Shopping Centers Today

MAR 2017

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 54 of 59

M A R C H 2 0 1 7 / S C T 55 What was your early career like, and how did you get your start in real estate? I come from a modest background. I grew up in St. Louis in a middle-class family and remain a St. Louisan, true and true. I was the first college-educated member of my extended family. His- torically, my family was very much in the media: My father was a television producer and director, and my uncle was president of Comcast Sports, in Chicago. I did my undergraduate work in accounting at St. Louis University and worked as an accountant for three years, two of which were in public accounting at Price Waterhouse, now PwC. Having a CPA as well as public-accounting ex- perience really teaches you the nuts and bolts of what drives a company — how profit-and-loss and the balance sheet are ultimately reflected in the share price. I became interested in law and went back to St. Louis University to earn my Juris Doctor. Shortly thereafter, in the early 1990s, I was fortunate enough to be extended a robust opportunity to join the May Department Stores Co. It was one of the most sophisticated real estate practices in the country — a consolidator of a lot of the former re- gional chains — and a great training ground for me. I cut my teeth there and had a nice, 15-year run until the Feder- ated-May merger. Learning the business from the ground up and negotiating reciprocal easement agreements and leases, reading the documents word for word, provides insight into the intri- cacies of a deal. It's very beneficial to deal making and has been beneficial to me personally. So I had boot camp for the business side with PwC and for the legal side with May. It has been a nice toolkit to have. DDR closed on $1 billion in disposi- tions last year. Can you talk about arrive. What I really like about the DDR format is its convenience: You can park in front, pick up what you need, get back in your car and go. What is your life like outside of work? I'm an avid snow skier, and I'm an absolute hockey nut. I love the St. Louis Blues, and it was great to see them in the NHL Winter Classic this year, where they showed well. I've been married to my dear wife, Leslie, for 27 years, and we have two grown children: Emily, and my son, Alex. I am privileged to have the opportunity to work with Alex and find it ironic that he blazed the trail for me, joining DDR a year before I came on board. Our industry has a long history of fam- ily-owned-and-operated businesses. I have always admired the closeness and collaboration of legendary families like the Taubmans, the Simons, the Ratners and the Lebovitzes and am realizing a modest dream of my own in having our career paths overlap. At the end of the day, it is all about family, and it is fun working in the same shop, even if he is the more-tenured associate. DDR is returning to RECon this year. What are your plans for the show? We are excited to be rejoining RECon in Vegas to showcase our centers and better serve our retail partners. While we are always working hard across the portfolio, we have been particularly focused and are making great prog- ress on improving our tenant mix by re-leasing spaces vacated by reason of recent bankruptcies, including Sports Authority and Golfsmith. We're also very active with our latest ground-up developments at Lee Vista Promenade, in Orlando, Fla., and Belgate, in Char- lotte, N.C., and look to advance both initiatives at RECon. n portfolio positioning as a response to some of the shifts in the marketplace? At the end of the day, we're going through a transformation as an in- dustry. E-commerce is as meaningful and impactful as was the advent of the automobile on the suburban shopping experience. It is certainly influencing how we manage the physical, bricks- and-mortar real estate business. Still, good real estate is good real estate. The attributes of a great piece of property haven't changed. Is it a growth market? Is employment strong? Is the popula- tion base growing? Are the market and submarket active and affluent? What are some of the success factors at the property level? We have the good fortune here at DDR of having a great lineup right now with a lot of the market-share winners: T.J.Maxx, Dick's Sporting Goods, Ulta, Ross, Burlington. That's a positive factor for sure. But at the site-specific level, the proven attributes, again, still apply. Is the center accessible? Is it truly in a retail node? Is there mall proximity, which is oftentimes important? To be sure, the shopping patterns of consumers are changing. Today's shopping trip is more mis- sion-focused, with shoppers doing a lot more online research before they At the end of the day, we're going through a transformation as an industry. But the attributes of a great piece of property haven't changed" "

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Shopping Centers Today - MAR 2017