Member Profile: Alan Vihant, VP Development, Great Gulf Homes
Alan is a seasoned veteran and innovative leader in Toronto development. He is well-tuned to the real estate challenges in Toronto...
September 16, 2010
Jon Love is one of real estate’s accretion masters, having completed over $7 billion of acquisitions throughout his career.
On Monday September 20th, 2010, Jon Love sat down with Blake Hutcheson and delighted ULI members with a candid conversation. Taking place in the Toronto Board of Trade, this exciting ULI event drew over 200 members of the real estate community. Jon Love, a founder and managing partner of KingSett Capital, and former Oxford Properties CEO, was interviewed by Blake Hutcheson, current president and CEO of Oxford.
Collectively, they represent companies with over 20 billion in real estate assets. The two charismatic leaders captivated the ULI audience with Blake Hutcheson asking career oriented questions to which Jon Love would often respond with a witty story from his past. One could not help but notice Mr. Love’s recounts centered around several themes including integrity, teamwork, and relationships.
Mr. Love recounted a story that demonstrated the value of integrity in business relationships. As the story goes, early in Mr. Love’s career when he was working as a leasing coordinator, one of his first deals was to lease space to three small tenants. Mr. Love needed to lease the building at $8.50 per square foot, so he thought he would start at $9 dollars and negotiate from there. The first tenant asked “What’s the rent?” and Mr. Love replied “9 dollars”. The tenant replied, “I’ll give you 8” and Mr. Love said, “well how about we split the difference and do $8.50”, to which he got a deal. The second negotiated a similar deal. Then came negotiations with the third tenant, thought to be the best and most loyal in the building. Again Mr. Love offered $9 and the tenant accepted. Recognizing that charging his best and most loyal tenant was a problem, Mr. Love made improvements equal to the 50 cents per square foot disparity. Mr. Love remarked he has “told this story a hundred times, but it taught me the value of honest dealing.”
Mr. Love described a second anecdote which illustrated the value of teamwork. During the turbulent real estate market of the early 90’s, Mr. Love attributes much of his survival to his team. Mr. Love’s team had five individuals, a “denier”, an “energizer”, a “feeler”, an “optimist” and himself. The team embraced a “911” system where if called, everyone would stop what they were doing and come help with the current crisis. After one particular 911 session, the team agreed to take less compensation to receive more leniency from the bank. The team was able to recognize the short term pain, for the long term gain. As Mr. Love said, “the power of a group is to take on a breathtakingly complex [set of] facts in a hostile environment and find your way though”.
In a third anecdote, Mr, Love emphasized the importance and efficacy of building positive business relationships. Needing to raise capital to buy a significant portion of Oxford’s stock, Mr. Love contacted three companies. After the first two were unsuccessful he contacted an institutional investor by the name of OMERS who agreed to contribute the equity. Several years later, Mr. Love sold Oxford Properties to OMERS (in a 4 billion dollar deal). Mr. Love’s earlier advice of, “relationships are built not on the golf course, but around getting things done” really resonated.
When the conversation turned to Canada’s current real estate environment, described by Mr. Hutcheson as a “sideways market”, Mr. Love offered his opinion; “I love this market. This is a period where you can differentiate yourself with your valuation and execution skills in a low growth market.”
Before the evening was finished, Mr. Love offered advice to the many young professionals in attendance: “Focus on being excellent. Focus on what you’re doing and do it exceptionally. Lots of young people worry about the next step, but if you focus on being excellent, the opportunities will come.”
Mr. Love has obviously practiced what he preaches as the stories from his past and his impressive career demonstrate. His mantra of excellence is something every professional, regardless of position or profession, can aspire to achieve.
ULI Communications Committee
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