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Mike Haenel, Chairman, NAIOP - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011

NAIOP-AZ Mike Haenel A Major Player In Future Of State's CRE Industry

NAIOP-AZ chairman Mike Haenel a major player in the organization and in the future of state’s CRE industry

For 26 years, Mike Haenel, executive vice president for Cassidy Turley/BRE Commercial Industrial Group, has been successful marketing industrial and back-office land and building space in Arizona.

In the early 1990s, he even did a brief stint in the development side of the business.
Since 2003, Haenel has completed 300-plus deals worth a combined $740M. He also has collected several industry awards along the way.

But Haenel said he couldn’t have achieved these significant accomplishments without his partner, Andy Markham, and the support of Cassidy Turley.

They have been able to close transactions during the good and bad times.

So for more than two decades, he has been an active member of NAIOP — the organization he considers a must for anyone hoping to be a major player in Arizona’s commercial real estate future.

Now as NAIOP Arizona chairman, Haenel gets to set the course for the organization.

It’s a challenging time to be at the helm.

Arizona’s commercial real estate industry, like that of much of the country, is adrift in turbulent waters.

In Arizona, the industrial segment has hit bottom and is slowly heading back into better times, Haenel said.

The Phoenix metro area absorbed 3 MSF of industrial space in 2010, and, with the new Amazon warehouse deal, already surpassed 4 MSF by mid-year 2011.

“There are several large build-to-suits looking in the marketplace, and we expect to exceed 5.5 million square feet (absorbed by year-end),” he says.

But the office market, NAIOP’s other purview, is still foundering with too-high vacancy rates and too low rents.

Still, Haenel offers tempered optimism for that segment going forward.

Office rental rates “showed some stabilization” in second quarter, he says, and that is a hopeful sign.

“If we continue to absorb industrial space as we have for the last 18 months, I see speculative development again within the next three years,” Haenel says. “Clearly, office would be longer.”

NAIOP will be essential for charting a clear course through the still-choppy seas ahead, he adds.

Industry professionals banding together, exercising their combined clout and sharing knowledge and experience, helps them survive the difficult times and prosper when the storm clouds dissipate, Haenel says.

“NAIOP is such a great networking organization,” Haenel says. “It shows how important relationships are especially in a period like this. The relationships you create, nurture and foster help as the market recovers, but help (especially) when the market is as tough as it’s been.”

Haenel said while it’s a rough time for Arizona’s commercial real estate industry, it’s really not so bad sitting in NAIOP’s pilot seat.

The previous chairman, Todd Holzer of Ryan Companies US, and NAIOP Arizona president Tim Lawless, have set so many fruitful programs in motion, Haenel just has to hold the wheel steady, he says.

“I am grateful for the past chairmen and current/past board members who have built the organization to what it is today,” Haenel says.

But he has his own pet programs, too.

Member education, developing the industry’s future leaders and fostering positive public policy, are top focuses for the new chairman. He sees them as the keys not just for his organization, but for the future of Arizona’s commercial real estate industry.

Providing networking events, information sessions, and education opportunities for more than 540 members is so important for fostering relationships and keeping industry pros abreast of issues and concerns that impact their business, he says.

The Arizona chapter’s Market Leader Series, quarterly events that feature small panels of experts on such important local topics as job growth, distressed real estate and the like, has garnered standing- room-only attendance, he says.

This year, local members also get to share with their peers from around the country and showcase their own state’s attributes as Phoenix hosts NAIOP’s annual meeting in October.

Other key strategies for Haenel as he steers the NAIOP ship forward are mentoring and encouraging the next generation of local commercial real estate leaders to ensure the industry remains vital for the short- and long-term future.

“As we continue to get older, we are blessed to have some great young people coming up in the ranks,” he says. And Haenel is determined to indoctrinate them with the importance of his “build relationships” mantra.

He is a big backer of NAIOP’s Developing Leaders program, aimed at the under-35 up-and-comers, and the Arizona chapter’s DL Mentor Program, a new initiative that has been a year in development and has just launched.

Along with continuing education for all members and developing and nurturing the young members, the third leg of Haenel’s stool of NAIOP initiatives aimed at nursing the state’s commercial real estate industry back to health, is influencing public policy.

The group lobbied hard for HB2001, dubbed “the jobs bill,” which has several elements including tax incentives and the new Arizona Commerce Authority to proffer those enticements to businesses looking to expand or relocate. Haenel hopes the new legislation will reinforce Arizona’s image as business-friendly and provide a big lure for new or growing businesses and their commercial real estate needs.

Haenel says NAIOP will continue to pressure the legislature on issues that the organization feels could make Arizona more competitive for any type of businesses, and to educate members on the legal ramifications of any new or proposed bills and clarify why they should care.

His assessment of the local commercial real estate industry’s short-term future is that Arizona has all the right elements to take advantage of the recovery as it gains ground, and, long-term, to grow and prosper.

“Arizona is considered a top-tier commercial real estate community,” Haenel says. “We are so lucky to have the quality of professionals in Arizona to create and develop first-class commercial real estate projects. And that allows us to attract, compete and win high quality jobs.”NAIOP-AZ Chairman Mike Haenel

For more information about NAIOP-AZ and chairman Mike Haenel, visit www.naiop-az.org.

AZRE Magazine September/October 2011