Shopping Center Business

MAY 2015

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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Page 132 of 342

128 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • MAY 2015 lead, change and manage the properties. "Our executive team knows a lot of people at every company," says Paquette. "We get a lot of resumes and referrals through our friends in the industry. That's one of the reasons we've been able to at- tract so many great employees." One facet that the company's senior executives point to is that they all meet with each other at least once per day, of- ten informally, to pass ideas or work on solutions. That has created a culture of collaboration that extends to their staffs, and encourages people to work together. Ball points out that collaborative culture is different than the segmented roles that many retail real estate operating compa- nies have. Employees from different areas are encouraged to work together to find solutions, not leave it to one department or another to find answers. "We love the collaboration that has developed among our employees," says Wolstein. "The reputation of our senior executives — and the hands-on way they work — has set the bar. A potential em- ployee looks at that when he considers moving his family across the country to take a job with us. We have reputations that we carry with us throughout our careers." Building A CompAny Starwood Retail Partners has been able to accomplish a feat that no one in the industry thought would happen: create a new landlord in the most consolidated sector of commercial real estate. The number of super-regional mall landlords isn't that large, and to create a new com- petitor when so many other strong, estab- lished players are out there wouldn't be an easy task. "Retail is a difficult sector to invest in without having your own proprietary, employee-operated integrated platform," says Wolstein. "It is a very operationally intensive business; it is not a commod- ity. It is easier for a private equity firm to invest in office, apartments and industrial real estate and use third-party manage- ment. In those real estate sectors, if you invest in a great market at the right time, a rising tide will lift all boats. Retail is differ- ent; retail is a game of winners and losers." Much as he did with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Sternlicht wanted to create a world-class operating platform for Star- wood Retail Partners. "We're a first cousin to Starwood Ho- tels in terms of strategy," says Wolstein. "We want to be the sector leader in mar- ket dominant regional malls where we can add value." Starwood Retail has done that by only hand-picking assets that were top per- The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, Texas, is anchored by Dillard's, Macy's and Neiman-Marcus. Mark Brown, vice president, head of technology and shared services. Kevin Halleran, vice president of accounting and financial reporting. Josh Patinkin, vice president of finance and investments.

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