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Fitness Center, Milwaukee Wisconsin

Chris Ressa Headshot
Episode #: 199
Fitness Center, Milwaukee Wisconsin

Topics: leasing deal, fitness center


Chris Ressa 0:00
This is Retail Retold, the story of how that store ended up in your neighborhood. I’m your host, Chris Ressa, and I invite you to join my conversation with some of the retail industry’s biggest influencers. This podcast is brought to you by DLC Management.

Ressa 0:17
Welcome to Retail Retold everyone. I’m your host, Chris Ressa. Thank you for joining me for our conversation today. So let me jump right in with the topic I don’t talk about all that often, which is conferences. I should say I don’t talk about it a lot on the podcast, I’ve been posting a lot about business conferences on LinkedIn. Here’s why. Pre-pandemic, I went to a million conferences, primarily centered around retail real estate, I ventured out to some other ones not in retail real estate.

And those are always useful, but in general, they ended up cutting conferences. Now, they slowly starting to build back up into the conference rhythm. And this isn’t necessarily because of health concerns. This is because I’ve just tried to get back into a rhythm that I was taken out of, right, conferences got replaced with new work and I need to figure out how to maneuver that work around so that I can create the time to go to conferences. I think conferences are super valuable.

You get to meet so many new people and so many existing relationships. So many people have existing relationships with in person at one time. You can do meetings, dinners, whatever, you can to accelerate that connection curve. You’ll find a connection when, with, conferences, not to mention all the learning opportunities that come with attending these types of conferences. I’ve attended some this year.

I intend to really up my game next year on the amount of conferences I go to, two big ones I attended that I’ve never attended beforem that I attended this year, the NRF, National Retail Federation‘s big show and two, Ascent, which is Biz Now’s conference in Miami. Both were, they were completely different. NRF had some, NRF, for me, the big show was really, it’s expensive but it’s easy to get to because it’s right here the Jacob Javits.

So for me, it was a train, you know, it’s a train ride a drive every morning, it’s easy to get to. So if you don’t have anything, it’s the beginning of the year, you’re just starting, people are like, coming out of the New Year, it’s actually a pretty good time. So what I would say about that one, NRF, because of their scale power, they get some big time names, and super high level fortune 500 corporate executives to come and speak. And, to me that’s, that was super interesting.

That was a conference that had like, CEO of this major public retailer, CFO of this retailer, head of commerce at Deloitte. So you got some, like, really interesting people from that perspective. So that was cool. That was, for me, a super impactful. learning, opportunity. The networking, there’s a lot of networking there. I met a lot of people, the little, a lot of the people that I met they’re in some pretty vastly different fields than me.

So for me, that conference was really strong on the learning front. Additionally, that conference is really good about the ‘what’s coming’ front, because there’s a lot of vendors at that show and therefore in the trade show area, and therefore there’s a lot of innovation. So that was super interesting. And that is Ascent. The show, a very expensive show in a conference.

Super well done one it was in Miami, which was really great because I’m in the northeast, it’s, although you know what, I say it was great, the weather was great. Don’t get me wrong. But the fall weather in the Northeast right now is unbelievable. Long, light long sleeve shirt, pants outside, cool breeze, it’s brisk, maybe a vest, don’t need a coat most times great fall. Anyway, I digress. The Ascent that this was about, this was learning, sharing of ideas, in a much different format.

So, at the NRF, they had, it was, you know, in a big room, keynote speakers type learning. This was networking. Totally different topic, right. So that was that was retail and best business practices at NRF. Ascent was really about commercial real estate, and networking and meeting people. And they really did a good job of forcing opportunities for to do that golf event to pair with people probably meet before.

They have these things, breakout rooms, they called them Tribes, and they have a tribe leader, you sit for a couple hours, and they print out and they had like some talking points for you to talk about with the group and share ideas and what was going on. And you learned a lot about people and how they were doing things and what they were doing. They had a speed dealmaking which had done in the past, but this was super well done, I gotta give it to Biz Now.

Super well done speed deal making it and it was an interesting one, it was one of the conferences, where like you pre-pay for like, the food is all included. And the drink is all included, which was interesting. So anyway, I met a lot of good people at both expanded, my networks learned a ton. And the 2023. Right now I’m really planning out conferences, where we’re going to go, where I’m going to be, one of the big ones that I go to every year, it’s when the fever is ICSE open air, that’s not going to be in 2023.

So therefore, it’s like a conference opening in my schedule. So long story short, if you’re still not in your conference rhythm, I think 2023 is a good year to increase your conference rhythm. Okay, so there’s that, that’s my conference rant. We’re so you know, I’m, I’m gonna keep going. We’re still in the conference room, when we’re so stuck to our teams and zoom and like, I can talk to people on Zoom, Teams. Totally, we’re using it at DLC a ton.

But it’s just, it’s energizing to go to a conference and see people were, every time I go to a site, or go to an in-person meeting, I’m so much more energized. And a team’s unique. And I have a Team’s meeting, with a national retailer, in 30 minutes. And we’re going over, actually, my team’s going over portfolio sites with them.

And this has been in the works like the to prepare a deck, there will be the deck and we’re gonna go through a call, we’re gonna go through the deck, and it’s great. It would be more energizing in person, albeit, this is more efficient. It’s more efficient. And I always talked about this, just go on tangents, efficiency versus effectiveness. Sometimes, it’s not the most efficient thing to do, but it’s still effective.

And you have to think about this in your life and what you’re doing from tasks time to time. Like in balance, efficiency and effectiveness. Right? Sometimes it’s not like, this is one of the keys to delegating. The most efficient thing to do is sometimes is to delegate it, but you always have a, if you want it done right and you could do it yourself and I could do it in half the time that that person but isn’t the best use of your time.

So anyway, that’s a whole other topic, efficiency, effectiveness. Let’s talk about some retail real estate. So I’m going to bring you back to a gym, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So we’re buying the shopping center in Milwaukee a long time ago. And there was a box, and it’s 25,000 foot box. We just bought the center and we’re talking to this gym.

Ressa 10:07
And you get the gym. Into LOI. And then you get the gym into lease. And we’re struggling in lease with this gym, going back and forth on some terms. And one of the things we’re stuck on, it’s like signage, them doing something different than the rest of the shopping center, they want a brand, we understood, but it’s taking a long time to get through, like, what their signage will look like.

And we have a lease, or we have a senator with other leases that kind of dictate some of the signage of this specific property. It’s causing a challenge, because we’re going to have to change some things. We potentially, because of signings, we may need consent from other tenants. So we’re trying not to do that, it’s just dragging. Well, this gym was not the first call we made, there was another gym we called.

In that gym then, something happened in the market, that gym wanted to come and into the market and really make sure the opposition the gym that was at least with so we, that you the broker that Jim calls me the gym that we’re not at least we’ll call the one I’m in lease with the gym he would be the other Gym B calls me and says, what’s for sale and lease? You know, I don’t know. And they’re like, What are the terms? I’m not gonna tell you the terms.

They’re like, tell us the terms and beat it. So the deals are like, close, I’m so much much further ahead. So we’re still negotiating size issues, couple of issues with Gym A and B, and then ICSC Las Vegas comes, which is big retail real estate convention in Las Vegas. I go to Las Vegas, I get a text from there. Hey, from the broker, I brought the franchisee here, he flew in just to meet with you in Vegas. I don’t care when we’ll meet with you. On the floor off the floor doesn’t matter. He’s here just to see you.

Ressa 12:26
Okay. So I get to the floor, I get to the meeting. And I’m like, they’re like, what’s it gonna take to get us the space so we can sign the lease?

Ressa 12:48
And I really wasn’t prepared to answer that question. I didn’t have my model in front of me. You know. Some of the financial guys were back n the office. So I call them almost like, hey, what would it take to make this so compelling? They give me some ideas. So I tell them listen, I gotta run some stuff. When you guys come back to the booth at the end of the show later, no problem. We’ll be back. They come back. And I tell them everything.

Ressa 13:31
I said, Okay. Give me all the terms. They agree, we agree. Now here’s the key term. I’m going to send you the lease. There’s a typo, maybe. Other than a typo. You read the lease. It’s not going to conform to your standards. You’re going to have to go out of process because you got to sign it by Tuesday. So we’ll be back from Vegas later this week. Tuesday, and he goes I’m here to see you. It’s Monday. I’ll be back tomorrow, Tuesday. I don’t need a week. If there’s nothing crazy, I’ll sign it by Wednesday.

So, I’m still in Vegas. I’m literally still in Vegas. I got Monday, so I email, I go out of my process. I got it because we have a whole process, we got to get things approved. We got to get it in our system. I call my legal, my attorney, I said listen, you gotta send this guy lease legal terms. And you know my attorney is not loving this because it’s our practice how to process and what and you know, they don’t have there’s no LOI. So I don’t even know why. And I’m like, here’s the terms. It’s really basic.

So that Monday it gets sent, lease comes back into our offices to Vegas, with checks signed Wednesday. So, wow. So now I have to call Gym A. And I explained to them, hey, someone’s come in. I didn’t know where. You were first, here’s where we’re gonna take for you, we have to get off this side thing. And they told me, listen, nice negotiating tactic, we’re gonna do this the right way, we’re gonna get what we need. And or we’re not doing a deal.

I said, listen, we’re gonna go with the other guy. And he was trying to call my bluff. Well long story short, today, Gym B is in that center. So, moral of the story is, as supply is constrained in American real estate, we all have process, procedure, we all have to make sure to dot every I and cross every T and dot every I and cross every t, both sides. One of the most compelling things in today’s environment to get a lease done is speed.

So for all the retailers and entrepreneurs out there, if you could offer speed to a landlord, you’re probably going to save potentially on dollars. In some other things, if you can actually offer speed, if you can skip some things in your process and offer speed. In a world where we have supply chain issues, where it’s tough to get a permit, we’re delayed. Landlords are trying to get through rent commencement. If you can offer speed to a landlord, what are the more compelling things you can offer?

Now in that scenario, the rent was improved, there was something, other terms that were approved. But let me tell you, the most compelling thing. I’m still at the trade show. And the lease came back, he had flown back to his office that night, or the next day, got the re lease from my attorney, and signed it, and sent it back with checks.

We’re all relying on other people in our teams, whether it’s attorneys, accountants, architects, the ones that can corral them, to get them aligned to move expeditiously to jump the line. They’re going to win. So that’s what I have for today, everyone gym in Milwaukee. One of the most compelling things that, that doesn’t have a cost inside the body of a transaction.

It might outside, consultants should pay things, but inside the body of the transaction, it doesn’t have a cost that can save you tons in the transaction, is speed. One of the things we tell people all the time, we get stuck on a number. We get stuck in a number. It’s called, a negotiating tactic, call it what you want, everyone gets stuck on a number.

This happens all the time. Let’s say we’re $1 apart. And we’re struggling with a tenant. Sometimes we’ll say I’ll tell you what, we’ll agree to your number. Lease has to be Sunday if you can move quicker than your opponent.

Ressa 19:05
You’re gonna put yourself in a better chance to win. So and listen on the other side. We’re trying to tell our teammates that because we believe that we’re trying to move faster than our opponents not always easy with it. We got a lot of there’s a lot of competing interests, things going on, but sometimes speed is your friend. With that everyone, have a great weekend. Something, our 200th episode is coming up. We are still rolling.

To keep, if you enjoy this podcast, please, please I would appreciate so much. If you could just go to wherever your listening platform is, whether you’re listening to us on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, we’re everywhere. Please rate and review us. The algorithm loves when people rate and review. If you haven’t read and review us, just go out and give us five stars.

I greatly appreciate it. If you want to leave a comment and rate us that would be greatly appreciated too. But at a minimum, you could just hit pause right now it stop, go to the thing. Click five stars really appreciate everyone. Have a great one. Thank you so much.

Thank you for listening to Retail Retold. If you want to share a story about a retail real estate deal that you were a part of on our show, please reach out to us at This show highlights the stories behind the deals from all perspectives. So it doesn’t matter if you are a retailer, broker, entrepreneur, architect or an attorney Also don’t forget to subscribe to Retail Retold so you don’t miss out on next Thursday’s episode.

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