Each year, Midwest Real Estate News runs its Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame issue. This year is no exception. We are also running the profiles of our latest Hall of Fame inductees online. Today, we look at the career of Bruce Block, shareholder with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren in Milwaukee.
Years in the business: 39
Playing a major role in Southeast Wisconsin: As a shareholder in the Real Estate Practice Group of Milwaukee-based law firm Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Bruce Block has played an important part in the economic growth and development of Southeast Wisconsin.
Block, for intance, worked on the public/private deal structure and the development of the Milwaukee Bucks arena and entertainment district in downtown Milwaukee, a key project that has pumped new life into the center of this city.
Block has also played key roles in the development of the downtown riverwalk system in Milwaukee, the development of the Foxconn manufacturing campus in Racine County and the development of the Northwestern Mutual campus expansion in Milwaukee.
These are all big deals that are changing the face of this slice of Wisconsin.
CRE knowledge: During his career of nearly four decades, Block has developed a deep knowledge of the intersection of commercial real estate and the law. His clients include institutional and private developers, lenders, municipalities and community development organizations. He has experience in land-use planning, zoning, tax increment financing, historic tax credits, multiple and mixed-use ownership structures and construction and design contracts.
Listening is key: Why has Block become such a trusted advisor in this business? He cites his willingness to listen to his clients.
“Careful listening and taking the time to think through alternatives are paramount in finding solutions to difficult problems,” Block said. “Respect the views of everyone in the room. Make friends. Invest in building relationships. Don’t shy away from the opportunity to perform a favor.”
The greatest challenge: Of course, building a successful career in commercial real estate doesn’t come without challenge. For Block, the biggest roadblock to deals often comes from participants who aren’t interested in compromise.
“If all players in a transaction are problem-solvers, then there are few challenges, simply issues to be discussed and worked out,” Block said. “If one or more parties have a zero-sum game mentality, then any issue, no matter how small, can become a challenge. It all boils down to attitude and perspective.”
Out-of-office hours: When not at work, Block enjoys a wide range of activities, everything from music and running to paddle tennis, movies, reading (mostly history) and solving crossword puzzles. And, like many Milwaukeans, Block is enjoying the current success of the Milwaukee Bucks. As he says, “Giannis rules!”