without a doubt, it felt GREAT. And it gave me the assurance that hard work gets paid off.
On my canvassing trip to Buffalo, I visited a neighboring shopping center in Lancaster which is 10-15 minutes away from Union Consumer Square. There I spotted at a paint and sip retailer named Painting with a Twist and walked into the studio, later to find out that Mary and Lisa who are the business owners had a second location. But I instantly knew that their Lancaster location would perform much better at Union Consumer Square considering its better visibility and higher foot traffic. Most importantly, shoppers at Union Consumer Square definitely fit the demographic for this type of retailer.
It was important for Mary and Lisa to see the benefits of relocating to Union Consumer Square. Seeing constant, strong foot traffic to pre-existing tenants such as LA Fitness, Sam’s Club and Marshalls, they decided that this would be a great opportunity for them.
But they requested one mandatory request – a turnkey installation. To satisfy this condition, I worked closely with construction, property management, and the legal department to formulate a lease that best satisfied their business needs. It took a few months to finalize the deal, but it was well worth it.
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Q: If you compare yourself today to the first day where you started working in leasing, what has changed the most?
JD: The way I engage with people. In the beginning, I was nervous to talk to prospective tenants because of, for lack of a better word, inexperience. I wasn’t just selling an item that can be exchanged or refunded, but an opportunity for entrepreneurs to realize their dreams. It’s a big deal!
But now, I do feel that I’ve grown to become more confident and knowledgeable. This, in turn, allows me to better understand tenants’ wants, needs, goals and work with them in a more personal way.
Q: Anything new or interesting you’ve learned about being in leasing?
JD: Previous to joining DLC, I thought leasing was a one-man show. That is far from being true, I’ve learned. To make a deal happen, it requires efforts from other departments across DLC. It’s the teamwork that creates success.