NYREJ: Company of the Month
Building success and sharing property management know-how in a robust real estate market; engages in residential and commercial projects on Long Island for 60 years
GARDEN CITY, NY – In a rebounding real estate market, the concept of investing in commercial property is looking more appealing to investors. However, the benefits of owning commercial space are often outweighed by the work and risks involved in negotiating leases, handling repairs and staying on top of expenses.
Many individuals who invest in real estate have full-time careers in other fields, and if they start out as their own property managers, they soon find that they have to rely on other individuals or companies to handle the responsibility, sometimes with widely varying results. Luckily for the real estate investors on Long Island and in the metropolitan New York area, Breslin Realty is now offering its expertise in property management to other property owners.
Breslin Realty has been engaged in the development for both residential and commercial projects on Long Island for 60 years, filling its portfolio with visions brought to life by its president and CEO, Wilbur Breslin. From its start in an office only as large as “two phone booths put together,” the company has grown in excess of several million s/f of commercial space in multiple states.
Offering specialized retail and commercial leasing services, Breslin Realty has been named a designated developer for some of the highest ranked national retailers including: Costco Wholesale, Walmart, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Home Depot, Starbucks and Walgreens, to name a few. Local and national retailers consistently seek Breslin’s advice about how best to position and market their properties and locations within the retail community.
With so many high-profile company names as clients, it may surprise individual property owners that Breslin also has services available for them. For the first time in its long and storied existence, Breslin is offering the same property management services and lease negotiation know-how that it applies to its own properties to those owned by others.
“Starting in the 1970’s, there seemed to be a trend for professionals from all walks of life to invest in real estate – doctors, lawyers and dentists especially – but they were really inexperienced in the retail market and how to manage space,” Breslin said.
“We not only know how to manage the business end of things for them, but we can also manage the real estate end that involves understanding space requirements, negotiating leases, handling tri-party agreements and all kinds of other issues you run into when owning commercial real estate,” he said. “I’m very sympathetic to the concerns of the retailers because I’ve worked so closely with them through the years. I’ve been on the outside looking in, but working alongside them, so I have that knowledge.”
Bob Rosenberg, director of property management for the company, agreed that Breslin’s expertise in lease negotiation is unrivaled. “Wilbur has taught us how to get every dollar out of a lease,” Rosenberg said. “He has been so central to the commercial real estate industry in this area that some of these negotiated points people use today are actually based on concepts he has invented.”
Rosenberg illustrated other ways in which Breslin Realty has helped property owners maintain or even save their investments.
“I remember one case where an investor was relying on non-professionals to advise her. She became overwhelmed with her accounts payable, she neglected maintenance and she failed to increase rents and recapture expenses. Her rents remained flat for years and by the time she retained our services, she was losing more than $100,000 per year,” said Rosenberg.
It got so bad that she actually lost one of her properties at an auction over a $5,000 water bill. Once Breslin took the assignment over, things began to turn around. They created budgets for each of her properties, filed all the needed permits and applications for her, and we began to physically improve the assets which had been neglected for many, many years and began to diligently pursue tenants who had fallen behind on their payments.
“We started increasing rents to be consistent with the market and we began to recover utility expenses from tenants who had in the past relied on the landlord for payment,” said Rosenberg. “Now her properties are increasing in value and she is feeling more at ease with what the future holds for her.”
The company’s clients have also expressed surprise over how much money they are saving by hiring Breslin. Leo Berkowitz, for example, owns a retail strip in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., but lives in the Bronx and works in Brooklyn. “So it’s all but impossible for me to have a hands-on management approach to my property,” he said. “I knew I was getting ripped off with the former property manager, but I figured I had little choice until I hired Breslin. Just the other day I called Bob Rosenberg and asked, ‘Is it a coincidence that my repair bills have almost disappeared in the last three to six months?’”
Rosenberg credits such savings to the fact that his company owns so much real estate that “vendors compete against each other to earn our business. We are offered savings that most landlords could never negotiate on their own. These low costs are then passed on to our clients.”
Rosenberg said, “After so many decades of hands-on property management, there is rarely any situation we haven’t solved, planned for or prevented.”
Wilbur Breslin, reflecting on the thought and long-term planning Breslin Realty brings to all its work, be it in new development, the redevelopment of established properties or third party property management services, said, “We are people who look at land from a development standpoint. We have a vision as to what it could be and which tenants we want to put there. We have never bought land just to say we bought it cheap to flip it. We don’t do that.”
Sometimes that vision includes preserving land. In 1993, Breslin was one of the main land owners who worked together with the community and the political leadership that led to the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act of 1993, which protects over 100,000 acres of Long Island’s last remaining wilderness and the aquifer. “I consider this my greatest achievement,” Breslin said. “Through this act, the need to provide economic growth to this area is in balance with the need to preserve our natural resources for generations to come.”
Describing himself as an “old-timer,” Breslin chuckled at the thought of the company’s recent entrance into social media. “Sometimes you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but we try.”
Breslin said he will use his company’s website and Facebook page to let people know about new properties and opportunities as they become available, special promotions from their retail tenants and all other news pertaining to Breslin Realty.
Breslin closed with advice of value to anyone wanting to emulate his record of achievement. “To be a good developer, you need to show people over time that you are honest and reliable. This sort of thing can’t be faked, he said.”
“If you can work with what you’re given and make the whole more valuable than the parts you started with, and if you know how to build relationships, you can become the kind of person who overcomes obstacles that would stop anyone else,” said Breslin.
To learn more about Breslin Realty, visit its website at www.BreslinRealty.com.
To speak with Bob Rosenberg about third party property management services, call him at (516) 741-7400 extension 246.