Real estate profile: Chad Navis

director of industrial development, Towne Investments

Company: Towne Investments
Title: Director of industrial development
Education: MBA-Loyola University of Chicago, BBA-UW Whitewater
City of Residence: Pleasant Prairie
Family: "Beautiful wife and loyal golden retriever."
Hobbies and Interests: "Outdoor sporting activities and embarrassing myself on the golf course."
What are you working on? "Towne Investments has a diversified industrial and office portfolio that is largely located in either the metro-Milwaukee and metro-Chicago markets. Recently, Towne has begun to invest significantly in the Kenosha County area.  The majority of this investment has been in industrial land which will be used to grow our portfolio through development projects (both speculative and build-to-suit building product). This investment decision not only helps tie together our Milwaukee- and Chicago-area portfolios geographically, but also has positioned Towne to benefit from strong current market activity – and anticipated continued long-term growth – along the Milwaukee/Chicago I-94 Corridor. Examples of recent Towne Investment speculative building projects in this submarket during the past year include the recent development and lease-up of Towne Industrial I & II at LakeView Corporate Park and the current construction of Towne Industrial III & IV at LakeView (speculative buildings which can accommodate users in need of 15,000 – 130,000 square feet)."
How does the market look to you? "Today, it’s difficult to make an accurate diagnosis about the health of the general market because it varies dramatically between product types and submarket locations. Many submarket areas are being challenged and heavily influenced by difficult macro-economic conditions which your readers are continually bombarded with from the business news media. As mentioned earlier, one submarket and product type that seems to have been a safe harbor from these choppy economic waters is industrial product in the Kenosha County area as we continue to experience strong user demand and interest there. We believe this is driven by a largely unreported underlying strength in the area’s main street business community and also the favorable geographic- and business environment- attributes of this location, some of which include: a central location between Milwaukee and Chicago major marketplaces, good interstate highway access, quality available labor pool, attractive electric utility rates, availability of Lake Michigan water, competitive real estate taxes and the pro-business attitude of area economic development- and local government agencies."
What was the best deal you have ever been involved in? "Although many may measure the quality of a deal in terms of square feet built or investment value size, the projects I have personally found most rewarding are those where we are able to put together a team to successfully meet a client’s need that is the perfect project storm of a seemingly impossible aggressive project schedule, incredibly tight project budget and very technical project scope (fortunately, we get "rewarded" with these types of project opportunities so often that we would run out of space if I were to identify each by name)."
What was the funniest moment of your career? "The majority of our clients are represented exclusively by a real estate broker. Unfortunately in the early stages of a deal, some users are less loyal and straight-forward with their broker than they should be. I recall one such occasion when I had a mid-morning appointment in the office where a broker was meeting with me and his client to discuss the space opportunities that existed at one of our business park locations. At the meeting, I provided the complete overview and had an involved discussion that lasted about an hour. Later in the afternoon, I had another appointment scheduled with a different broker who had a client with a similar sounding requirement to that of my morning meeting. When they arrived, it was the exact same user. What was even more odd was that the user pretended to have never met me before or know anything about our development projects. Although I felt a bit like Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day, I followed the user’s lead and proceeded to re-enact the same presentation performed only hours before. To this day, I am not sure if the user just liked my performance so much that he had to come back for a second show or if I did such a poor job the first time that he was being kind enough to give me a second chance."

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