In today’s Four on Friday, we talk with Ron Pfohl, director of leasing at North American Properties (NAP), a privately held, multi-regional real estate operating company that has acquired, developed and managed more than $4 billion of retail, multifamily, mixed-use and office properties across the United States. Ron discusses his duties at the company, yesterday’s grand opening of the mixed-use Avalon development in metro Atlanta and how he ventured into commercial real estate.
 
Ron Pfohl 1Give us an overview of your duties at North American Properties.
 
Pfohl: I help to locate sites for new development by knowing where retailers want to go. Once we have selected a site, I come up with a plan to merchandise the property to that market based on what’s best for those demographics. I also work on budgets, balancing what we think we can attain from income and what we have to spend on tenant improvement and that type of thing. And I oversee leasing at the new developments.
 
What's the most exciting thing about Avalon, NAP’s $600 million mixed-use development, opening yesterday in Alpharetta?
 
Pfohl: When you think back, the site used to be nothing but dirt. To go from that to what it is today is very gratifying. It’s a phenomenal feeling to think we had something to do with this and that what we are delivering will make it a better community and a better place for people to live. It’s a culmination of everything coming together — all of the ups and downs, trials and tribulations We got from point A to point B, and that makes it all worth it.
 
Why did NAP feel it was important to secure first-to-market retailers and chef-driven restaurants at Avalon?
 
Pfohl: We didn’t want Avalon to be like the other retail offerings in the market, nor did we want a mall with the roof ripped off. We wanted more heart and soul. When I was walking down these streets a few days ago, I walked into Cosmetic Market, a first-to-market retailer from Nashville. The owner has a beautiful store, and she’s very passionate. She was telling contractors to rip down light fixtures two days before opening because they weren’t right. That’s the kind of passion you’re looking for to bring something new and exciting to a retail development. Same with chefs — it’s very personal.
 
You have a B.S. in psychology and a B.B.A. in marketing. How did you end up in commercial real estate?
 
Pfohl: I grew up in Dallas. I went to Southern Methodist University, and my senior year I started interning at CB.