2 min read March 2022 — The Dallas-Fort Worth business landscape has seen rapid transformation over the past two years as more companies and people are choosing its pro-business environment. Invest: spoke with Daniel Taylor, executive managing director of Colliers, about how his firm is embracing the challenges of the market and taking the next steps in commercial real estate growth.
What sets Colliers apart from its competition?
I didn’t know until I was recruited from Colliers how impactful the company could be. Here is this global brand with all the tools and platform, but in Dallas it had not been one of the most recognized firms. I looked at the opportunity from the outside and said this could be one of the best kept secrets in town. When I started in December 2020, I didn’t know anyone, so I had to spend a lot of time to win hearts and minds, show empathy, and get to know people on a personal level. It’s how we build trust and I had to earn that. But once I got buy-in, that’s where we could put our vision into action.
Of the biggest and most recognized real estate firms globally, Colliers ranks top four. When I looked at the firm’s financials, I realized Colliers has one of the best balance sheets in the industry. As a leader, that was comforting because I know they would put that to work in the right place when needed. There was a huge opportunity to take a global brand that hadn’t gotten traction in Dallas yet, create that culture to make it attractive in the area, and we were able to do that last year.
What are the challenges that you are seeing as a result of the population influx into Dallas-Fort Worth?
The biggest challenge for our business is people and how we can keep the momentum going by retaining our best employees and recruiting top talent. The industry is going through a change in how we work, so we have to make sure we can maintain that quality and engagement. Our customers want to engage with us differently and are asking new questions. We have to be able to adapt and be nimble for our clients as the growth continues.
How do you evaluate the talent pool in the DFW real estate market moving forward?
Dallas has always been a very pro-business market, and if someone is willing to work hard and pay their dues, there isn’t a better place to make money. There are powerful industry players here, so my job is to create an environment that will attract those employees. I’m on the board of the SMU Folsom Real Estate Institute and they are graduating high caliber students every year. It can be a tough sell because it is a commission based industry. But real estate is entrepreneurial and competitive for people who are self-starters. In that way, there is no one telling them how much they can make, it is up to the individual and how they invest in themselves. But having to do this work on a hybrid and remote basis has been challenging. Our job is about relationships, knowledge of the market, and how to get deals done. That is learned over time and if these young people aren’t in the office, they can’t hear senior people on a pitch, or hear more insights about the market. That was one of the biggest positives of getting people back into the office.
How is Colliers staying ahead of supply chain issues and helping clients do the same?
In Dallas, we have over 50 million square feet under construction right now. With everything moving from brick and mortar to e-commerce, it has created enormous demand in the industrial space. Because there is so much developable land in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, this sector has exploded. On the flip side, that has pushed out delivery times. Projects that might normally take 12 to 14 months to get built have taken 18 to 20 months because we can’t get materials like steel and concrete.
Our office tenants are also having problems. They need to get into the market much earlier than before because build out times are taking so much longer. We’ve had to advise our clients that if they have less than two years left on a lease, they might already be behind the curve. It’s not just construction, but also permitting, which is huge in Dallas. So there are a lot of things stacking up to delay delivery while all this demand is coming in and that drives up rental rates.
How are you advising clients who are looking to invest in Dallas-Fort Worth?
Our private clients can be more nimble, while institutions tend to have an allocation for different types of real estate. The private clients, though, can seize opportunities and jump on changes in the market more quickly. We are doing a lot of buy-side deals right now for private clients. They are giving us investment criteria and asking us to really dig for projects that fit within that framework as opposed to just seeing what is openly marketed. Because Dallas is a pro-business environment with excellent growth in all areas, that is a huge draw for institutional capital.
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