RED Awards
March 4, 2016

Erin Thorburn

Meet the RED Awards Community Impact winner

Have you ever conceptualized a western town schematic — with blueprints — in the fourth grade? Michael Pollack has. From a young age, Pollack, president and founder of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments, was already contemplating how to make the world a better place — one project at a time.

Immediately following high school in 1973, Pollack built his first home, which launched him onto a single-family and multifamily residential real estate career path that included more than 10,000 apartment units. His career evolved and expanded into all facets of commercial real estate and led him to work in California, Texas, Louisiana, Nevada and, ultimately, Arizona.

Many recognize Pollack for his dedication to community redevelopment and improvement, coining him with the moniker, “Renovation King.”  Although he doesn’t claim rights to royalty, Pollack is appreciative of being acknowledged as someone who could leave a positive and lasting legacy.

“If I can do my part to leave this world a better place than I found it, that’s what I want to do,” says Pollack.

Pollack’s hope isn’t a tall order, considering his invaluable contributions toward not only the communities he improves through renovation, but also through his tireless philanthropic contributions with such organizations as Goodwill Industries, Boy Scouts of America, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, Banner Health Foundation, and the Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa centers for the arts, as well as numerous other nonprofits and schools throughout the Valley of the Sun.  

How, may one ask, does the man who has been involved in more than 13 million square feet of real estate projects find time to dedicate to his surrounding community and causes?

“One day at a time,” Pollack says, “I wear a lot of hats and I enjoy most of them. I always try to make each day count for something.”

Pollack is intentional in whatever task he targets — whether arranging items in his three-dimensional advertising museum, playing with his band — “Pollack ‘s Corporate Affair” — at charitable fund-raising events, giving back to the community or redeveloping an existing property.

One of Pollack’s favorite projects to date was a 100-percent leased project on the southeast corner of Gilbert and Ray roads in Gilbert. It was somewhat inspired by the miniature western town he envisioned during elementary school. When tasked with keeping an iconic horse statue associated with the project, Pollack had to get creative.

“I received over 300 emails from people wanting me to bring back the horse,” Pollack says, “I ended up building a balcony above one of the suites similar to the kind you’d see on Disney’s Main Street — a sort of half-story balcony façade, and placed the horse on it. It was a challenge, but one I was glad to work on.”

As an added bonus of witnessing his projects come to fruition, Pollack has observed the byproduct of his transformations for the surrounding community.

“Renovation almost becomes contagious,” he says. “In many cases, I’ll see the community spirit revived with people painting houses, adding new roofs and landscaping. I’m glad to know that my work inspires people to take ownership of their community as a result of seeing the projects and improvements that we’ve done.”

So what’s next for this man who has impacted so many communities?

“There are so many real estate projects in need of improvement,” Pollack says. “My goal is to continue improving our communities one project at a time.”