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NREI Feature on Steve Core


Steve Core to Lead RiverRock as President

National Real Estate Investor

Jennifer V. Hughes

Mon, 2013-03-25 11:16


RiverRock Real Estate Group promoted Steve Core to president of the West Coast-based commercial real estate management and leasing firm.

Core will oversee the firm’s 80-member team and all business lines, which include property/asset management, construction management/engineering and technical services, receiverships, property accounting, financial management and due diligence. The firm manages 22 million sq. ft. of office, industrial and retail real estate.

Prior to his promotion, Core served as COO for RiverRock and specialized in growing the firm’s property management, construction management and leasing business. Previously, he was director of property management at CBRE Group Inc. (formerly Insignia/ESG), where he was responsible for overseeing property management operations of a 7-million-sq.-ft. office, industrial and retail portfolio in the Orange County and San Diego regions.

NREI talked to Core about trends in new construction, what’s exciting in retail and what companies are doing now that wasn’t possible two years ago. An edited version of that interview follows.

NREI: Let’s talk about new construction. In a lot of sectors and in a lot of areas this has been on hold due to the economy. Do you see things picking up?

Steve Core: We do see some pickup in construction depending on the area. For instance, in Orange County we are seeing industrial construction coming back; in the Inland Empire there is a good chunk of industrial under way where slabs are being poured and it’s already 75 percent pre-leased. That signifies a nice turnaround when industrial starts to pick up.

NREI: Is industrial a kind of bellwether for other sectors?

Steve Core: I think so. When you start seeing industrial coming on, you see positive things happening; when industrial needs more space and more businesses are coming into the area or starting up, that’s a good sign. It’s a sign of growth that has not happened in the past five years.

It isn’t just people relocating, it’s new uses and expansions of existing users. It’s definitely favorable. In San Francisco, we see new construction all around. We see a lot of activity here between acquisition redevelopment and even multifamily.

NREI: Looking at office, retail or industrial, what is one trend that really excites you in this sector? Why?

Steve Core: What I do like and what is evident in retail now is that in reviewing our portfolio and looking at say percentage sales reported, they are up and they are stronger than they have been in five years. We are definitely showing major improvement and that is pretty exciting. We are also seeing an uptick in leasing across the board in all product lines. We are not seeing a lot of rent growth now, but the fact that our long-term vacancies have been leased up over the past six to nine months is a very positive sign.

NREI: In terms of property management, what are clients asking for now that they were not asking for, say, five years ago?

Steve Core: On top of constantly just looking for us to push expenses down we are getting more involved in leasing than we ever have. They are coming to ask us to review leases and be a part of those negotiations upfront. The push is also out there to make sure that we are acquiring all the rebates that are possible from capital improvements. They are looking to us to maximize their investment.

I think the other thing that is exciting to me is the fact that capital is definitely loosening up. We had a run for years where we were asked to maintain and extend the life of equipment or property, to put off large capital projects that were not absolutely necessary. Now we are seeing the capital loosen up so people are doing more capital infusions. We are currently doing a lobby renovation in excess of $1.3 million in one building right now.

NREI: I don’t think you would have done that two years ago.

Steve Core: Two years ago we would have had to repair the carpet. Today the owners are willing to take a hard look and see what makes them competitive. That goes hand in hand with the positive numbers we’ve seen in leasing.