Developing and operating shopping centers often requires working closely with local municipalities. Halpern Enterprises finds that investing in property must extend further than the real estate – it also requires investing time into establishing relationships in surrounding communities.
“We often face challenges when we are helping tenants open a new business and have found that strong personal relationships with professionals within the local government may help facilitate the process,” said Brad Oppenheimer, a Halpern property manager.
This comes into play both in larger cities and in smaller towns where Halpern owns and operates retail centers. In smaller towns, meeting the key people can be a bit simpler, of course.
“In a town like Covington, Georgia, where the government employees and Chamber of Commerce staff are welcoming and extremely helpful, making connections may be much easier than in cities with larger and more complicated networks like, for instance, the City of Atlanta,” he said.
For developers and managers looking to grow their network, Oppenheimer suggests getting to know one official who can then introduce you to colleagues. The key is to form the relationship before an issue comes up. You don’t want the first call to an official to be one where you need help right away.
“We see this approach work well in towns like Doraville, where we can quickly receive feedback, then deliver quick answers to our tenants,” Oppenheimer said. “And that makes a remarkable difference in keeping tenants happy.”