How Mid-America Has Served Two Owners of “Bread and Butter” Retail Real Estate for More Than 20 Years
November 1, 2023
Across the Midwest, Mid-America provides property management, leasing and construction management services for over 60 million square feet of retail real estate. Clients range from institutional owners of shopping centers to local investors and developers who operate bread-and-butter retail assets at various scales.
Two such clients who formerly operated as one entity are served by the Minnesota office. They collectively own 24 assets comprising 40 buildings and representing 523,010 square feet of well positioned pad site and prime corner multi-tenant small shop space in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
A Major Cornerstone of the Market
“It’s a combined portfolio of community and regional retail that’s a major cornerstone of the retail real estate market,” says Doug Sailor, Managing Principal of Mid-America’s Minnesota office. Doug and Mid-America have served the clients for over 23 years.
“We’re large enough to support an internal department to service our portfolio, but why would we?” asks John Trautz of Trautz Properties. “Mid-America treats our assets as their own. They are our virtual management and leasing department.”
Vince Driessen of The Driessen Group adds: “We love retail real estate as developers and investors, and with Mid-America we get best practices and people who are even more passionate about management and leasing than we are. The Mid-America team is a great complement to us.”
More Than 1,000 Transactions …
Mid-America has served The Driessen Group and Trautz Properties, which previously operated as Reliance Development, since 2000. The two companies today own assets ranging from a freestanding 2,998 square foot noodles restaurant to a 147,713 square foot prime location community shopping center and everything in between.
Since the start of the relationship, Mid-America has facilitated more than 1,000 lease, sale and acquisition transactions, and provided all manner of property management, accounting, advisory and construction management services to the companies.
The combined portfolio’s average occupancy rate in recent years comes in at 98%.
Caring for Physical Assets and the People Who Occupy Them
Driessen and Trautz credit the portfolio’s performance to Mid-America’s care for the physical assets and for the people who occupy them. “Of course the appearance of our properties is sharp. Trash is picked up, grass is cut, parking lots and curbs are well maintained, snow is removed, fire alarms and other safety systems are tested and monitored. But just as important, we have happy tenants who are treated responsively and fairly, which makes them likely to renew, which increases tenant retention, which strengthens the bottom line. It’s a continual cycle that Mid-America is at the heart of,” Trautz says.
Among other things, the Mid-America team collects rents, pays bills, reports on and forecasts budgets and property performance, and plans and tracks capital expenses, loans coming due and potential refinancings.
“We’ve Been Through It All Over These Many Years”
Interaction between the Mid-America and client teams is daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly depending on the matter. The Mid-America team includes Sailor; Brandon O’Connell, Senior Vice President of Property Management; Genevieve Liesener, Vice President of Property Management; Shauna Sokolis and Carissa Allen in property accounting; and Brady Whalen, Leasing Specialist, among others.
The shared history is long and goes back even before Vince and John joined forces at Reliance 27 years ago. Mid-America principals in Minneapolis and Chicago supported Vince in his prior roles for Blockbuster Video, Boston Market and SpinCycle.
“We’ve been through it all over these many years,” says Sailor. “Recessions and real estate cycles, sure, but also weddings, funerals, graduations.”
“In our industry, the large institutional and private equity clients are usually talked about the most, but local investors and developers like Vince and John who operate prime position community and regional small shop retail are a major cornerstone of the market. We understand and appreciate the role their products play, and take incredible pride and pleasure not just in working together for so long, but in supporting their portfolio of bread-and-butter retail real estate assets.”