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CRE Insights for Georgia’s Film Industry

April 18, 2017 – Georgia Film News met with John Poulos and Sam Hoover of SK Commercial Realty in Atlanta, GA. Poulos serves as Executive Vice President, Managing Director of Tenant Representation and Hoover works with him as Office Tenant Representative. Together, Poulos and Hoover provide insights into their work as brokers for commercial real estate transactions in the metro Atlanta area and how they are helping film producers and their supporting companies find and lease office space for their Georgia productions. Learn what Poulos and Hoover are doing to meet the needs of this growing industry for the State.

Poulos offered, “We evaluate the office space needed for different types of businesses; including accounting offices, law offices, talent agencies and production companies. There are a lot of people coming to Atlanta to take advantage of the tax credits. We reach out to a lot of these folks to help them understand the market and occupancy here.”

Hoover added, “I have spoken with teams in NC, LA and other places that have lost their tax credits and are looking to do business here. I am also in talks with film companies in Savannah that are expanding their offices to the Atlanta area.”

Poulos shared, “As far as new people coming from the West or from up North, they are typically coming here on a temporary basis. They come in do their production and then go home. We have had some companies open up studios, but most others are testing the waters here with a production or two before taking the plunge.”

“Some of the folks who come here will do productions here and then go home for post productions. Right now we’re losing out on some of those opportunities as we continue to develop our infrastructure to support the entertainment industry here,” Poulos said.

Poulos offered, “We are in the position to help these people with long term office space. We can give them detailed information on market conditions here and how it compares to LA space. We help them evaluate the office space and how they can find something to meet their very specific needs.”

SK Commercial Realty is a leading Atlanta full-service real estate commercial services company located at 900 Circle 75 Parkway, Suite 720. SK Commercial Realty specializes in five key areas: Healthcare Brokerage Investments, Office Brokerage, Property Consulting and Property and Asset Management. Over the recent years during Georgia’s entertainment industry boom, SK Commercial Realty has extended its service offering to help film producers, talent agencies and the supporting companies such as law firms and accounting agencies find and secure locations for office space throughout Atlanta metro area.

Hoover offered, “We primarily work with a lot of teams that support production as well as film companies. Other key players include accounting firms, law firms, and talent agencies. We are not going to find them a site for a film shoot or a warehouse; however, we help them find office space used to support the film shoots surrounding Atlanta.”

“We recently put a group, Frenik Labs, in new space. They concentrate on commercial video productions. We are also working with Matchbook Media, and several other talent agencies in helping them to find and secure office space while they are working in the area.”

“Frenik Labs is a great success story. We brokered a lease for them in a single story flex-used space. This includes a conference room, three editing suites, an expansive co-working space, as well as a suite in the back with high ceilings and a loading bay built out for them to create high quality video productions in commercials. This space does accommodate their needs in green space. They are able to use the space for multiple needs. Frenik Labs is located in Atlanta full time and only signed a three year lease because they are growing so fast. In the future they will probably have different space needs because of it. They are really impressive just like their space. Frenik Labs started out of a garage and is now a full-service marketing and video production company with impressive office space here in Atlanta.”

Hoover added, “When we have a client coming into Atlanta that needs office space for 3-5 years, we are able to help them more. We know the landlords and have great relationships with them. We help them find long-term office space. There is not much value in six month leases.”

Poulos explained, “We can advise them and guide them in the right direction though. When we work with these tenants we don’t charge them a fee. We get paid on the back-end when the lease closes. It’s important to note that the production companies, talent agencies and law firms receive our services for free.”

Poulos continued, “The real value and win-win comes from longer leases. Some of our clients may have back to back projects and could get a good option in office space for three years. We broker the deals and put the party together. We are going to give them real information on every opportunity that will meet their requirements and needs while letting them make the right decision for them, period.”

Hoover shared, “If they go to the landlord direct, they’ll get the pros of that property only. If they come to us, we will show them all properties as well as the good and bad of each. Then they can make an informed decision about what meets their needs best. We tour them through every property and introduce them to the landlords and control that process. We run financial analysis and provide an apples-to-apples comparison so they can evaluate their options properly. It’s not rocket science, but it serves our clients well. They don’t know the market and they don’t know the landlords, but often an adversary relationship develops when they work direct with a landlord. We are the adversaries for them and those transactions.”

Poulos added, “For out of town companies, we really help save them the time it takes to learn our market, put together proposals, talk to landlords, etc. We handle all of that on their behalf. Commissions are built into the rates in Atlanta. Over 98% or more of all office space leases are handled this way with a broker like SK Commercial Realty.”

Hoover described, “I think what’s most important for groups that aren’t as familiar with our area and how traditional office leases work, it’s really important for them to understand that when coming to a new city to work. For instance, Savannah has more local representation where prospective tenants talk direct to landlords. When you come to Atlanta, they are in a broker market. We are going to gather requirements about what part of the city you need to be in, your monthly budget, number of employees, type of space you want whether you need a high rise with amenities or mid-size office with traditional space. It’s all about the image. We put together a survey with up to 20 different options. Often we’ll come up with 5 office spaces that are going to work for them and provide Letters of Intent to the landlords on their behalf. Then we work with them to make sure the fit is good for the client and the landlord. We handle the lease negotiations for them. You don’t really want to handle those on your own in a market like this, because you lose out on some of the perks and benefits that brokers can provide. Often this includes waiving some upfront rent.”

Hoover continued, “If a group wants to go market themselves, it is possible. But they are doing themselves a serious disservice in this market. We don’t charge them anything upfront for our expertise and services. We get paid on the backend. There is a really tight brokerage community here.”

“Let’s say someone needs 3,000 sq ft and found office space that fits, but they only need one office and a conference room. We can leverage the length of the lease with the landlord, ask them to take out a wall to set up an open area and build out the space to their needs, while getting the landlord to pay for those updates. We use different financial leveraging tools with the landlords,” he said.

Poulos shared, “I believe the best way to serve a client’s real estate needs is by thoroughly understanding their business. With in-depth comprehension, financial analysis and attention to details, I am able to assist clients in making informed, educated decisions that align their real estate needs in office space with their business strategy.”

John Poulos has served as the Executive Vice President, Managing Director of Tenant Representation for SK Commercial Realty since 2016. Poulos represents office tenants on an exclusive basis and has more than 23 years of experience in commercial real estate helping clients achieve cost reduction and operational goals. Prior to joining SK Commercial Realty, Poulos worked for AFCO Realty and Advantis GVA where he was a founding member of the Strategic Solutions Team representing high-tech and corporate clients. Poulos also worked as vice president for Grubb & Ellis, an affiliate for Equis Corporation, and managing director for Newmark Grub Knight Frank’s Atlanta office where he was one of the top five Atlanta Brokers.

Poulos earned a degree in business from Young Harris College and a B.B.A. degree in real estate from Georgia State University. He is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors, and CoreNet Global, and a life member of the Million Dollar Club.

Hoover concluded, “John and I work together on all of these. John has been in the business for 30 years and is really well known and respected in this market. I was born and raised in Atlanta, and although newer to the business, I know the area well. I’ve done a great job building a network and engaging with entertainment professionals and have built many relationships with landlords here. We have been successful opening up our network to these clients.”

“As a junior associate broker, I really have the time to introduce clients into the market and city and leverage tenant’s position with landlords in their evaluation of space requirements and market standards. I am relationship-oriented and committed to bringing the highest level of brokerage solutions to help clients grow and be successful. I am very interested in making these introductions for them and building these synergistic relationships. Ultimately, we want to see our clients grow and be successful in the Atlanta market.”

Sam Hoover joined SK Commercial Realty in April of 2016 and serves as an Office Tenant Representative working with John Poulos, Executive Vice President. Prior to joining SK, while attending The University of Georgia, Hoover led the NAHB Student Organization as President, and was chosen for a highly selective leadership-related internship and graduated with two degrees.

As a leader in the community and native of The City of Peachtree Corners, Hoover volunteers with The Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence to raise funds for different projects at his alma mater. He also has a passion for technology and spends much of his time out of the office at technology incubators, accelerators, and events learning about new startup companies and ideas.

FIND ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM GEORGIA FILM NEWS HERE.

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