David_tennery_imageA 30-year veteran of the commercial real
estate industry,
David
Tennery
is the principal of Regent
Partners

Office Properties and Development Group. Tennery joined Regent Partners in 2004
and over the course of his career, he has been involved in the development of
nearly 6 million square feet of office, retail, industrial, mixed-use and hotel
properties in the United States and Latin America.

In
this Four on Friday, we talk with Tennery about his firm, his decision to leave
accounting for commercial real estate and his love of the beach.

Give us a brief overview of the services
offered by Regent Partners.

Tennery: Regent is a 25-year-old, full-services commercial real estate firm
based in Atlanta. Regent has partnered with some of the largest institutional
and fund organizations in the United States and Europe, as well as with local and
regional groups with a focus on the greater Southeastern U.S. markets.

We develop
hotels, offices, mixed-use sites and residential properties. Our passion for
meaningful development and a history of strong execution on often very complex
projects have allowed us to bring highly notable community-enhancing properties
to our markets, including both new and re-development projects. With a key
focus on value-add, Regent also has a strong record in the areas of
acquisition, asset management, on-site property services and, when the time
comes, asset disposition.

Looking ahead to the next few years,
what's the biggest reason for optimism regarding Atlanta's commercial real
estate market and what's the biggest cause for concern?

Tennery: Atlanta, while no more or no less challenged than other fast-growing
major U.S. cities, does hold the strong advantage of truly being a great place
to live, work and raise a family. The value proposition Atlanta offers is
unusual in that our combination of a skilled and well-educated work force with
a very cost-effective, high quality of life frequently puts Atlanta in the top
tier of consideration for growth-oriented companies. When you add the fact that
Atlanta is so well positioned to serve companies and individuals that require
heavy domestic or international travel, we are hard to beat. 

If we look back
over the past six months alone, we will see that more than one office submarket
recovery has been fueled in large part by the in-migration of both corporate
and tech-based firms.

From a risk
perspective, we have a handful of substantive issues to resolve, but the issue
that I find circling in my head frequently is the need to get focused on a real
plan that over the next five to 20 years can put Atlanta at the forefront of multimodal-oriented
transportation. Regionally, we certainly have the required highly capable human
resources, but it will take the rare type of leadership that can and is willing
to completely set politics and county/city boundary wars aside and reach for
the best long-term overall solution.

We understand that you entered commercial
real estate after being an accountant for a period of time. What spurred that
move?

Tennery: It didn’t take long to realize that I was simply not an accounting
personality nor did I really care to be. In the first two years of my
professional life, I began to realize that I was much more of a big-picture
visionary than I was a detailed, numbers guy.

Spending a lot
of time in New York in my youth, I developed a strong interest in skylines and
the work behind them, so I began looking at real estate development firms. My
first real estate job, which was in Texas, landed me in a project-finance role,
which was a good fit and a great way to learn the business. At the end of the
day, my passion for working with a team that is serious about creating places
that bring value and beauty to a community has been my professional driver, so
development, re-positioning and marketing-type roles have been my greatest
enjoyment. I do my best to limit my hands-on accounting to balancing my checkbook!
 

A light-hearted question:
What's your favorite place to vacation?

Tennery: There are lots of places I enjoy and can unwind, but the real answer
would be the coastlines of the world. Sara and I both love to travel
and love the beach, so we could be spotted walking on a beautiful beach most
anywhere on the globe (or at least the ones that are three flight connections
or less from Atlanta).