Quick hit: What’s most rewarding, most challenging about commercial real estate?

Sean Spellman

Sean Spellman

by Dan Rafter

What do commercial real estate pros find to be most rewarding about working in the industry? What do they find to be the most challenging?

We recently asked Sean Spellman, vice president and general manager with the Chicago office of Opus Development, that very question. Here’s what he had to say:

The rewards: The best part is the people. The relationships I’ve formed and maintained throughout my years in the business are extremely gratifying. I’m fortunate to work with some of the best and brightest in the Chicago market – many of whom I now consider to be close, personal friends. It has been particularly rewarding to build a team at Opus that is developing great projects and sharing successes.  Beyond the people, I enjoy the opportunity and challenge of working on diverse product types.  From multifamily and retail to office and industrial, every day presents something new.

The challenges: As a merchant developer operating in the extremely cyclical real estate market, the biggest challenge is recognizing where we are in each cycle within each product type, and then anticipating when to deliver new product.  For us, knowing where to build can be easy, but understanding when to build is the trick.  Real estate developments operate in narrow windows of opportunity, and aligning construction delivery timing, market demand metrics and capital market appetite is often a matter of a little luck and a lot of hard work!

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