Each month, HSA Commercial profiles a broker at our firm as part of our HSA News & Views blog. In this edition, we talk with Dave Keady, senior vice president of the Retail Services Division. Dave is responsible for the product leasing with HSA’s retail developments, most notably for The Mayfair Collection in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a 250,000-square-foot adaptive reuse in the so-called “Burleigh Triangle” (Click here to learn more about the project).
HSA: How is the leasing progressing for the project in Wauwatosa?
Keady: Everything is moving relatively smoothly. The leasing really gained significant traction last spring after we obtained the preliminary approval for our plan from the City of Wauwatosa. The retailers saw the positive press that the project was generating, and we were able to start building a critical mass of anchor tenants to propel the project forward. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we are feeling confident that we can deliver an exciting tenant mix.
HSA: How have the economic conditions affected your efforts?
Keady: Since I started working with Tim Blum on the project a few years ago, we have always maintained that our target audience is a mix of unique, best-in-class retailers seeking regional locations in the Mayfair Mall trade area. For the most part, we are meeting our goals and realizing that vision.
The economy simply slowed us down. For the past couple years, we have had to compete with an inventory of existing vacancies offered for below market rents. By-and-large, those backfill opportunities are gone, and the retailers, especially the publicly-traded companies, still need to grow to demonstrate value to their stockholders. This puts landlords like us, with a well-defined value proposition, in a position to strike a much more economical and mutually-beneficially deal.
HSA: Generally speaking, what other projects is HSA’s retail development team working on?
Keady: Our retail team is always pursuing infill, value-added development opportunities. In the past, we’ve been primarily focused on large-scale redevelopment projects like in Wauwatosa, but we are beginning to find opportunistic, single-tenant developments where we can still generate substantial returns. However, we’ve always operated with a more conservative investment strategy, and now that is more important than ever.
HSA: In a lot of ways, you established your career as a tenant broker for Potbelly Sandwich Works and others. Do you think that this helps you with product leasing?
Keady: Every tenant is different, and their needs and personalities vary. However, I would say that my background as a tenant broker helps me to anticipate some of the questions and concerns that arise in the negotiation process. That helps in finding that critical path to expedite the deal.
Dave Keady has transacted leases with national retailers such as Nordstrom, Kmart, TJX Companies, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Filene’s, Office Max and Ulta. Prior to joining HSA, Mr. Keady was a Senior Leasing Representative with Klaff Realty.