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VOL. 121 | NO. 169 | Monday, August 28, 2006

Young Go-Getter Racks Up $14.4 Million In Commercial Sales In Only Three Weeks

By Andy Meek

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DEAL-MAKER: Reuben Stein stands in from the Bonnie Lane Office Center off Old Dexter Road, which he recently sold for more than $10 million. -- Photograph By Andy Meek

In the past three weeks, a commercial real estate broker at Re/Max On The River has closed more than $14.4 million in real estate deals in Memphis, with more on the way.

Reuben Stein, 22, the senior vice president of Re/Max's commercial group, brokered the sale of two strip centers and an office park - in Cordova, Bartlett and Memphis - to Nightingale Properties, a New York-based group of investors.

The sales were part of some $27 million in commercial transactions Stein recently has handled in Tennessee.

The three Memphis sales landed on Stein's radar after he saw them listed on the Memphis Area Association of Realtors' (MAAR) commercial Web site and began to do some digging.

Hot on the trail

Stein worked with a broker partner on each of the three deals, which included a 15-building office park in Cordova and the Appling Ridge and Spa Plaza strip centers.

"I think all the areas are strong and continuing to grow," said Stein, who helps broker local sales for the Nightingale firm in addition to his work at Re/Max.

"I think Bonnie Lane (office park off Old Dexter Road), especially, is a sort of diamond in the rough," he said. "It's the only office project like that that I pretty much saw in the Cordova area, so I thought we would have an edge in terms of the office space. And that was a $10.2 million sale."

"Reuben is young, a very aggressive new agent who has really taken the bull by the horns and done what he needed to do to get the job done. And that's hard to do in the commercial side of the business. Most of the time it takes somebody a year or two years to get their commercial business up and running, and that he's a little beyond his first year and closed these kinds of deals is really impressive."
- Stan Holmes
Broker who opened Re/Max On The River along with two others in 2005

Tenants in Bonnie Lane Office Centre primarily are medical users, which Stein said probably will remain the same. The other properties he recently sold were Spa Plaza at Raleigh LaGrange Road and Covington Pike, and Appling Ridge at the corner of Summer Avenue and Appling Road. They sold for more than $1 million each.

And they're par for the course when it comes to the kinds of commercial real estate Stein scours the Memphis area to find.

"They're basically very, very simple deals - that's what we're going after," he said. "Stuff that's got terrific leases. And often times we go after stuff that needs to be rehabbed, if we can get it at a good price. We'll just do the work, get it up to par and sell it off."

Youthful, yet focused

Colleagues describe Stein as a young entrepreneur with an aggressive, take-charge streak. Elie Schwartz, CEO of Nightingale Properties, called Stein indispensable to the group's efforts in the South, particularly in Tennessee and neighboring states.

"Basically, anything we ask him to get done, he gets done," Schwartz said. "He takes care of all our clients whenever they fly down there - he meets them, he greets them, he takes care of all their needs. He's great, that's the best way to put it."

For Stan Holmes, one of three brokers who opened Re/Max Downtown in 2005, the words of praise strike a similar chord.

"Reuben is young, a very aggressive new agent who has really taken the bull by the horns and done what he needed to do to get the job done," said Holmes, whose brokerage company's office is at 500 South Main St. "And that's hard to do in the commercial side of the business. Most of the time it takes somebody a year or two years to get their commercial business up and running, and that he's a little beyond his first year and closed these kinds of deals is really impressive."

Right place, right time

Re/Max bills itself as the first national real estate franchise to head into the exploding Downtown Memphis market. Holmes opened the office along with brokers Allen Everitt and Carol Lott. Stein is one of 18 agents listed on the firm's Web site.

The way Stein's deals work for Nightingale is he scouts around for them and Nightingale either acquires them or syndicates them out to partners. His ties with that firm go way back, in that he grew up with some of the principal players.

And the team has more commercial property closings on the way in Memphis. In Nashville, Stein and Nightingale have been involved in several million dollars' worth of property transactions recently, including an $8.3 million contract that was signed on Friday.

"It says a lot for Reuben and his drive to succeed," Holmes said.

And about his interest in closing simple - and attractive - commercial real estate deals: "Bonnie Lane was just several beautiful buildings, very well maintained - Spa Plaza and Appling Ridge were sort of the same idea, but they're smaller," Stein said. "It was very simple, very clean cut. We didn't assume anything; we just did everything free and clear."

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 72 368 16,413
MORTGAGES 66 422 21,432
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 61 4,251
BUILDING PERMITS 176 877 39,378
BANKRUPTCIES 60 294 15,542
BUSINESS LICENSES 20 98 5,491
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 69 423 23,573
MARRIAGE LICENSES 17 95 5,035

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