LevRose defines gender shift in commercial real estate
Keri Davies, partner at LevRose Commercial Real Estate, specializes in office leasing and investment sales. Danielle Davis, also a partner at LevRose, specializes in retail leasing and sales.
While they each work in two different product types, when it comes to their clients, they share a common goal – present them the best opportunities to succeed.
They also share a common goal when it comes to mentoring and advocating for other women in commercial real estate.
“It’s great to see more women in the industry,” Davies says, “but we’re still the minority. What’s giving me and other women a competitive edge of sorts, and adds to our numbers, is that companies are actively recruiting women and diversifying their workforce.”
Davis agrees that there has been a shift in the commercial real estate culture.
“When I first started, commercial real estate was still very much a male-dominated industry. As more women entered the business, it naturally courted more women. I don’t see anything holding it back at this point,” Davis says.
Hitting her stride quickly
Davies was born in Edina, Minnesota. She moved to Arizona and earned a bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University. Her primary duties include investment sales; owner/user office building acquisitions and sales; landlord and tenant representation; and leasing.
Notable clients include GoDaddy, Planet Fitness, Arizona School of Real Estate and Business, Triumph REIT, Geneva Financial, Stone Creek Furniture, Petwin Properties, ASBA (Arizona Small Business Association), Digital Dental and All State Insurance.
She possesses more than 25 years of strategic sales and marketing experience. Davies has worked with more than 500 business leaders and corporate clients in helping right-size and expand their office portfolios domestically and internationally.
Davies’ foray into commercial real estate was with flexible office space provider Regus.
“Learning to keep our product as a solution for our clients was my entrée into office,” Davies recalls. “I started doing 20 deals a month for Regus and thought to myself, ‘You should be doing bigger and better deals than just swing space.’ I got my real estate license and started plotting my next move.”
She joined LevRose in 2014 and was able to work directly with Jonathan Rosenberg, the firm’s Designated Broker/Managing Partner/Co-Founder. As a team, they grew their “book of business” and eventually added another member, Jason Reddington, CCIM.
“I hit my stride right away. I started closing more and bigger deals,” Davies says. “I felt LevRose was the right size firm to get the attention and coaching I needed to springboard me into a book of business. In the bigger brokerage houses, you kind of reap what you sow. You’re constantly asking ‘how long is the runway going to be before I can be a producer?’”
Working with Rosenberg was a “huge mid-career moment,” she says, adding his mentoring was invaluable.
“When I see other agents trying to get established, I see some of them struggle because they don’t have a mentor that cares about their success. Or they don’t belong to a team.”
A home and work family dynamic
Davis was born in Upland, California, and raised in Yuma, Arizona. Her primary duties include acquiring lease and sales listings, calling tenants to backfill space, and finding buyers for buildings for sale.
She began her career in 2005, completing hundreds of lease transactions at Retail Brokers, Inc. Davis joined LevRose in 2007. Here combination of business skills and industry knowledge allow her to provide innovative and extensive resources to both her clients and colleagues. She is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). She holds a bachelor’s degree from ASU.
“I do well and have thrived at LevRose because it’s a smaller boutique firm with a tight knit group of people who treat each other like family,” says Davis, the mother of twin boys. “We also have all the support possible between interns, marketing, various databases, and all the other real estate platforms we need to succeed.”
The retail market locally and nationally seems to always be weathering storms. If it wasn’t the Great Recession, it was e-commerce or COVID-19. While Davis works in several geographic areas of Metro Phoenix, she has a particular area of expertise in the Old Town Scottsdale submarket.
“There is a lot of demand and little supply, which makes rents the highest I’ve seen since before the downturn,” Davis says. “I think we will continue to trend away from the large power centers and see more mixed-use development footprints. The majority of tenants want frontage on a major street. That means less shop space and more pads (freestanding parcels).”
COVID-19, Davis explains, only pressed the pause button.
“It really didn’t stop anything,” Davis says. “Now the flood gates have opened. COVID pushed more people in drive-through type of businesses. You saw a lot of smaller gym users taking advantage of outdoor spaces. People felt more comfortable with retail options they were seeing during the pandemic.”
A look at their respective markets
With the Valley’s expected growth, there will be a need for more retail, and that supply will help drive down rents, provided construction costs get under control, Davis predicts.
“We’ve already seen lumber come down to pre-pandemic levels and hopefully the same for other materials, barring any long-term supply chain issues. Overall, I see a more conservative approach to retail development and an increase in demand, which will hopefully balance itself out to stable growth over the next five years.”
On the office side, Davies says the Valley’s market is very tight. Inventory on the acquisition side is very low.
“It’s very difficult to offer solutions to buyers. It’s an ultra-competitive market,” Davies explains. “You’re seeing multiple offers on most listings. Buyers need to be more prepared than they have ever been. They’re being asked, ‘What is your budget? Have you been approved for a loan?’
“The response is, ‘I will be able to get to that when I find the right building.’ That’s the kiss of death,” Davies says. “There are already 10 people ahead of that buyer. Most of them are prepared, pre-approved, and know precisely what they need. They are the ones who will succeed in the market.”
Trends always seem to define the office market, including the work-from-home scenario that played out during COVID – and is still playing out.
“Trends? It all depends on who you ask,” Davies says. “And you will always get different answers. What resonates with me is there isn’t a one solution fits all. Companies will continue to need to be open and flexible and tailor their solutions based on the team, the individual or the department. I see nothing to the effect that office is going away.”
Davies says she is optimistic about the Valley’s office market.
“We’re very fortunate here in the Valley and in Arizona,” she says. “Companies that had Arizona on their radar now have us on the front burner. So many companies are finding value in moving here or adding a location. Cost is still low, the talent pool is great, and there is space to grow. That’s what makes me the most optimistic.”
The personal side of the business
Away from the office Davies enjoys playing sand volleyball and pickleball. Davies is an avid Scrabble player and has been ranked nationally by the National Scrabble Association.
“I played in NSA-sanctioned tournaments and finished in the money. Living in Minnesota, we played a lot of board games when it was cold outside,” she says with a laugh.
The personal accomplishment of which is she most proud is publishing a national magazine and making Partner at LevRose. The best business advice she’s been given?
“Success comes from hard work; there are no shortcuts.”
Away from the office Davis enjoys spending time with her family. Playing sports and board games are a big part of her family life.
The personal accomplishment of which is she most proud is making Partner at LevRose. The best business advice she’s been given?
“In this business, one day you feel like you’re on top of the world and the next day you feel you don’t belong. One those days, you wake up the next morning and make your calls.”