This might not seem like the best time to launch a new business, what with COVID-19 still dominating headlines, the U.S. economy mired in a deep slump and many consumers still secluding themselves in their homes to keep themselves safe.
But these challenging times haven’t stopped commercial real estate industry veteran Josh Budish. In late January, Budish officially launched Minneapolis-based Endeavor Development, a company focused on developing, investing in and managing Class-A industrial real estate properties in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
Budish brings 19 years of commercial real estate experience to his new company. This includes his time as vice president of Duke Realty’s Minneapolis-St. Paul operations. There, Budish was responsible for the leasing, development and overall performance of Duke’s 5.1-million-square-foot Class-A industrial portfolio.
And how is Endeavor doing so far? The company is already off to a good start, having secured three infill projects totaling more than 265,000 square feet in suburban Twin Cities-area locations. Endeavor is developing Pilot Knob Business Center in Mendota Heights, Highview 610 Business Center in Brooklyn Park and Yankee Doodle Business Center in Eagan.
Midwest Real Estate News recently spoke with Budish about his career, the reasons for his success and why 2021 was the best time for him to start Endeavor Development. Here is what he had to say.
These are obviously challenging times. Why start a development company now, in the middle of a pandemic?
Josh Budish: Personally for me, it was time. I was ready. Starting my own business was something I have always wanted to do. I’ve been working now in this industry for nearly 20 years. Frankly, I was ready to make the leap. I had accomplished everything I’d set out to do in my previous roles. I have had a lot of success and felt personally ready to start my own company.
I also feel this is a great time to start this company. Prior to COVID-19, demand for industrial real estate was growing. Today, that growth has only accelerated.
Our company’s tagline is “Institutional experience. Entrepreneurial spirit.” We are taking this opportunity to lean on the near 20 years of experience I had at Duke Realty and Liberty Property Trust and applying it to this new company. I can be flexible and creative. I can be more opportunistic. I can bring on new partners that I wasn’t able to before. This is a great time to bring that experience and entrepreneurial spirit together and deliver for our partners.
How did you prepare for this moment?
Budish: I had been working on this for a long while. When COVID hit, things slowed down for everybody. That was a great time to just work hard to build the foundations of the company. I spent countless hours last year doing this, getting ready to launch Endeavor Development.
How did you prepare for launching the company?
Budish: I view building the company the same as building a building. You want to find suitable soils to begin with. That’s the industry itself, the market. Then you want to design the company properly, build a solid foundation so that everything that follows is strong. You want to build something that is solid and sturdy. I did that with our company.
It’s impressive that you are starting Endeavor Development with three projects already in process.
Budish: I am excited by that. All the projects are infill. By design, I started with three projects that I am very confident will be successful. They are infill locations within major population centers. Mendota Heights and Eagan are both seeing a lot of growth. Brooklyn Park is the most active area for industrial development. Once I got the foundations of the company poured, focusing on the right projects was crucial.
I’ve been doing this for a long time. Getting projects is nothing new. But getting them for Endeavor felt nice. The big thing was finding an investment partner. That was huge for us. I am very confident in the game plan and the business plan. It’s nice to have three projects going. We also have several more in the works. We are very confident and comfortable with our strategy. It’s great to be able to hit the ground running. After announcing the company in January, having three projects starting in the spring is exciting.
You mention the entrepreneurial spirit in Endeavor’s tagline. Have you always been an entrepreneur at heart?
Budish: Yes. Starting my own business is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to start a real estate development business. I am very thankful for the time I spent working at Liberty and Duke. In my opinion, this is not the kind of industry you should just jump into without experience. We will be developing three projects that are significant in value. There is always a level of risk when you are investing. I am very thankful for the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve learned so much during the last several years. I have confidence in myself and teammates to be successful.
Once you hit a certain level of experience and confidence, you are ready to try your own ideas. Now I can do that. I’m excited to be able to offer that flexibility and creativity. Having that flexibility is critical for today’s world and where it is headed.
How strong is the industrial market in the Twin Cities today?
Budish: The market is very strong. We see demand continuing for both users and investors. While you can still find land to develop, it is getting harder. For the more desirable sites, there is not only competition, you need a lot of know-how. You have to work through the entitlement process. You have to make the numbers work. That is a skillset that I have, a skillset that I can bring to this company and its partners.
What traits have helped you build your CRE career?
Budish: I’ve always relied on getting smart about a certain product or skillset. I’ve done that. I’ve worked hard. Hard work is a big piece of this company. You have to focus on relationships. I do that. I found a passion for real estate at a very young age. I’ve had an interest in this business for a long time. I feel like I don’t actually work because I enjoy what I do so much. That combined with this long-desired goal to build a company from the ground up is all the motivation I need to get up every morning and work hard.
The relationship piece is important. I’ve already had deep-rooted relationships in the marketplace. That is so important. I’ve worked in this industry my whole career. That is fertile soil to start growing a company.
How many employees do you have right now?
Budish: Right now, it’s just me and Alison Donohue, our project specialist. She brings more than 10 years of real estate experience to the company and came with me from Duke. She has been such a big help in getting things going. We are looking to hire, too. Right now, we are focusing on winning business. We have more projects we will announce soon. We will be looking to hire soon, too.
What are your goals for the company for the rest of 2021?
Budish: The number-one goal for this year is to deliver. We spent all of 2020 and part of 2019 building the company. Now that we have a true company with true projects coming out of the ground, our number-one goal is to deliver. The goal for the next couple of years will be to deliver and to execute, to come through on our promises and projections. So long as we do that, we will continue to grow. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity out there. It is going to be an exciting time.