Commercial Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Leasing & Management

What keeps Franklin Street’s Melissa Hazlewood up at night?

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Learn more about Orlando Vice President of Management Services, Melissa Hazlewood.

Melissa Hazlewood manages four Central Florida Class A commercial properties totaling nearly 1 million square feet.

The Franklin Street vice president of office and industrial properties’ boasts a real estate career that spans almost 14 years and includes a position as regional manager for JLL, where she oversaw more than 7 million square feet of commercial space.

Although she considers her 14-year career with Disney as her first real job, she credits a temporary job working on a manufacturing line producing the beverage base for mai tais for teaching her the importance of customer service and conflict resolution.

Here, Hazlewood talks more about real estate, what keeps her up at night and more:

How did you get into real estate? My prior employer was looking for someone with an MBA in finance or business for future succession planning, which I had experience in. I was drawn to the industry. This career path turned out to be a great fit for me.

What led you to property management? The interest in the above opportunity that focused on the financial side of property management

What’s the biggest challenge your industry faces? Competition. We all claim to do it better, but it is truly the people on our team that set us apart from the rest. Top talent is key in any industry.

What is your outlook for the Central Florida office market? Growth, growth, growth! The Central Florida office market is very tight right now for those looking for large, contiguous blocks of space. Rates are up, but not enough to justify new construction that would make those larger spaces available. Over the next few months, we expect to see cap rates push closer to the national average, but it still remains to be seen if they will be enough to warrant new development. We are in a bit of a holding pattern, so we are helping our clients navigate through this time. For smaller spaces, leasing activity is strong and steady.

What’s your top concern for the Orlando-area economy? Employment. We need to attract higher-paying jobs to the Orlando area and move away from the tendency to hire part-timers with little or no benefits in certain sectors.

Where are you finding the most opportunity for business growth? The Orlando EDC’s “You don’t know the half of it” campaign has helped, since it focuses on attracting businesses to Central Florida. I think this program will provide great benefit to the commercial real estate environment, whether it’s office, multifamily, industrial or retail.

What’s the key to succeeding in this business? Understanding each client’s goals and objectives and delivering on those needs through collaboration, integrity, hard work and accountability.

Has your business philosophy changed since the Great Recession? I think we have all become more disciplined, whether we are buyers, sellers, owners or managers.

What keeps you awake at night about your business? Staying valuable in a way that ensures retention both from the client and employee perspective

What are you like at the negotiating table? Fair

What do you enjoy most about your job? The ever-changing environment on a daily basis

If you could have another career, what would it be? A philanthropist — while traveling internationally and cycling full time

Melissa Hazlewood
Title: Vice president of office and industrial
Company: Franklin Street
Description: Full-service commercial real estate firm
Address: 390 N. Orange Ave., Suite 2300, Orlando 32801
Contact: (407) 458-5400;
Twitter: @FranklinST_llc

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