Britt Casey, Cushman & Wakefield’s executive director of industrial services, spoke with Chicago Industrial Properties about the latest trends of the industrial real estate market and his passion for racecar driving.
Chicago Industrial Properties: How did you get involved in the industrial real estate market?
Britt Casey: I started in the industry directly out of business school. I made contact with a family friend who had been in the business for several years at Grubb & Ellis. He hired me as a runner/assistant. I started there on July 20, 1987, which happened to be my 22nd birthday. That’s how I remember the exact date.
CIP: Why have you remained in the industry this long?
Casey: Aligning myself with the Cushman & Wakefield organization has been invaluable. This company encourages an entrepreneurial approach, which essentially enables me to run my own business. At the same time, the scope of the organization and its deep talent pool provides a network that facilitates wide-scale, multi-market client representation. I enjoy the challenge of making complex projects work, and I have the resources here to meet every requirement a client could present.
CIP: As an industrial leasing specialist, what sets Cushman & Wakefield apart from other companies?
Casey: Cushman & Wakefield’s integrated approach enables us to look across a client’s different – and not necessarily mutually exclusive – needs, whether industrial, retail or office, and strategize accordingly. That sets our platform apart. Additionally, we invest a great deal of time and resources in market research, which provides us with an invaluable tool when it comes to advising our clients in their real estate decision-making process.
CIP: What are the current trends of the industrial real estate market?
Casey: We continue to see significant mid-size transactional activity in the Greater Chicago market, with strong demand in the 40,000- to 200,000-square-foot range. Currently, there seems to be a lull for industrial deals in excess of 200,000 square feet here. As availability of quality space continues to tighten in our region, we are witnessing the cautious return of speculative development.
CIP: Please share some of your company’s recent successes.
Casey: We recently leased-up a 275,000-square-foot TA Associates Realty building at 900-910 Kimberly Drive in Carol Stream, with commitments by two tenants – Diamond Marketing Solutions and Ingram Micro. In Schaumburg, we completed a 76,000-square-foot lease to Hi-Grade Welding and Manufacturing at Indcor Properties’ 140 Commerce Drive. Outside of the immediate market, we just brokered a 166,000-square-foot lease for Global Experience Specialists (GES) in Las Vegas and finished a 361,971-square-foot property sale for Sears Holdings in Denver.
CIP: What’s the most challenging aspect about the industry?
Casey: A great deal of patience is required to develop as an effective, successful broker. It takes time, commitment, education and the ability to surround yourself with smart people. Orchestrating projects and bringing them to a successful close while simultaneously developing new business also can be a bit of a juggling act. Achieving that balance is not easy – but absolutely critical.
CIP: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Casey: Spending time with my family is always the number-one priority. Additionally, beyond my career as an industrial broker, I am a professional racecar driver, and so is my son. I am heavily into racing in the TransAm Road Racing series, and my 16-year-old son recently was picked up as a driver for Freedom Autosport from Raleigh Durham and races in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series.
CIP: If you’re a basketball fan or a hockey fan, who do you think will win the championship? The Spurs or Heat? Or the Kings or Rangers?
Casey: Does Dale Earnhardt Jr. play basketball or hockey?