Master contract negotiator Greg Hoffmeister talks about his commitment to “tenant representation,” building trust, and feeling the pulse of the technology sector.
Greg Hoffmeister co-founded T3 Advisors ten years ago and continues to manage the firm’s day-to-day operations. An accomplished professional in New England’s commercial real estate industry, Greg has used his 16 years of experience to negotiate over 400 leases, delivering expert advice and representation to T3’s clients.
Greg’s ability to identify opportunities and creatively structure leases that support the unique business models of emerging technology companies has led to his successful client relationships with many of Massachusetts’ rising technology stars.
Greg graduated in 1993 from Dartmouth College, where he studied economics and geography. Outside of work, Greg is an active member of the board of trustees of Beth Israel Deaconess-Needham Hospital, and lives in Needham, Massachusetts, with his wife and four children.
Placester’s Seth Price caught up with Greg to chat about the commercial real estate industry, sector focus, and how he provides outstanding value for his clients.
Placester: What are you working on right now?
Greg Hoffmeister: Right now, my team and I are working on about a dozen active client projects. The requirements range in size from 2,000 sf to 100,000 sf and all are at various stages in the space search process. Some are at project kickoff and others are about to execute leases.
P: What does your typical day look like?
GH: My typical day starts with having breakfast with my four children and helping them get off to elementary school. From there, I usually head to the office and work on various client projects. This involves researching markets for appropriate available space options, corresponding with co-brokers via phone or email and negotiating lease terms or coordinating/scheduling meetings/space tours. I also spend a portion of the day staying on the pulse of the emerging tech scene by reading blogs, tweets, LinkedIn updates and industry news. This is my way of prospecting for new business opportunities.
P: What is the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
GH: The worst job I ever had was working at a health club after I graduated from college. Sounded like it had some potential, but my role was to clean off the sweaty, dusty treadmills and locker rooms. Other than a free gym membership, I learned quickly that this was not what my parents had in mind when they sent me off to college. This experience lit a fire under me, and I quickly kicked my “real” job search into full gear.
P: Three real estate trends that excite you?
GH: 1. Technology. The development of technology tools for the CRE industry that will help markets to be more efficient and allow real estate professionals who choose to adopt these technologies to deliver a much higher quality process and level of service.
2. Space as a service. A movement away from companies leasing space by the square foot and instead leasing space and shared services by the desk. This “co-working” arrangement has been around for years (Regus, CIC). However, there have been a proliferation of new options recently (Rocketspace, Intrepid Labs) that cater to rapidly expanding tech companies who are attracted to the flexibility and predictability that renting space in this structure can provide.
3. Urban migration. We have seen a flight to urban environments by companies looking for space over the last year; a trend that we feel will continue over the coming years. The reasons for these migrations are varied, but include: employee retention and recruiting of a younger demographic; increased reliability/access to public transportation; the benefits of being around like-minded neighbor “clusters”; and the desire to create a stimulating and productive work environment.
P: How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
GH: The two main differentiators for us are our business sector focus and our ability to provide conflict-free service to our clients, given our conscious decision to only represent corporate clients (tenants) and never owners (landlords).
P: How do you bring ideas to life?
GH: We encourage and embrace an entrepreneurial culture and environment at T3. We are nimble, and can act quickly and efficiently when presented with a new opportunity.
P: What inspires you?
GH: People I meet who are passionate about whatever they choose to do.
P: How do you measure success?
GH: Balance. I love my family, and I love my profession. When those two important aspects of my life are in harmony, I am winning.
P: What advice would you give to someone starting out in real estate today?
GH: Have patience. Find a mentor who will help you learn the various aspects of the business. Find your niche, and always be yourself.
P: What do you read every day, and why?
GH: I read my Twitter feed. It helps me stay connected to the people and companies that I serve. By listening to their conversations, I become more in tune with the industry and empathetic to my clients’ needs.
P: What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
GH: ReWork, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier. This book gives the reader insight into a new, leaner, more efficient way of conducting business. There is good advice for anyone running a business, and for those providing service, it heightens your awareness for how a new breed of companies will be operating in the future.
P: What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
GH: I had trepidation trading in my BlackBerry after 15 years, but once I made the leap of faith to the iPhone I have never looked back. I believe mobile platforms (iOS and Android specifically) will help transform the CRE industry. I am also a huge fan of the LinkedIn mobile app.
P: Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?
GH: @CREOutsider, for good up-to-date and future CRE tech trends; @Kimgarst, for social media for small biz tips; and @ochocinco, for the fun of it.
P: What Real Estate expert would you love to see us interview?
GH: Bryan Koop, Senior Vice President, Regional Manager of the Boston office at Boston Properties.
P: When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
GH: This morning, when I watched this video produced by one of our clients: “#ScotchOClock with @SchneiderMike”
P: How can people connect with you?
P: Where are you located?
GH: T3 is located in Boston, Massachusetts.