Keeping St. Louis Connected
In a world of wireless technology, it’s easy to forget the infrastructure upon which almost all telecom is built: Transmission cables strung between poles and buried beneath our feet. Though satellites are a growing part of our daily reality, millions of wires still connect all of us.
With 30 years in the industry, St. Louisan Bob McLaughlin understands this as well as anyone. And in November 2018, Adam Baumgartner, president of Chicago-based Sunrise Telecom, recruited McLaughlin as Director of Operations for the company’s St. Louis branch. (Sunrise also has branches in Texas, Nevada, and Florida.)
Here, McLaughlin acts as the project manager, overseeing an office staff of 18 and a contractor base of two-dozen linemen. His teams install coaxial and fiber cable for companies that include industry titans like AT&T, Spectrum, and Verizon. For these companies and others, they offer a range of services:
- Aerial construction and installation
- Underground drilling (trenchless excavation and horizontal boring)
- Voice Over IP (VoIP) installation
- Home Security Installation
- Hurricane Relief Telecom
- And many others
When McLaughlin came on board, he and Baumgartner saw one area in which they needed to make an immediate change.
Looking for Warehouse with Fenced-in Outdoor Storage in St. Louis, MO
Sunrise had been leasing space in a multi-tenant office and warehouse building at 155 Weldon Parkway in Maryland Heights when they hired McLaughlin. The office area provided enough room for those Sunrise employees who spent much of their time at the office. The warehouse was adequate, if not spacious.
However, most Sunrise Telecom employees, along with all of their independent contractors, spend the majority of their work hours in the field. Though they aren’t present at headquarters from eight to five, many of them begin and end their workdays there.
Additionally, Sunrise stores eight fleet vehicles plus front loaders, box trucks, cable spools, and drills on-premises.
Here was the problem: the building’s landlords had only allocated four parking spaces to Sunrise. It just wasn’t enough. Sunrise vehicles occupied every available space around the campus. Since their lease was coming to an end, though, Baumgartner and McLaughlin were ready for a significant upgrade to their Commercial Real Estate lease.
Baumgartner searched for spaces online, finding six possibilities. When McLaughlin went to check them, though, he discovered none of them had the right combination of office space, warehouse, and fenced-in storage.
Tapping into Hilliker’s Network of Brokers
McKay and Barry heard what Sunrise needed and began their search. While completing their discovery process, Barry discovered his colleague Jeff Altvater had a client with a very pressing need.
Altvater’s client was in the middle of a lease at 4709 La Guardia in Berkeley, MO, but needed to back out. They were looking for someone to assume the lease. The space had 7200 square feet of office and warehouse combined.
As Barry discussed the property with Altvater further, he discovered it included about 9000 square feet of outdoor, fenced-in, secure parking.
Barry made the connection. It was only 10 minutes away from Sunrise Telecom’s location in Maryland Heights and would give them access to highways I-70 and I-170.
When McLaughlin saw the space, he knew it was perfect. He said, “Everything I have here is substantially more than we had before. It’s about 40% more space inside.”
He continued: “What made it attractive is that we had no outside storage before. Now, we have an area that’s fenced off to protect it from the general public.” And, as a bonus, “It has security cameras pointing in the fenced-off area plus on the back door.”
Connecting the Dots
Because the former tenants were in a hurry to move out, Sunrise could move in quickly. However, the city of Berkley asked for some unexpected and significant alterations to the space. The requests put Sunrise behind their hoped-for move-in date.
Sunrise’s new landlord, Ken Long, agreed to finance and oversee most of the buildout. The Hilliker team connected with Long two contractors to bid the project. Long chose one to complete the initial phase.
However, Long and McLaughlin found a way to finish the necessary work quickly and inexpensively.
Barry told the story of when McLaughlin realized Sunrise could pitch in: “Bob mentioned he had electricians on staff along. He also has workers with a wide variety of construction skills. We soon realized Bob and his squad could do most of the work for free, so they hit the ground running. It was a win-win for both parties.”
Thanks to the synergy between the Long and the Sunrise team, along with the inter-office coordination of the three Hilliker brokers, the building passed full inspection on August 29, 2019.
McLaughlin relied on McKay and Barry throughout the process, saying, “They were exceptionally good to work with. If I needed something and called, they were on it from the get-go. All in all, the Hilliker team was very responsive.”
Has your business outgrown its current commercial property?
Since its inception in 1985, Hilliker brokers have completed over 10,000 transactions. Through them, we’ve learned never to treat an organization of any kind as “typical.” Every single company has its own set of needs, circumstances, and challenges.
As such, every single business presents its own Commercial Real Estate opportunities.
At Hilliker Corporation, we look to facilitate one-of-a-kind opportunities for our clients. And when you work with one of us, you know you have a team of Commercial Real Estate professionals on your side.
If your business has outgrown its current property — or whatever commercial real estate challenge you may be facing — talk to someone who finds opportunities for entrepreneurs like you.