Focus, Focus, Focus! That was the most important lesson we learned as commercial real estate broker/owners in Beverly Hills and the adjacent areas. Our firm was small but mighty because we focused on doing just a few things really well, better than most anyone else in the marketplace at the time. High-end retail was one of our niches.
In assessing opportunities in our marketplace we spotted an important trend. Some of the cool, avant-garde retailers were seeking lower rents than the extremely high rental rates in the Beverly Hills Triangle that encompass Rodeo Drive.
When we received a call from Koala Blue (Olivia Newton John) who was interested in opening her famous Aussie blue jean store on Melrose Avenue, we knew there was a trend about to explode on this quirky retail street just east of Beverly Hills. Then, John Travolta was referred to us (they were working on a second movie together) and he wanted to open a workout studio there, too.
You can imagine the swarms of fans that stopped him for autographs as we were showing him properties.
Armed with the inside scoop (it often takes several months to build out a retail store) we approached investors and developers who were looking for new opportunities in L.A. and could close deals with all cash in 30 days. Then, we launched a highly focused canvassing program, through which we contacted all of the Melrose Avenue property owners and started writing offers and closing sales.
The international P.R. that Olivia Newton John received for the store also became P.R. for Melrose Avenue itself. This was indeed the tipping point for the popularity of Melrose and that accelerated our sales momentum.
We typically got the exclusive leasing listings on the buildings that we sold to our clients once they took ownership or developed the properties. Some of the buildings were later listed with us for resale once the new value was added to the properties (renovations and increased income).
In some cases we offered to leave our initial commission in the deal in exchange for partial ownership of the property so we could participate in the upside potential of the investment. The rental rates on Melrose when we started this were $1.00 per square foot per month. They quickly jumped exponentially to $4.00/sq. ft. as the trend took off. We repeated the same formula on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, west of Beverly Hills
The bottom line here, literally, is focus your time energy and resources on an uncontested or under served niche that you can dominate in your marketplace. This is the most valuable lesson we learned and is the primary advice that we offer our strategic branding clients in the luxury real estate arena.
Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-
ABOUT: Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry. They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.