Ben Lieser, Minnesota regional manager, Meritex

Ben Lieser is leading asset and property management of Twin Cities properties as the new regional manager for Minnesota at Meritex, the Minneapolis-based commercial real estate company.

Meritex has 11 properties and nearly 3 million square feet of light industrial space in the Twin Cities, Lieser said. The fourth-generation company developing two 144,000-square-foot distribution buildings in Roseville. Work on those will begin this spring with fall completion expected.

"The industrial market is really strong right now," Lieser said. "With companies distributing directly to your front door they're going to need warehouse space for that. They're looking for locations that are close to their customers."

His immediate focus is on building relationship with brokers, whom Meritex hires to lease vacant space, and tenants from a property management perspective.

"We pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop" for tenants, Lieser said. "If we can't accommodate them in one building and they have aggressive growth plans we want to be their partner with something else."

Lieser brings more than 20 years of experience to his role, including property and asset management, leasing construction management and development. He previously was asset manager with the Roberts Management Group. He also has worked at Carlson Real Estate Co., Great Lakes REIT and Suntide Commercial.

Lieser, who has a degree in real estate from St. Cloud State University, succeeds Steve Dorff, who retired in 2017 after 38 years with Meritex.

Meritex, a fourth-generation, 102-year-old company, leases space in Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Columbus, Ohio, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Mo., Minneapolis-St. Paul and Phoenix.

Q: What appealed to you about this opportunity?

A: The biggest thing for me is they have a proven track record here. They've been doing business for 100 years. It's a family-owned company. They're in it for the long haul. That's my background. I've always worked for family companies. They have aggressive growth plans, which is exciting to be a part of.

Q: What advantages does that offer?

A: All your decisionmaking is long term. When you're putting money into the buildings, when you're making decisions to improve the building, when you're looking at lease deals you're not looking for the short term. Because you're going to own that asset, you're going to be part of it for a longer period of time.

Q: What do you like about working in commercial real estate?

A: I like the numbers. I like the business side of it. You're not tied to your desk. You can get out, you're seeing assets, you're seeing properties you're meeting people. You can be in investment, you can be in brokerage, in finance, property management, appraisal. I like that variety.

Todd Nelson