August 20, 2019

From Sad to Satisfying: Turning the Story Around


It was a sad story that was getting sadder. The owner of a 30,000-square-foot office building in Brighton died suddenly. His family members, thrust into unexpected ownership, found themselves without enough working capital. They couldn’t afford to make the renovations necessary to retain current tenants or attract new ones. Then the anchor tenant left, leaving the building more than 60 percent vacant. Overwhelmed and facing foreclosure, the family saw no way to turn the story around. They knew they had to exit.

When they began to meet with commercial brokerage houses to formulate their exit strategy, their lender suggested the Thomas Duke Company be at the top of their list. Brokers Mark Szerlag and John Porth of the Duke Company’s Westside Team sat down with the family. With more than 45 years of combined experience selling commercial properties in Livingston County, Mark and John were able to present a specific and targeted marketing plan. The family gladly put the building in Mark and John’s hands, and soon they were reviewing multiple purchase offers from investors confident the property could become a quality asset.

The family chose the offer made by a local investor bullish on Livingston County. He saw the building’s potential. Once he’d assumed ownership, he made considerable improvements to the landscaping, common areas, lighting, and parking lot. Then, once again, he called on Mark and John.
With the revitalized property ready for tenants, the buyer consulted the pair for data on rental rates and leasing activity in the Brighton/Howell market. He then hired them to lease the renovated spaces.

Within 18 months Mark and John had found tenants for more than 80 percent of the building’s offices. Today, 90 percent are occupied.

A property that was failing more with every month is now one of Brighton’s thriving office complexes. A family overwhelmed with ownership handed the property into capable hands. A local investor strengthened both his personal portfolio and the local economy.

At the Thomas Duke Company, we specialize in happy, satisfying endings. Call John Porth or Mark Szerlag today. They welcome the chance to join your story.

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