It can be easy to develop a bit of an inferiority complex selling commercial real estate in the Midwest. Residents of the coast, after all, still refer to most of the Midwest as flyover country.
Of course, being kind of boring has helped during these tough economic times. As brokers have told me in every market, from Omaha to Minneapolis and from Chicago to Topeka, the Midwest doesn’t see the high highs or low lows that the coasts so often experience. That’s actually soothing during times of economic turmoil.
Midwesterners needn’t apologize for their cultural and entertainment venues, either. The Detroit Tigers are giving the mighty New York Yankees all that they can handle in the Major League Baseball playoffs. And cities such as Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis and so many others in the Midwest are home to terrific art museums, daring playhouses and amazing downtown architecture.
Then there are movies.
When you think of movies, you think of the coasts, right? Specifically L.A. and Hollywood, maybe a bit of New York thrown in.
I’m here to tell you, though, that the Midwest is home to stellar filmmaking, too.
For instance, there’s Munger Road.
The residents of Chicago’s Western suburbs will know all about Munger Road, an actual road in Bartlett that’s reportedly haunted. Filmmaker Nicholas Smith and his Insomnia Productions created a film based on this road and the urban legends surrounding it, a film titled, appropriately enough Munger Road.
It’s a well-filmed and -acted piece of moviemaking. Better yet, it’s set in my town, St. Charles, Ill.
I took my 13-year-old son to see the movie — it’s rated PG-13 so I’m not a bad parent — over the weekend. We both got a kick out of seeing city hall, the local deli and the Fox River on the big screen. And this was my son’s first horror movie on the big screen, so he had a good time during the scary parts, though he did tell me afterwards that he would have fast-forwarded through some of the creepier moments if we’d been watching the movie at home.
(By the way, by the time I was 13 I was already a horror movie buff. In 1978, my parents took me to see the original Halloween on Thanksgiving night. They covered my eyes during the nude parts but let me watch the stabbings. I didn’t sleep for a week, but I went to see every horror film I could find during my pre-teen and teen years.)
It was nice to see the Midwest serve as the center of a film, even if it was an independent movie not in wide release. It’s another reminder of all that our slice of the country offers.
And when it comes to selling commercial real estate? I’ve since lost count of how many brokers have told me that they’d never want to sell industrial buildings, office towers or storefronts anywhere else.
– Dan Rafter