Daniel “Danny” Levison has 40+ years of experience as a REALTOR®, investor, landlord, and manager of a commercial brokerage. Danny’s investment company, Atlanta Investment Properties, specialized in purchasing, leasing, and managing multi-tenant commercial properties within a 100-mile radius of Atlanta, Georgia, until they sold the 25 building 1MM sq ft portfolio in October 2015 for $35MM. Additionally, Danny was managing broker for Commercial Property Professionals where he oversaw their third party managing and leasing teams representing more than 1MM sq ft in 30+ buildings.
Emily Line (EL): You have a track record of successfully leasing traditional office space in one of the most vibrant commercial markets in the country. Yet you’ve recently taken a leap into the co-working scene. What led to that decision?
Danny Levison (DL): Co-working spaces have exploded onto the office scene and it’s not just entrepreneurs and freelancers anymore – big business is making use of these innovative work environments. Co-working is no longer a concept unique to Silicon Valley, but has blossomed into the largest component of the shared economy. A major takeaway from Deskmag’s “Global Coworking 2016 Survey & Forecast” is that co-working spaces are not just for start-ups anymore. They provide big benefits for big business.
EL: It’s simple to get the value proposition for a start-up with limited capital – co-working provides office space without a long-term commitment. But what are the benefits for established corporations?
DL: Co-working creates the opportunity for corporate and entrepreneurial businesses to collaborate in ways that create business opportunities and business opportunities create jobs. It’s all about supercharged networking. KPMG is a great example. They’re a top global accounting firm employing tens of thousands of workers and they provide some of their workforce “flex-work” environments at co-working facilities. KPMG values being close to startups and small entrepreneurial businesses that could quickly scale up and become clients or who they can contract for specific projects.
There’s also terrific value in utilizing co-working spaces for the convenience of holding client meetings. The notion of meeting clients in the middle, providing a neutral location and reducing time spent traveling is a value efficiency. Lastly, if there are short-term special projects that require additional space or an offsite location for a confidential initiative, renting a co-working office for a month or two may be ideal.
EL: You successfully launched SharedSpace in Atlanta over a year ago and have aggressive plans for expansion throughout the Southeast. How do you pick locations?
DL: Our plan is to focus on secondary cities and grab market share. We know the younger generations live and breathe community, openness, and collaboration. We dive deep into demographic and economic stats for a market. We want to know current numbers and projections for the general population, validate the strength of the local economy, study the patterns of millennials in those markets, understand the job growth, identify the professional focus in the area, and concentrate on technology-focused markets. We spend time researching home building and overall development projects in a geography and of course stay dialed in to reports on hot markets. We also look for specific economic generators or projects in communities that will drive economic growth.
EL: What technology do you use to conduct that market research?
DL: *Laughs* Clearly RPR®! My REALTOR® Benefit. It saves us time and money. Esri is the premier source for this type of data and we’d have to pay a sizable amount of money to aggregate and make sense of the stats versus signing into RPR® and consuming Esri information immediately. RPR®’s ease of use and depth of data allows us to conduct meaningful analyses before even stepping into a market. We would be guessing when it comes to choosing the next location if it wasn’t for RPR® data telling us where there’s a need and exactly how we can best market to a particular area’s demographics.