Principal and founder of CGC Commercial
Chris Garcia, 35, admits that he chose a tough time to launch his office/industrial boutique brokerage firm.
"It was September 2010," he said, "and the market was still pretty crummy."
Garcia left a stable, eight-year gig as an industrial broker at Bloomington-based Cushman & Wakefield /NorthMarq, one of the Twin Cities' largest commercial real estate brokerage firms. Despite the unsettled economic climate, he was ready to strike out on his own.
"Basically, I had one client I was bringing over, which I knew would make a little bit of money … and I had a little bit of cash of my own and just decided to start it," he said.
Garcia survived the recession, added two brokers and is out pounding the pavement seeking new business. He hopes to continue growing his St. Louis Park-based firm by adding several brokers and possibly expanding into property management and real estate ownership. In his 11-year career, Garcia has sold $100 million in properties and leased 5 million square feet.
His biggest project, which is in preliminary stages, is marketing the Arrowhead Business Park, a 500,000-square-foot, master-planned industrial park in Medina. He's working with the landowner — Loram Maintenance of Way Inc. — and developer Bloomington-based United Properties. Medina City Planner Dusty Finke says he hasn't received a formal application for the project, but has had "introductory conversations."
Q: Tell me more about this planned park.
A: The idea is that we'd really market to the west metro and particularly Plymouth, because there's not much industrial space left in Plymouth.
Q: How did you get involved?
A: We're working with Loram and helping facilitate a joint venture between them and United Properties. When [Loram] developed their office building in Medina, they bought an additional 40 acres, so it's sitting there. We're just kicking off the marketing now, so the earliest we'd have a building up is 2014.
Q: Who are you targeting?
A: Office warehouse-type companies.
Q: What other opportunities do you see for your firm?
A: Since I'm Hispanic, we're a certified minority-owned business. That allows us to compete for government business, which includes everything from the General Services Administration ... to the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). We're currently one of a handful of companies competing for the MAC excess land at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie and up in Blaine."
Liz Wolf is an Eagan-based freelance writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.