Category Archives: Insight

Arthur Murray Franchise Finds Retail Space for Lease in St. Louis

An Unexpected Party on a Weekday Afternoon

In 2006, Lola Kim was walking down West Illinois Street in Chicago. It was a weekday afternoon, so she was mystified when she passed a storefront that was pulsing with music and full of people dancing. A trained musical theater actor and dancer, she had to find out what was going on.

She had stumbled on an Arthur Murray Dance Center, a worldwide ballroom and social-dance training franchise. Founded by Arthur Murray in 1912 as a mail-order business, he created a simple system for teaching ballroom dances, saying, “If you can walk, we can teach you how to dance.”

Ms. Kim became a devotee of the method which teaches twenty-five dances in only ten lessons. She enjoyed participating in the three-part system, which included private lessons, group lessons, and a weekly dance party that engaged students in a real social setting.

She soon became an instructor for the downtown Chicago location. Within six months, she was promoted to the center’s Manager. Overseeing every aspect of the operation, she hired and trained new instructors, ran the payroll, and made sure the location, one of the top 5 worldwide, remained profitable.

After 12 years leading the studio, she was ready for a new challenge. Arthur Murray International asked her if she wanted to bring a franchise to the St. Louis market. As a native of the region, it was an opportunity too good to pass up.

With support from Arthur Murray International, she needed to lease retail space in a part of St. Louis that would be convenient for students as well as provide enough room for dance classes.

The Search: Finding Retail Space for Lease in St. Louis

Lola and Mark Kim went to work on the project together. Consulting with Greg Russell at Colliers International, they found space quickly in Webster Groves and came to a verbal agreement, but a national company swept in and made an offer the Kims couldn’t compete with.

After that, Ms. Kim spent nearly two years checking listings and driving around town, looking for the right retail space for lease in the St. Louis area. On one of her drives, she spotted the famous Hilliker “Red H” sign at 14334 Manchester Road. The space, at just over 5000 square feet, was the right size.

Nico Properties (owned by Nuria, and Nicholas Citrin) purchased the raw land in 2005 for its retail business, GCO Carpet, with the assistance of longtime friend and broker Frank Yocum at Hilliker Corporation. Yocum had represented Nico Properties’ interests since 1999, completing seven other transactions for them.

They built the building that housed GCO a year later. Though the Citrin family sold the business in 2011, they still own the property and the building.

Nuria Citrin, a part-owner of Nico Properties, said she was looking for a tenant that would pass muster with the City of Manchester’s rigorous business ordinances. However, she was also looking for a business that would complement the existing tenant, Sincerely Yours Bridal.

Also, Yocum and Greg Russell had worked well together in the past. They knew they could negotiate a win-win.

As the two parties began to talk, the Citrins and the Kims saw an opportunity for a mutually beneficial partnership.

Stepping into a New Retail Space

For the Arthur Murray Dance Center, the location is perfect. Situated at a stoplight on Manchester Road just west of MO-141, Wal-Mart and Costco anchor the property. The building itself has glass on three sides with signage on both Manchester and Meramec Station Road. And best of all, more than 50,000 cars pass the high-visibility location daily!

With a truck-high dock and wheel-chair accessibility, the most significant change for the new studio is the installation of a new dance floor. Mark and Lola Kim are working with R L Contracting, LLC, for that and other needed updates.

Partnering to Create a Win-Win

Frank L. Yocum

Ms. Kim enjoyed working with both Greg Russell and Frank Yocum.

About Yocum, she said, “Frank’s a solid guy. He was always available when we needed him, to come out to meet with a general contractor, or whatever. We asked a lot of him, and through it all, we found him to very kind, funny and entertaining!”

Mrs. Citrin says of Yocum, “We have a very good relationship. Frank has been our broker since 1999, and we’ve worked with him on every deal since.

Citrin is happy at the match between the two businesses in her building. Besides teaching classes, she sees Arthur Murray as a place “to prepare people for the wedding,” pairing perfectly with Sincerely Yours Bridal. The Kims see the opportunity as well. Mr. Kim calls the situation “just unbelievable.”

Converting the Retail Space into a Dance Studio

Ms. Kim says, “It’s an amazing space. It’s perfect, especially compared to everything else. And our new landlords are great. We believe it’s very important to develop a relationship with the owner. It’s really one of the things we’re most excited about.”

With renovations underway, Lola and Mark Kim are on schedule to open the St. Louis branch of Arthur Murray Dance Center in July 2019.

 

Retail Space for Lease in St. Louis: Are You on the Hunt?

At Hilliker, we have solutions for you. Whether you need help negotiating a lease for a space you’ve already found, or you’re starting from scratch, we have the expertise to guide you to a successful outcome.

How can we help you?

New Mosquito Joe Franchisee Calls on Hilliker to Find Office Space for Lease in St. Louis

A Yard Overrun by Pests

Laura Strasser lives in Des Peres, Missouri. With two kids and four dogs, she has plenty of reason to worry about mosquitos, fleas, and ticks. More than a nuisance, these insects can carry viruses, so she takes them seriously.

To deal with the problem, she became a customer of a local franchise of Mosquito Joe, a nationwide chain that specializes in eliminating these pests.

After three treatments, Mosquito Joe technicians were able to kill most of the mosquitos in her yard (they estimate 95%). They treat other kinds of properties as well: baseball fields, soccer fields, restaurants with outdoor seating, and others.

As someone who had owned franchises before, Strasser knew a great business model when she saw one. After doing a little research, she decided to invest in three St. Louis-area territories. She needed to find a small office space for lease in the St. Louis area.

Finding Manchester Road Office Space for Lease

With a house in Des Peres and a child in an Ellisville school, Strasser started looking on Manchester Road.

Strasser and Family

Her needs were simple. Mosquito Joe franchises don’t require much space, and in Strasser’s case, she only needed to find about 2000 square feet to receive shipments and outfit her small fleet of vans with the supplies they need for a day’s work.

On a drive, she found a potential candidate. Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corporation represented the property owners, so she called and asked about the space.

She liked Aschinger immediately. “He didn’t start by trying to get me to lease the property I was interested in initially. He started by asking me questions like, ‘What are you looking for? How can I help you find something?’”

As it turned out, the space she called about wasn’t a great fit. But she continued to work with Aschinger, who researched and shared multiple properties for her consideration.

A Prime Location for a Unique Need

They zeroed in on a retail center at 14560 Manchester Road.

Though Mosquito Joe doesn’t need high visibility (they seldom get walk-in clients), the property owners had space for lease behind the building on a lower, hidden level. Situated near MO-141, her drivers would be able to get to the highway without having to fight Manchester Road traffic.

Putting two spaces together, Aschinger and Strasser were able to strike a deal with Hutkin Development Corporation and carve out 1900 square feet of office and storage space. Settling on a five-year lease, Hutkin also performed some light buildout, including adding a water spigot for an outdoor hose.

A Low-Stress Transition

Strasser was pleased with the process, saying, “Will is doing it right. We looked at several spaces. And when we finally settled on this building, one of Hutkin’s owners came out to meet me. I’ve worked with several landlords before, and that rarely happens.”

Strasser says that with heavy rain combined with possible flooding, it may be a challenging year for mosquitos in the St. Louis area. Her team is working to put chemical barriers around properties while educating landowners about how they can enjoy the outdoors this summer.

Strasser and her Mosquito Joe franchise were able to move into the new building and start operations in less than a month, thriving as people begin to prepare their yards for spring.

Does Your Business Have a Unique Property Need?

Do you need a lease solution customized for your company’s needs? Give Hilliker a call. We’ll help you find what you need.

Omni Physical Therapy Works with Hilliker Corporation to Purchase Commercial Real Estate in St. Louis County - Des Peres

A Welcoming Environment for PT Patients

Commercial Property in Des PeresPhysical therapist Dr. Hunter Knight, DMP, believes each of her patients has a right to her undivided attention.

At Omni Physical Therapy, she made it her mission to see only one patient per hour. With three private treatment rooms, a fourth room for massage therapy, and two full-service gyms, she and her staff can focus on offering patients one-on-one care, whatever their needs.

An all-inclusive physical therapy (PT) provider founded by Dr. Knight in 2009, Omni has cultivated a welcoming environment, reporting a 99% customer satisfaction rate from a recent in-house survey. With a staff that includes a massage therapist, a personal trainer, and an ergonomist, they work together to maintain a comfortable and inviting space for their patients.

Finding a New “Home”: Going from Rental to Purchasing Commercial Real Estate in Des Peres

However, the medical space Omni was leasing at 1000 Manchester Road (near I-270) was at cross-purposes with Knight’s vision. Though it served her business for many years, she hoped to one day own a building that exemplified the personal care she was used to giving her clients.

Additionally, she no longer wanted to pay the high rent her space required. She wanted to invest in a building and property that would serve her business well into the future.

For Knight, it was time to purchase commercial real estate in or near Des Peres.

Believing that moving too far from her original location could prove harmful to her relationship with her patients, she wanted to stay within a five-mile radius.

One day, out for a drive, she saw the house at 13314 Manchester Road for sale. Listed with Will Aschinger at Hilliker Corporation, she called the number on the sign, and the two of them got to work.

Working Together to Build Omni’s Future

The house, owned by Fred Bueler of Bueler, Inc. (a residential design and modeling company), was 3200 square feet and had served as the company’s showroom, warehouse, and office. They purchased the building in 1991 after growing out of two separate rental spaces. Like Knight, Bueler was ready to stop paying rent. He had envisioned the two-story home as perfect for his growing business and made that a reality.

With parking in the rear and a 1600-foot walk-out basement, he worked to turn the former home into a showroom and office. When he decided it was time to retire in 2018, he started asking trusted advisors for a referral to a high-quality local broker.

A. William AschingerAfter several conversations, he called on Will Aschinger, the name that came up more than once.

Bueler says, “Oddly enough, Will and I ran into one another when I was coaching [my grandson’s fifth-grade basketball team].” Aschinger coached his own son on an opposing team, and the two developed a rapport.

Bueler prepared the house for sale: painting the walls, removing his inventory, and making small repairs. At one point, he and Aschinger had the building under contract but were disappointed when the previously eager buyers had to pull out of the deal.

Dr. Knight’s call came at the right time. Leveraging inspections already been completed under the previous contract, Bueler and Knight were able to arrive at a mutually beneficial deal quickly.

Building on Mutual Trust and Integrity

Aschinger, Knight, and Bueler enjoyed working together, each one commenting on the other two parties’ commitment to do what they had promised promptly.

For Knight, her practice is set to blossom now that she is paying rent directly to herself. Happy to be able to take control of her destiny, she’s now building equity in addition to creating her business.

The house works well with the aesthetic, brand, and customer experience she has defined as her goal. As the owner, she and her colleagues are doing half of the remodeling work themselves, contributing to the “personalized” feel of the new office.

Additionally, with a backyard where many of her patients will be parking, she’s eager to get to work doing some gardening, a hobby she believes will serve her business by beautifying the grounds and creating an even more welcoming environment.

Omni Physical Therapy will have a gym both on the top and bottom floors plus four private rooms for treatment. Having built a wheelchair ramp to ADA specifications, the building will be ready on April 1, a new home for Omni’s valued clientele.

Are You Ready to Stop Leasing?

Is it time to start paying yourself rent? If so, you may be ready to purchase commercial real estate here in the St. Louis area, and we’re here to help. Get started on your search today!

Do You Know What You’re Signing? Here’s How to Understand Your Commercial Real Estate Lease Agreement

Here’s a familiar story.

An entrepreneur is outgrowing her current space or is ready to lease new space for the first time. She goes for a drive, sees a sign on a building that looks like it might fit her company’s needs, and calls the number listed.

She asks the broker or the building owner, “How much is the rent?”

The person on the other end of the line may give her a quote based on square footage or a ballpark monthly estimate. But that number is rarely the full story.

Leases are complicated, and there are many items to consider and negotiate that have an impact on a business owner’s budget. For example:

  • Who will pay the property insurance?
  • Who will pay property taxes?
  • What modifications will the renter need to make to the building, and how much will the landlord pay for any of her needed improvements?

My colleagues and I shine when we get to help business owners figure out how to make a lease agreement work for them. We get into the weeds of the contract, ask hard questions, and go to bat on our clients’ behalf.

We know what needs to be done and how to negotiate the particulars of a real estate deal. In this article, part of our series on how to find commercial property in St. Louis, we’ll talk about the different lease structures and how to negotiate a deal that makes the most sense to the renter and the property owner, setting both parties up for a long and fruitful relationship.

St. Louis Commercial Real Estate Lease Structures 101

St. Louis Skyline

Every lease has a base rental rate, which is the first number a broker or property manager might quote when asked. But each lease is structured based on how you and the owner will divide the expenses of occupying the building.

Every detail of the agreement will have to be defined in such a way that the tenant and landlord each know what they’re responsible for. We’ll begin negotiations by asking several questions, including:

  1. How long will the lease last?
  2. How much does the security deposit need to be?
  3. Who is paying for utilities?
  4. Who will pay the insurance?
  5. Who will pay the taxes?
  6. Who will pay for maintenance?
  7. Who will pay for capital improvements?
  8. Who will pay for buildout (and will there be a tenant allowance)?
  9. Is the rent based on the usable or rentable area?
  10. What parking is available, and how much will it cost?

While every agreement is potentially different and demands careful review, here are the primary ways leases are structured.

  1. Full-Service Lease

Full Service Lease

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the Cadillac of leases where the property owner covers most everything. They usually take care of common spaces, bathrooms, elevators, taxes, insurance, janitorial cleaning, and utilities. They will usually even come and change lightbulbs when one burns out.

You typically pay one monthly amount—though you may negotiate additional services—and you can leave the details to the landlord.

Usually found in high rises and cared for by management companies, there are fewer hidden costs or fees in this sort of lease. Though you are in essence paying for everything, you won’t suddenly find yourself paying for higher insurance costs or taxes (unless it’s stipulated in your lease).

  1. Gross or Modified Gross Lease

A gross lease refers to the tenant paying a set amount of rent per month with no additional rental expense for taxes, property insurance, or maintenance.

 Often the tenant will pay for their utilities, janitorial services, or interior maintenance.

If it is a modified gross lease, the tenant may incur additional expenses not present in the typical gross lease. This may reflect additional expenses to the tenant.

Often, the rent on a property might cover the expenses for the first year of the lease, but then the tenant will be responsible for increases in subsequent years. Among other things, this could include increases in:

  • Property taxes.
  • Insurance
  • Operating expenses.
  1. Single-, Double- and Triple-Net (NNN) Leases

Net Lease

 

These very common lease types deal with how the landlord and tenant cover taxes, property insurance, and maintenance.

In a triple-net lease, the lessee will need to cover all three categories of expenses. In a double-net, two out of the three, and so forth.

Most landlords in the St. Louis area prefer to structure their commercial real estate leases this way. And though it seems simple on the surface, remember that every lease has the potential to be different, and the agreement needs to be reviewed by a professional, item by item.

  1. Sublease

When a lessee is ready to move out of their rented space but is still under contract, they may sublet to another tenant. This is an excellent opportunity for certain businesses who don’t want to sign a long-term lease.

A sublease might be right for you if:

  • Your business is growing quickly, but you’re not sure how to project your growth. In other words, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. It will allow you extra time to shop for space while you figure out what you want to do next.
  • You’re phasing down your business but not quite ready to close up shop. If you still have customers to care for, but you’re getting ready to retire or close for some other reason, you may consider this option instead of a traditional lease.
  1. Lease with an Option to Expand

Lease with option to expand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to rent a space that’s currently the right size, but you expect to grow out of it soon, you might consider adding an “option to expand.”

If other spaces open up adjacent to yours—or elsewhere in the building or center—this part of your contract will act as a “first right of refusal.” Before the landlord opens up to other tenants, you get to decide if you want to take on that space in addition to your current lease agreement.

As of the publication of this article, the retail market has slowed. Things change quickly, but right now many St. Louis-area landlords are willing to add this detail (or consider other concessions) to your commercial real estate lease agreement in a space traditionally used for retail.

Don’t Forget to Consider Other Costs

What modifications will you have to make to the building? Are there contractors or architects you’ll need to hire? What zoning requirements and special permits will you need to take care of?

At Hilliker, we’re happy to help you make sure you’ve considered all these costs as you head out looking for commercial real estate for your business.

St. Louisans: Need Help Negotiating a Commercial Lease Agreement?

We at Hilliker are here to help. We’re professionals with many years of collective experience, poised to guide you through every stage in the process.

Give us a call and tell us how we can help you.

Frank L. YocumFrank L. Yocum, VP of Sales for Hilliker Corporation, began his career in commercial real estate brokerage in 1977. In 1993, Mr. Yocum joined Hilliker Corporation where he is a Vice President and is involved in all facets of commercial, industrial, institutional and investment real estate.

Through his experience honed, real estate expertise, his diligent efforts and creativity, satisfying his clients’ real estate needs, Mr. Yocum has established a large, loyal clientele. Many of Mr. Yocum’s clients have relied on him for decades.

You can learn more about Frank and his clients here.

Naked Boot and Shoe Brings Handmade Shoes to Chesterfield, MO

Bringing High-Quality Shoes Directly to Customers

Jim Ferguson has spent his career in the shoe manufacturing business. Relying on years of experience, he knows what it takes to create high-quality handmade leather shoes.

He also knows what goes into the price of those shoes: wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. He and his partner, Bob Weber, had an idea to cut out the middlemen to bring high-quality leather shoes directly to the St. Louis area.

Together, they established Naked Boot and Shoe, a St. Louis-based handmade shoe line and retail store.

They did so by first establishing a relationship with Pakistan-based Tannery KTM Leather, a company that could use the all-natural process Ferguson believes would create the highest quality leather in an environmentally friendly manner.

Weber told the Webster-Kirkwood Times, “Because of our partnership with KTM Leather, we own and control our entire supply chain. Without the middle-man, we are able to pass our cost savings directly back to the customer.”

Additionally, they brought in senior merchandiser and fashion designer Kelly Weber (also Bob Weber’s niece) to help create custom designs for Naked Boot and Shoe. Only twenty-two, her work is already garnering attention from renowned designer Nicole Miller.

The partners opened their first location in Webster Groves at 8157 Big Bend and found it resonated with customers immediately.

Building on that momentum, they decided it was time to open a second location, this time in Chesterfield, MO. To find the right retail space for rental, Mr. Ferguson called on commercial real estate brokers Rebecca Thessen and Jeff Altvater at Hilliker Corporation.

Looking for the Perfect Fit in Chesterfield

The opportunity in Chesterfield was clear. With lots of shopping in the area and a clientele used to a high-end experience, there were no handmade shoe boutiques in the area. Naked Boot and Shoe could fill that need but first had to find a small retail space for rental in Chesterfield, MO with complimentary businesses nearby.

At the same time, Thessen and Altvater’s clients at 1590 Clarkson Road had an opening. Owned by Southern Real Estate and Financial Co., the building’s anchor tenants are Talbot’s and Chico’s, with a nearby nail salon and yoga studio. The open space, once occupied by a gourmet cupcake shop, had been vacant over a year.

Ferguson loved the space and decided to pursue it.

Cutting Out the Middleman

Thessen commented that representing both the tenant and the landlord made for a smoother negotiation process.

In such circumstances, she says, “I know the expectations of both the tenant and the landlord,” and that not going through a third party made the process “more time-efficient. I know them. I know what they like, and I know what they don’t like.”

Thessen said of Ferguson, “Jim is a great guy to work with, very efficient, very on top of things. He’s familiar with the business.”

Additionally, Thessen and Alvater were excited to have a retail solution already lined up for their client, an opportunity afforded them by being part of the Hilliker team.

 The Right “Next Step”

Southern Real Estate’s John Roberts says, “It’s exciting to have [Naked Boot and Shoe] in the Chesterfield area,” believing placing them near Chico’s and Talbot’s will benefit all three stores, adding to the success of the retail center.

Positioned for expansion, Ferguson and Weber are bringing their vision for high-quality handmade shoes to West County. Naked Boot and Shoe’s second location at 1590 Clarkson Road is set to open March 15, 2019.

 Looking for Retail Space for Rent?

Hilliker has solutions for you. Whether it’s in their database or listed with another company, we work tirelessly to find something that meets your needs. Get in touch with Hilliker today!

 

St. Louis Business Purchases and Rehabs South County Retail Plaza

Family-run Fire Truck Business Set to Rehab South County Retail Plaza

From Childhood Dream to Thriving Business

Commercial Real Estate St. LouisBill Franz grew up loving fire trucks. And in 1986, he saw an ad in the paper that changed his life.

It had a phone number and a simple message: “Sell fire trucks.” Bill was in. He called the number and went to work for a company out of Chicago doing just that.

Soon, he and his wife, Norma, decided to start their own firetruck sales company out of their house. It’s grown into Sentinel Emergency Solutions, a thriving family business with two locations in the St. Louis area: one in Arnold, one in Freeburg, IL.

Sentinel sells, repairs, and customizes fire engines for municipalities throughout Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. They also provide the life-saving boots, helmets, gear and breathing apparatuses firefighters use every day.

In 2007, Bill’s son Brian Franz became a partner in the business, and several members of the family are also heavily involved.

With a lease on their Freeburg, IL, location set to expire, Sentinel was ready to buy commercial property in the St. Louis area, one that would bring their two sites together. They also wanted room to grow, looking toward the future.

For that, a mutual business advisor referred them to Brendan O’Brien of Hilliker Corporation.

A Belief in Serving Communities

Bill and Brian Franz hoped to find a piece of raw land where they could build a structure that would suit the needs of their unique business model: bays for repair and customization, offices, a showroom, and a large lot.

They knew they needed to stay near I-255 for the sake of their clients. Brian said, “There are gravel floors in some southern Illinois fire departments. They have Bingo nights to pay for gas.” Neither Bill nor Brian wanted to ask these valuable customers to drive any farther than they needed to.

However, there was little raw land or other industrial buildings that would suit their needs. With the help of O’Brien and their partners at Doering Engineering, they saw an opportunity.

Franview Plaza, a commercial retail space in unincorporated St. Louis County and just off Telegraph Road, looked like it might meet their needs. An L-shaped retail strip with several tenants, the largest space had gone unfilled for seven years. Having been initially occupied by an A&P grocery store, it had many tenants over the years but was now sitting vacant.

As the demographics of the location had changed, there were few obvious solutions for new tenants. The owners, Franview Partners, were ready to divest themselves of the property and looking for the right match. They needed someone who would take care of the building’s current tenants and had a plan for the grocery-store-sized space.

Incredibly, Franview Partners were represented by Hilliker’s Will Aschinger, so O’Brien and Aschinger went to work on their clients’ behalf, looking not only to benefit the two businesses but also the community.

An Unexpected Solution: St. Louis Commercial Retail Space

St. Louis Commercial Real Estate Retail

Bill and Brian knew the benefits of purchasing already-developed land: that drainage, grading, and other pieces of infrastructure were already in place.

The Franzes hadn’t considered taking on tenants, but they immediately saw the potential. Tenants meant income, and though they saw how much work the building needed, they were up for the challenge.

As for the old grocery store space, O’Brien came upon a highly creative solution. He suggested Sentinel adapt this now obsolete retail center, recommending they tear it down and construct their ideal building from scratch.

In total, Sentinel would acquire 55,000 square feet of St. Louis-area commercial property but only keep 20,000. The rest would be torn down and rebuilt into a beautiful, state-of-the-art, 30,000-square-foot facility.

Everyone was on board.

Aschinger and O’Brien spent many hours guiding their clients through the process of securing zoning approvals from the county. In the end, Sentinel’s real estate investment arm, LJC Commercial (owned by Brian & Maria Franz), purchased 2828-2830 Telegraph Road in South St. Louis County for $1,500,000.

Businesses Working Together for their Community

Mehlville School DistrictJim Roberts, of the Franview Partnership, was happy to see his company’s investment getting a new life. He said, “The center needed to be refurbished … It was time to make changes, but it’s hard to find credit-worthy tenants, and we wanted to do something positive for the neighborhood.”

Roberts sees Sentinel’s plans for the commercial property as a way to “create new enthusiasm” in the region, hoping the upgrade will also mean more revenue for the Mehlville School District in particular.

Brian Franz was ecstatic with Hilliker’s work on the project. He said he had been searching for a broker who would “communicate with me and really be on our team. We needed somebody who would kind of steer us down the path. Brendan was in constant communication with me. And having him and Will in the same office was a real help to us as well.”

With plans drawn by Dial Architects, work is underway. Sentinel plans to break ground in the spring of 2019 and move in by January 1, 2020.

St. Louis Business JournalBut wait – there’s more! Read Here to find out what the St. Louis Business Journal had to share about this new development!

What Are Your Business Goals?

Is it time for a move new retail, office, or industrial space? Give us a call or browse our property listings. We’d love to hear from you and help you along your journey!

St. Louis Builder Finds New Headquarters and Showroom in Fenton

Mahn Custom Homes and Renovations Purchase New Headquarters, Adding Showroom, in Fenton

Creating a Personalized Experience

Mike MahnIn 1998, Mike Mahn saw an opening in the construction industry. As someone who believed in quality work and service, he noticed too many contractors and builders settled for cookie-cutter solutions and unreliable timelines.

In response, he founded Mahn Custom Homes to work on custom homes, historic renovations, home remodels, and light commercial projects. He’s grown the firm into a multi-million-dollar operation with over fifty employees, consultants, and suppliers.

The company continues to grow, and faster than ever. In October 2018, Mahn brought on five new full-time employees, putting their office space at a premium. Warehouse was limited as well, overflowing with materials for upcoming projects.

Concurrently, Mahn had a desire to take the company’s design services to a higher level. He wanted space to showcase many of the options available to clients.

Recognizing the company needed a new place to call home, Mahn called on Will Aschinger of Hilliker Corporation. Together, they started to look for something to meet all of Mahn Custom Home and Renovation’s needs.

Finding Commercial Warehouse, Office, and Showroom Space in St. Louis

Commercial Property St. LouisAschinger and Mahn had specific criteria for their building.

First, they needed about 3000 feet of St. Louis-area commercial office space along with 2000 feet of commercial warehouse space. They also needed to be as close as possible to their original Kirkwood location, stay close to a major intersection, and be convenient for their current employees to commute to and their customers to find.

Additionally, Mahn focused his business model on offering the highest possible levels of customer service. Preferring to call his clients members of his family, he’s always looking for ways to create a second-to-none experience them.

As they looked for a new space, Mahn decided to search exclusively for buildings with a showroom, adding a higher level of service than ever before.

Aschinger brought all of his expertise to the project, knowing that such a building would be hard to find. After assessing commercial warehouse and office spaces throughout the St. Louis area, concentrating near Kirkwood, the two found success in nearby Fenton.

A Custom-Made Solution

Mercury Communications, which had just been purchased by Keeley companies, no longer needed their building at 1710 Larkin Williams. They were ready to divest themselves of the property, vacate their space, and find a new landlord for the tenants in the rest of the building.

It met all of Mahn’s requirements, including office space, warehouse space, and a showroom. Already zoned for light industrial use, it sits close to the intersection of Highways I-44 and I-270 on a highly visible corner.

Moreover, it met one of Mahn’s wish-list requirements: tenants. Tenants would provide cash flow from the beginning while allowing the company to have a building they could grow into over time.

Though the building was built in 1970, it had been completely renovated in 2011 and was ready for its new owners to customize immediately.

In the end, Aschinger brokered a deal for Mahn Custom Homes and Renovations to buy 1710 Larkin Williams from Mercury Communications for $1,225,000.

The new building positions Mahn to continue to expand their current operations while having a much wider range of offerings available to their customers. The showroom’s grand opening will take place on Sunday, May 5.

St. Louis Business JournalBut wait, there is more – read HERE to find out what the St. Louis Business Journal had to say about this development!

Can Hilliker Help You?

What are your business goals? Is it time for a move to a new warehouse, office, or showroom?

Give us a call or browse our property listings. We’d be glad to help you!

Quality Auto STL, moves to Westport with help from Hilliker Corp.

Quality Auto STL, Built on Foundation of Helping Veterans, Finds Commercial Rental Space in Westport

A Dedication to Excellence

David Marks founded Quality Auto STL in 2010. Having worked in the industry since 1999, he jokes he bought a “garage with a house in front of it” to build a business that has gone from a part-time venture to a full-time, profitable career—one set for expansion.

In addition to auto repair, Marks has his dealer’s license. He seeks out and repairs used cars on behalf of clients who trust his knowledge and skill.

From the beginning, he decided to use these skills to give back to veterans, of which his dad is one.

Supporting VeteransMarks volunteers his time with The American Legion’s Vehicle Donation Program. He repairs donated vehicles and, using his dealer’s license, brings them to auction. As a representative of The American Legion, he sells them for a profit that goes to helping veterans, among the organization’s other programs.

It’s work he’s proud of.

Meanwhile, Quality Auto STL has prospered. By 2018, Marks knew he was ready to find commercial rental space in the St. Louis area. For this, he chose Frank Yocum of Hilliker Corporation.

An Opportunity for Expansion

As Marks and Yocum lined out the opportunities for Quality Auto STL, the challenges were immediately apparent.

First, they knew they needed a relatively small St. Louis-area commercial rental space near his current location on Lackland, eliminating several options.

Additionally, since Marks wanted to keep operating as a dealer, they concentrated their search on Maryland Heights, the only nearby municipality that would allow for an auto repair shop to also sell used cars.

The next hurdle was finding someone who believed Quality Auto STL could operate a clean and organized business on their property. Marks came with a track record of taking care of his current location, but he and Yocum would have to convince potential landlords of this.

After visiting and evaluating more than seven locations, Yocum found a nearly 2700-square-foot commercial rental space in the Westport area of St. Louis that was clearly the ideal choice for Marks’s long-term success.

Negotiating a Win-Win

Negotiating Commercial LeaseMad Pak, LLC, owns the building at 11457 Schenk Road. It had commercial rental space opening up that was the right size for Quality Auto STL—large enough to eventually bring on more staff, but small enough to meet its current needs.

The broker for the building knew Yocum and Hilliker Corporation for its second-to-none reputation, lending credibility to Marks’s fledgling enterprise. Mad Pak and Quality Auto STL were able to strike a deal for a 5-year lease.

With the building chosen, Yocum and Marks went to work getting the property zoned for an auto repair shop. The two attended hearings together and were able to take care of the zoning requirements quickly and efficiently.

Poised for Future Progress

commercial rental spaceNow under construction, the new building in Westport is perfect for Quality Auto STL to continue its growth and success. Marks says he enjoyed working with Yocum, having benefited from his integrity and experience.

Marks said of Yocum, “If he says he’s going to handle it, it gets done.” Also, when Yocum needed Marks to do something, it was clear and actionable, making it easy for Marks to do his part.

Yocum enjoyed Marks’s enthusiasm and ambition, saying the two would remain friends for years to come.

Set to move in on March 21, Marks plans to continue his work for the American Legion and hopes to use the new building to grow his business and keep helping others.

Are you searching for Commercial Rental Space?

Our staff is committed to helping people just like you. No matter the size of the space you need, we’re here to assist you in reaching your goals. If you’re ready to make a move, get in touch today.

How to find Commercial Property in St. Louis

Looking to Rent or Buy Commercial Property in St. Louis? Here’s How to Start your Search

Over the next several months, members of our team of Commercial Real Estate Pros will be sharing their expertise with people like you — business leaders poised to move to a new office, warehouse, retail, or industrial space.

 In this article, our broker, Brendan O’Brien will outline the topics we’ll be discussing and get you oriented as you start your search.

Going from Overwhelmed to “I Can Do This!”

commercial real estate searchWhen you’re ready to move your business, the sheer number of opportunities—along with the pitfalls—can be intimidating.

Most business owners only sign a handful of commercial property leases in their lifetime. And those who feel ready to purchase a building are making a substantial investment that could tie up their capital for many years.

There are new terms to learn (or re-learn). Tons of decisions to make. And intricacies to be aware of.

But finding a great new space does not have to be overwhelming. Qualified Commercial Real Estate Brokers can steer you through the process, helping you get what you need while making your life easier.

Commercial Property in St. Louis

Every market has its challenges and opportunities. As of the publication of this article, St. Louis is seeing a growing number of business owners looking for space, but new construction isn’t keeping up.

However, when it comes to commercial real estate, change is constant, and qualified brokers are people who know the history of their area but stay on top of what’s happening now. Residential agents, though they may be able to help you choose a great home, don’t have the same kind of background.

It’s also important to find a broker who works with an organization that has deep resources and broad experience. A company like Hilliker Corporation shines in these respects.

As you get ready to find a new space, here are some topics your agent will want to discuss with you. In the end, the goal of every great agent is to help you make the ideal choice for your business, your employees, and your customers.

What Are Your Business Goals?

Business GoalsQualified brokers want to help you make a choice based on your businesses’ current and projected needs. To do that, we’ll need a good idea of what your goals are and what your plan is to get there.

We’ll also need to know your budget. Some people are uncomfortable communicating their budget, fearing being taken advantage of. But good Commercial Real Estate Brokers take your budget seriously and look for ways to get you the best possible solution in the current market.

Feel like you’re ready to make a purchase? A commercial property purchase can be a solid investment, and good for businesses that can project their growth with relative certainty.

 However, many moves are part of a quick expansion or projections that involve greater speculation.

In those cases, you’ll want to be familiar with the different lease types, how they get quoted, and what each includes. That way, you’ll be able to make an “apples-to-apples” comparison.

What Type of Lease Is Best for You?

There are several different types of leases. Each one outlines what aspects of the building and its maintenance you’ll be responsible for, as well as how you and the landlord will handle the reimbursement of taxes and expenses.

Leases also state what the building owners are responsible for, along with what contribution they’ll make to whatever improvements or changes you’re planning.

In the coming weeks, we’ll delve into the intricacies of leases, but here’s an outline of the primary lease structures:

  • Triple Net – the lessee (or the tenant) is responsible for all the costs of the space they’re leasing, including all repairs, insurance, and property tax.
  • Double Net – the lessee is responsible for insurance and property tax.
  • Gross – the lessee pays a flat rate encompassing the taxes and insurance costs associated with the property.
  • Modified Gross – the lease begins with a base year lease rate. Should taxes or insurance increase beyond the base rate, the lessee (that’s you!) will pay the difference based on how many square feet your business occupies.

Depending on your projections for the future, a sub-lease (taking over an existing lease from a company who no longer needs the space) or a lease with an option to expand may serve you best.

Matching your needs to the right lease is where good Commercial Real Estate Agents shine, knowing how to negotiate on your behalf with your best interests at heart.

Where Would You Like Your Commercial Property Located?

St. Louis Metropolitan AreaThere are a few things to consider.

First, where are you currently located? If it’s already working for you, then we’ll want to start looking for a property close to your current space.

If it’s not working or you’re starting from scratch, you’ll want to find a place that’s easy for your employees and customers to get to. If the commute to your new site is difficult for everyone involved—or even just for you!—then you’ll regret the move as long as your lease lasts.

You can also ask: Where is the center of my life? Where is the center of my employees’ and clients’ lives? Maybe we can find a place near where you already shop, eat, and live.

We’ll also want to determine how visible your business needs to be. We don’t want to bury you in an office park if customers need to see you from the road. At the same time, many businesses are served best by office parks and industrial areas. Which are you?

What Size and Features Do You Need?

warehouse features

To determine office space, you’ll need to start with the number of staff members you have and how many square feet each person on that staff will need. If you plan on expanding, bring that into consideration as well.

Then, add what you think you’ll need for ancillary spaces like a copy room, a break room, and storage or warehouse spaces.

We’ll also want to discuss what the property needs to look like. You may need to impress clients with high-class finishes and an appealing neighborhood. You may need to keep things simple to serve the nature of your business and clientele.

Anything else you can tell us about how your business operates will help us narrow your search, save you valuable time, and get you where you need to be as quickly as possible.

Ready to Get Started?

When you’re ready to make a move, you need a pro you can rely on to get you the best possible space given the parameters you set and the realities of the market.

A great Commercial Real Estate Agent knows the ins and outs of leases, lease negotiations, and purchases. They want to help you get the most out of a deal while keeping your reputation intact.

If you’re looking for a Commercial Real Estate Agent, Hilliker Corporation would love to help. Give us a call, and we’ll do all we can to get you to the very best space for your needs!