Founded in 2006 in the middle of the real estate bubble, Franklin Street flourished while other commercial real estate companies were downsizing.
The full-service commercial real estate firm, based in Tampa, Florida, has become one of the fastest-growing in the region. The firm’s commercial property management division specializes in maximizing the value of clients’ assets by maintaining strong relationships with owners, tenants and vendors while focusing on well-defined business development objectives.
“The key to Franklin Street’s success has been investing in our people,” says Patrick McGucken, Vice President of Commercial Management Services at Franklin Street. We make sure our people and our employees have everything they need to successfully complete all the tasks that they are given, and to be successful property advisors for our clients. I think we have done an excellent job of making sure that all of our employees understand our culture and the way we go about doing things – it’s quite a unique place we have here.”
Franklin Street prides itself on building relationships with clients and listening to what they want to accomplish with each project.
“Our management philosophy is based on whatever our clients’ needs are,” McGucken says. “We base our strategies on a property-by-property basis, depending on our clients’ goals and needs. We look at ourselves as a trusted real estate advisor for our clients, and whatever their goals and needs are, we try to accomplish them.”
According to McGucken, working with many different types of assets and various markets requires unique strategies.
“We sit down with our owners, understand what their goals are and what they would like to achieve with their assets,” he says. “We work with them on creating a comprehensive plan to achieve their goals. We can manage each asset differently because of their size, yet we still achieve the same scale as many of the larger companies because we have a significant enough portfolio in the Southeast.”
With commercial property management, there can be a high level of unpredictability at times. Franklin Street works to excel in areas where predictability often yields long-term success.
“One of the core strengths of the management company – and one of our biggest strengths – is our accounting,” McGucken says. “In the world of management, you have to deal with so many unknowns and so many things that pop up. You never know what you’re going to have to deal with on any given day. The one thing that’s stead about management is accounting, and our accounting is exceptional. With our lease audits, it’s about putting all of our lease abstracts together, getting tenants paying the proper amount and doing all the things necessary to successfully account for everything on our properties.”
Defying the Odds
In the early days, Franklin Street had to weather an extremely unfavorable real estate climate. The firm faced obstacles while gaining momentum but leveraged the poor market conditions and used them ot its advantage.
“One of the unique challenges we faced is that we grew through one of the worst real estate markets in history,” McGucken says. “We began by working with a lot of special servicers and a lot of banks, and we started with the distressed asset model – that was how we grew. We came in at a very tough time in real estate when there were a lot of things that needed to be worked out on the finance side. A lot of properties went into foreclosure, so there was a need for receivership services and stabilizing the assets.”
Initially, Franklin Street focused on helping clients, including some lenders, work through very tough issues.
“Now we have shifted, and there’s not really many distressed properties out there,” McGucken says. “The big challenge with that was having our clients understand that we are not singularly focused on distressed assets, and we can handle anything. Diversifying our businesses and having multiple verticals has really helped us get through all of the ups and downs of the real estate cycle.”
Franklin Street’s reputation and market have affected the firm’s growth, and the firm is beginning to exceed the boundaries of the Southeast region of the United States. The firm’s team is confident that, as it expands, its individualized hands-on management approach will result in success.
“We plan to continue to grow,” McGucken says. “We would like to expand into new markets, expand into new states, continue opening new offices and become a national company as opposed to just a Southeastern boutique company. If we can continue to create the culture we have established and foster that culture throughout our company, as we grow to new offices, we will be able to keep the same ideals and values.”