It’s no secret, Valley real estate entrepreneur Michael Pollack, of Pollack Investments loves collecting rare memorabilia. From his sought after Frank Polk Slot Machine collection to owning the largest 3D Advertising Museum in the World to a beautiful collection of rare Baranger displays, Pollack owns some of the biggest and most sought after collections around the globe.
Over the years many have stepped in to help the Valley real estate mogul track down his next great find. So it was no surprise that Pollack is showcasing his rarities with the help of Barry Weiss and the new series “Barry’d Treasure,” to help find his next beloved antiques.
Watch “Barry’d Treasure” on A&E April 15th, at 10PM/9C as the Valley’s favorite collector teams up with Weiss on the episode entitled “The Unbearable Enlightenment of Barry” to find Pollack’s next great treasure.
“This was a lot of fun, not only to be working with Barry, but for him to help me find another great addition for my collection,” said Pollack. “I have been collecting antiques since I was a little boy and anyone who knows me will tell you, finding these little gems and restoring them is a full-time job and I’m just glad Barry could help me.”
Michael Pollack, owner of Mesa-based Pollack Investments, started the month of May with a $2M sale of three remaining parcels of retail space near Main and 63rd streets in East Mesa.
Mesa Main Plaza LLC out of Salt Lake City purchased 6209, 6215 and 6247 E. Main St. for almost $2M from Pollack Investments on May 1.
The three parcels, which total 67,740 SF, sold as part of a five-parcel retail project Pollack gradually sold over the past few years.
“It became a non-core asset for us,” Pollack said. “We are moving in a different direction and it was an old partnership that we wanted to close out.”
Pollack purchased the five parcels as one project about 10 years ago for $2.4M. In 2009, Pollack sold the first parcel for $1M. A year later he sold two more additional parcels for $800,000. Pollack says he has grossed $3.8M on the project.
He says the idea to subdivide the retail space came many years ago from his late son, Daniel, also a real estate developer, who died in 2011.
“This is really the closing of a chapter for all of us at Pollack Investments,” Pollack said. “It was actually my oldest son, Daniel, who had the great idea many years ago to divide up this project into five separate parcels and sell them separately.
“In the end it was really the smartest move and now we are selling at a time when the commercial real estate continues to rapidly improve for this type of product.”
One of the parcels, a 45,000 SF retail space was at one time a Fry’s grocery store and more recently a Goodwill store before they relocated into a larger facility nearby.
Pollack said he decided it was time to sell when broker Jon Willis of Willis Property Company brought him a potential buyer who wanted to continue to do creative things for the property with the community in mind.
“I feel very good about the sale because the new buyer brings a lot of imagination and creativity on the leasing side for this particular project,” Pollack said. “We did a lot of the heavy lifting on the renovation and redevelopment of this property and now it just needs to be fully leased or divided up and sold to the end users.”
Mesa Main Street Plaza LLC says it is open to various opportunities and is looking to lease the three parcels as soon as possible.
“Mesa Main Street Plaza LLC plans to create a friendly environment to attract businesses that will enhance the lives of those living in the community,” said Eric Sorenson, managing director of Mesa Main Street Plaza LLC.
Over the past 20 years Michael Pollack has purchased dozens of distressed properties only to later renovate and reposition the property, but never before has this Valley real estate mogul purchased a strip mall simply because it looked bad and had a fiberglass horse atop it.
That changed recently when Pollack purchased the fiberglass horse and the 12,500 SF strip mall at the SEC of Gilbert and Ray roads in Gilbert for $500,000.
“I can remember looking at that horse when I first rolled into town 22 years ago,” Pollack said. “For me this is about the architectural challenge. We are taking something that is out of date and ugly and refiguring it to look like an old Hollywood Western town. We’ve even found a special place to incorporate this fiberglass horse into the new Western setting.”
A Chandler family under the name PBS Corp. owned the property for the past 38 years and was looking to sell the strip mall. Broker Brian Gast with Strategic Retail Group said Pollack was the perfect redeveloper for the property.
“When you look at what Michael Pollack has done around the Valley with hundreds of properties and shopping centers, this was a win-win situation for the buyer, seller, existing tenants and new tenants to come,” Gast said. “Michael is known for taking something that is quite frankly an eyesore and really making it beautiful and that’s what we need to get this center back up to 100% occupancy.”
Pollack says his first order of business will be finding a new Mexican restaurant tenant to replace Café Posada which will close its doors for good by the end of April. Renovations on the center, which is currently at 50% occupancy, will start right away. Pollack says he will then focus on finding more tenants to get the center up to 100% capacity.
With the anticipated corporation of the town of Gilbert’s planning and building department Pollack says the SEC of Gilbert and Ray roads will have a new look come summertime.
“As with every project we’re really excited to get going so we can once again make this a corner that both the town of Gilbert and community are proud to call their own,” Pollack said.
In the past year Pollack has transformed other distressed properties in Chandler, Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe. He will be closing on another deal in Chandler in the next 30 days.
Photo: Cory Bergquist, Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012
Austin Powers said it. Michael Pollack is doing it. One million dollars. When Pollack says he wants to put Arizonans back to work he is literally putting his money where his mouth is. Once again this week one of the Valley’s most generous entrepreneurs has reached into his pocketbook donating $100,000 to Goodwill of Central Arizona. This puts Pollack’s lifetime of giving to Goodwill at more than a $1 million.
“Simply put, I believe in what Goodwill stands for and that is putting people back to work, especially during times like these,” said Michael Pollack, owner of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments. “When you see the stories first hand like I have, people who are getting a chance to go back to work and feed their families and be productive members of society, it is very easy to continue giving to an organization that is truly making a major difference in our community.”
Goodwill of Central Arizona says Pollack’s $100,000 contribution this week is also its biggest cash contribution from an individual made to the organization so far in 2013. The organization says Pollack over the years has generously donated more than $1 million dollars between his cash donations, discounted/free rent and other in-kind contributions.
The biggest cash contribution came in 2010 when during the struggling economy Pollack wrote the organization a $250,000 check, the organization’s largest cash donation to date.
Pollack’s giving has not only come in the form of monetary donations, but the real estate entrepreneur has re-developed in-fill space that now houses Goodwill stores. Pollack Investments also uses Goodwill’s commercial services, like parking lot sweeping for about 60 shopping centers.
A year and a half ago – Goodwill honored Pollack with the Lifetime Achievement Award and this past October Pollack was honored with the 2012 Business Partner of the Year at Goodwill of Central Arizona’s 12th Annual Evening of Goodwill.
“We cannot express how grateful we are for Michael Pollack’s continued generosity and support of our organization.” said Jim Teter, president and CEO of Goodwill of Central Arizona. “We believe that through the power of work, every person, no matter their situation, can reach their fullest potential. And this recent donation will assist in our efforts to provide further job preparation services, at no cost, to our communities in central Arizona, Prescott and Yuma.”
Valley real estate investor Michael Pollack purchased a Phoenix commercial center with plans of re-investing in the neighborhood and renovating the neglected center.
Pollack purchased the 25,000 SF commercial center, which sits at the corner of Cave Creek Rd. and Grandview this past month for about $750,000.
With just a few tenants currently renting space, Pollack says he plans to spend several hundred thousand dollars renovating the entire commercial center so additional tenants can move in.
“No project is too small or too big, but we are selective in what we buy,” Pollack said. “And with this project we know we are buying it with the challenge in front of us.”
Pollack has redeveloped more than 10 MSF of real estate projects since his career began several decades ago. Pollack’s purchase of the Cave Creek and Grandview shopping center follows a pattern of buying distressed properties and refurbishing the infill space. He has done so approximately 80 times throughout Arizona.
“Finding that distressed property and taking something that was once an eye-sore in the community and making it come to life and function like it should once again for the people who live in those areas is what we do,” Pollack said.
As with many of the other commercial center properties Pollack has purchased over the years, the response has been tremendous from the surrounding neighborhood.
Pollack said the renovations should take about a month and he expects the commercial center to be leased rapidly. Pollack is seeing an increased leasing velocity in the past several months.
What was it about the real estate industry that attracted you?
My grandfather and father were in the real estate industry. Growing up, all I really knew was real estate. When I was in the fourth grade, I gave a presentation on how to read working blueprints. So I’ve been doing this a long time.
Video by Cory Bergquist
What qualities helped you become successful in your industry?
I believe that you have to be honest, you have to have integrity, and you have to work really hard. This is not a business that is easy. You have to be able to roll up your sleeves and work really hard.
What qualities do you think a successful CEO needs to possess?
I work sometimes seven days a week and four or five nights a week. But it’s not working to just work, it’s working smart. It’s important that you lead by example.
Are there any obstacles to working in Arizona that you might not face in other states?
We’re still not compared equally with metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago or San Francisco. They are seen much more as financial hubs. Our state leaders really need to focus on what’s important today: employment and diversification. We built this state on construction. We built the economy by building homes to house the construction workers. Now, we need to diversify so that we build a more sustainable economy.
How has your industry changed since you started?
When I started, you could do a residential contract on one page. So it’s changed a lot in that it takes a lot more paper to do essentially the same thing.
How do you think your industry is going to change in the next 10 years?
One of the things that is going to be very important going forward is the lessons learned — hopefully — in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. That lesson is that you cannot have the attitude of “build it, and they will come.” We have to build for a reason. Hopefully, that lesson will be in the forefront as we emerge from what has been some very dark days. The other big change is that we are going to see retailers getting smaller again. They grew into these supermega-sized boxes that were so big you needed a golf cart to go through them. That’s going to shrink. We’ve learned that the biggest is not necessarily the best anymore.
What has been your most significant challenge as CEO of your company?
The biggest challenge of my career was not getting carried away with the hype and exuberance of the marketplace in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 to the point where I could have easily over-leveraged and put myself in a position where I would be unable to make a recovery during the economic downturn. I watched so many friends and colleagues feasting on debt and getting to do all these projects while I watched from sidelines, telling myself, “This does not making economic sense.” Having the discipline to do that was the biggest challenge of my career.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I think we’ve truly been able to make a difference in the communities that we have worked in. Some of our redevelopment projects have changed neighborhoods and changed areas of our cities. My goal is to continue to make the communities we work in a better place one day and one project at a time.
Vital Stats: Michael Pollack
Has been involved in more than 11 million square feet of projects.
Is the drummer for Corporate Affair, a band that plays charitable events.
The Pollack family business began in 1937 in San Jose, Calif., when Sidney Gambord,
Michael Pollack’s grandfather, decided to enter the real estate development business.
Entered the real estate business in 1973 while he was still in his teens, building
Began doing business in Arizona in 1991 with the purchase of a 23,623-square-foot
shopping center that was 90 percent vacant. Within months, the occupancy rate climbed to
more than 90 percent.