by Dan Rafter
Traci Dalsin, president of Madison, Wis.-based Sara Investment Real Estate, has good news: Investors are pumping more dollars into commercial real estate in the Madison market. And that’s just the beginning. Dalsin says several major markets across the Midwest are enjoying the same positive trend.
Midwest Real Estate News recently spoke with Dalsin about what is bringing investors back to Madison and the Midwest.
Midwest Real Estate News: Let’s start with a broad question: Are you seeing more interest from investors in Madison and the other Midwest markets in which you work?
Traci Dalsin: We do a lot of work in Madison. But we work almost equally in other markets, too. I can definitely see more activity and growth in Madison and our other markets. This is an exciting time in commercial real estate.
MREN: Why are you seeing more interest today?
Dalsin: I think it is a combination of factors. We are in general seeing more confidence on the part of tenants. They are growing their businesses. At the same time, we are seeing more confidence from investors. We are now seeing people who maybe in the past weren’t looking as hard in the Midwest considering markets such as Madison. They are now focusing more on the Midwest. They are attracted to the great stability we have in the Midwest. We have stability and we still have great growth. That’s a good combination for investors. There is quite a bit of opportunity for investors in our markets today.
MREN: We often hear that our Midwest markets are more consistent than, say, those on the coasts. We don’t have those high highs or low lows. How important is this to investors?
Dalsin: That stability is something that the investors we work with do like. They realize that there is opportunity for growth and opportunity for returns here, but that there is also that underpinning of more stability. Our Midwest markets provide investors with the opportunity to invest in stable markets while also realizing growth.
MREN: What commercial real estate sectors are most attractive to investors today?
Dalsin: It’s pretty varied, from our perspective. We have many investors who focus on industrial. There is a lot of activity in that market right now. I have a core group of investors who are focused on office, too. It depends on the dynamic of the investor and what that investor’s focus has been.
MREN: What markets is your company already doing business in?
Dalsin: We have been doing business in Wisconsin for 18 years. We have a heavy focus on Madison and Milwaukee, some other markets in Wisconsin. We have a presence in Minneapolis. We will be actively growing in that market. In January, we opened an office in St. Louis that will also serve Kansas City, Omaha and a bit into Iowa.
MREN: What is it about the St. Louis market that inspired you to open an office there?
Dalsin: Geographically, St. Louis is in a great location for us. It can serve Omaha. It can serve Kansas City and even into Iowa and Colorado if we go that route. We also have a fantastic employee there who fits well into our organization and is based there. The other part is that working in those markets feels similar to working in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Those markets seem to have a lot in common with the markets in St. Louis and Kansas City, so I think that we’ll do well there.
MREN: Speaking of Minneapolis, that market has long been one of the strongest in the Midwest. Is the Twin Cities market still an attractive one for investors?
Dalsin: You have a great combination of some of the stability that comes with being in the Midwest while also having that larger metropolitan area to work in. There are quite a few large corporations in Minneapolis/St. Paul that provide a lot of vitality. There are incredible opportunities in that market. It has a great mix of your metro areas combined with some good, stable Midwest growth.