Cary Beale is the newest leader in the Atlanta office of commercial real estate firm Franklin Street. He was recently named senior vice president of the company’s Retail Landlord Services division.
Beale previously worked for DDR Corp., leasing shopping centers across the Southeast.
Atlanta Business Chronicle caught up with Beale to hear more about his new role.
What led you to your career? I grew up in Michigan and my family owns a commercial real estate company. I feel like even in my childhood, it was just in my blood. My dad would take me along with him to shopping centers and teach me all about the industry. I watched him negotiate deals and it made me excited. I loved so many aspects of the business and I feel that I chose a career that plays upon my personal strengths. I enjoy interacting with people, negotiating deals, and working with numbers.
Who was your biggest influence in your career? What did he/she do? I have had three major influencers. The first one is my father. He was a true role model for me growing up. He loved his family and his career. He set an example for me that I have always strived to achieve. Another role model has been my former boss, David Dieterle. He always believed in me and provided me with amazing opportunities for professional growth that I would not have had without his leadership. He was a wonderful mentor. Finally, the third (and most important) person is my wife Jamie. She has always been my No. 1 cheerleader. She made many sacrifices early in her own career while raising our three children, which has enabled me to excel in my career. Her unending support has made me what I am today.
What is the biggest challenge in the real estate industry? I believe the biggest challenge to the retail industry is understanding how to combat the Internet. It is no surprise to anyone that online businesses are growing market share (currently, online retail has an 8.5 percent market share and less than 10 years ago, it was only 3 percent). It is imperative that retailers act strategically to combat online sales to draw customers to retail centers.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? I love helping people open businesses in shopping centers and watching them succeed. Nothing makes me happier then when someone comes to me with a dream of owning a business and being able to watch that dream come true. I also love mentoring younger brokers who are just starting out in the industry. Working with them one-on-one and watching them develop and thrive in this industry is incredibly rewarding.
What’s the hardest business lesson you’ve learned? As a young entrepreneur I wanted to do everything myself. I have learned over the years that sometimes it is important to take a step back, create a solid team around me, and place trust in those individuals to work hard.
There have been a lot of headlines about the downturn of retail in the national news. What is your impression of the state of the retail industry today? The retail industry is experiencing a major period of change. Landlords and tenants need to find new ways to bring customers to their stores/shopping centers. Interactive and fun experiences that cater to the entire family are what many customers are looking for. We work closely with our landlords to make sure that we are putting the best tenant mix in their centers that will all complement each other and ultimately, the center.
Share with us what you see as the opportunities for retail investors today. It is not easy in today’s market to find a great deal on investment shopping centers. However, many tenants are closing, which is creating vacancies and, ultimately, potential opportunities. I would advise investors to sit back and wait for the right opportunities to come. As tenants close, some investors will be nervous to invest and often the best time to invest is when everyone else is scared.
Could you share some highlights from your career? I opened a Mongolian BBQ restaurant right out of college. I owned and operated it for six years. I learned so much from being on the retail side. It was truly one of the most amazing experiences that I would never do again (laughs).
Next, I decided to sell the restaurant and work in commercial real estate for my father’s company in Michigan for a few years.
In 2005, my wife and I moved to Georgia and I opened a cellular phone store in Midtown. I owned that for two years, at which time I realized that my true passion was for real estate.
From 2007 to 2017, I worked for DDR in Atlanta, where I ran an office of 25 people and oversaw over 100 shopping centers and 25 million square feet of retail space across five states. I started as DDR’s director of leasing and eventually became their vice president of leasing.
You have a new role with Franklin Street. How does it help the company grow? Franklin Street measures its success by the performance of our clients and that is why we’ve added another layer of market expertise to better serve them. My focus will be on strengthening the retail division’s ability to enhance value to both current as well as prospective investor clients, while also recruiting top talent in the industry. Franklin Street has a solid reputation as a top full-service commercial real estate firm throughout the Southeast and we’re working hard to build a first-class national brand.
What’s the future look like for Franklin Street in the Atlanta market? Atlanta will be a key market as we accelerate the firm’s regional and national expansion. Ultimately, we plan to significantly expand the number of people in our Atlanta office for every business line, allowing us to have a deeper level of experience at every position. Our retail and multifamily teams are already well-known players in this market. Our next goal is to expand our services in the industrial, office, property management and insurance sectors of commercial real estate.
Born in: Detroit, Mich.
Lives in: Duluth, Ga.
Current job: Senior vice president of landlord leasing, Franklin Street
Previous job: Vice president of leasing, DDR Corp.
Education: Bachelor of science degree in business management, Western Michigan
Family: Wife, Jamie; three children: Jonah (10), Jude (8), and Sasha (6)
Hobbies: Swimming, poker and tennis