May 9, 2019

Church and State


Eric Szerlag and Bill McLeod of the Thomas Duke Company go the extra mile whether or not a transaction demands it. Because that’s who they are, that’s what the company is about. Now and then going the extra mile takes them to an outcome better than anyone expected.

The Baptist Convention of Michigan selected Eric and Bill to sell its headquarters building along US-23 in Tyrone Township. The building functioned as an administrative office, but because the Convention is classified as a religious entity and their building a religious facility, the property was zoned R-1 residential—meaning typical office use was prohibited.

Undeterred, Eric and Bill saw that the property’s excellent location at the exit would attract an office user willing to petition Tyrone Township for rezoning—a process the Duke brokers were willing to lead.

 A week after listing the property, they met with Tyrone Township. They didn’t yet have a buyer ready to ask for rezoning. It was a courtesy call, time to share their ideas on new ways the property might be used and listen to township officials’ thoughts. It was the extra relationship mile.

Nothing prepared Eric and Bill for the meeting’s outcome. Township officials did not want to consider rezoning the property to general office use. They did want to talk about how their current township hall was bursting at the seams and their search for land to build a new one. The Duke team pulled up the Baptist Convention building’s floor plan—which fit the township’s needs perfectly. Township officials agreed to a $1 million, all-cash purchase and a quick close. Two months later the property belonged to Tyrone Township.

 Eric and Bill will continue to go the extra mile in all their real estate dealings, whether or not there’s a literal payoff. But it’s nice when there is. The Baptist Convention and Tyrone Township couldn’t agree more.

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