Tuesday, November 29, 2022 Nov 29, 2022
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CRE Opinion

Property Managers Are Experts in All Things

Stream Realty Partners' Tiffany Marano says in a world filled with challenges, property managers remain ready to deliver.
By Tiffany Marano |
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Courtesy Stream Realty Partners

As commercial real estate continues to evolve, the role of a property manager has evolved, too. In the past, a property manager’s focus was primarily on rent collection, budget preparation, and overall building maintenance. Now, the role requires so much more. Complex issues, changing climates, and the need to implement solutions require resourceful and agile professionals that are ready to enact policies, ensure preparedness, and respond to the unthinkable.

Just two years ago, the pandemic caused uncertainty across markets, with tenants and clients alike looking to property managers for definitive answers surrounding processes and protocol. Tasked with analyzing ever-changing guidelines, property managers implemented action plans, determined the scope of sanitation, developed quarantine and evacuation protocols, created new signage, set elevator capacity, and more while maintaining an asset’s revenue stream.  

A property manager’s role, however, hasn’t just morphed into one of navigating crises.

With ESG (environmental, social, and governance) at the forefront for many companies, property managers are now taking the lead by recognizing and implementing eco-friendly initiatives at the building level to help clients meet ESG objectives.

Throughout my career in the commercial real estate industry, I have found property management to be an exciting service line that attracts high-caliber, dedicated professionals who take great pride in their portfolio’s performance. I have supported my team tackle numerous obstacles and challenges, fervently working to find solutions that align with a client’s needs and goals. Here are some real-life examples from my team:

Camping at My Property for a Week

Vice President, Property Management

It was a stormy night with 110-mile-per-hour winds. I was five months pregnant and ready to put my feet up when a tenant called. One of the turbines in his space had blown off, causing water to pour into the building. It sounded like he was standing by Niagara Falls. It was pitch black outside when my husband and I hopped in the car and headed to the property. We pulled into the parking lot, where the entire single-ply roof membrane was lying after having blown off. Two overhead doors had blown out, and a demising wall between two vacant spaces had fallen over. Before the storm was even over, I started to call and secure vendors. Empire Roofing Company arrived at the property by 5 a.m. and had the building outfitted with a temporary roof by 7 p.m. that night. With debris, equipment, and materials everywhere, I had electricians, a restoration company, insurance adjusters, a trash company, and our HVAC company on-site for the next week. I essentially lived out of my car, with everyone coming up and tapping on my window to ask questions. I’ve never been more thankful for my network of vendors and a team of knowledgeable property managers to advise on each situation.

A Windy Weekend

Senior Property Manager

The weather doesn’t take holidays, and it certainly didn’t want me to take a break either. Several weekends ago, I was heading out the door to dinner with friends, and I got a call that a storm with microburst winds had whipped up near my cold storage property. The roof, the length of a football field, was ripped off my building and damaged the ammonia-filled pipes. Stopping the ammonia leak was my top priority. That’s a risky environment for my tenants. I canceled my dinner and called the building engineers and a few property vendors to help me secure the building. Our diligent team of engineers stopped the leak in no time, and we got a temporary roof back on the building in a record-breaking ten days! It takes a village to restore a building after a destructive storm like that, and I’m thankful to have one!

The Ice-Capades

Vice President, Property Management

Ice sculptures belong in Alaska or an over-the-top holiday celebration, but not in an industrial cold storage warehouse. One morning, I received an email that said, “Tara, ice has formed inside the building. Can you help?” I didn’t think much of it. A little ice is expected in a building that remains below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. That quickly changed as pictures arrived, with images of floor-to-ceiling ice structures that had formed overnight from a pinhole leak in a single sprinkler head. I called a colleague to brainstorm how to get ice out of the space while keeping it below freezing so the tenants’ goods wouldn’t spoil. We called in a restoration company, and they chipped, chiseled, and blow-dried the ice out of the warehouse for over a week. They were taking shifts every few hours, so no one got frostbitten. Many weeks before this incident, I had requested building owners replace the sprinklers because I was concerned about leakage. Sure enough, after the ice-capades, my request was approved. 

PSA: Make Sure Your Sprinklers Are Working

Vice President, Property Management

This was the first of five fires I’ve dealt with in my career. There was a tiny 8×8 closet with a 28-foot-high ceiling in an industrial property. The closet had one light fixture and one sprinkler head, and it was stacked to the top with cardboard boxes filled with files. One night the stack toppled over, hit the light fixture, and the boxes caught on fire. The smoke alarm went off, and I woke up to a call that the fire department had been dispatched. I immediately jumped in my car and called the tenant to tell them what was happening. I needed them to get someone on-site so the fire department didn’t have to break through the door. The one sprinkler head put most of the fire out and kept it from spreading, and the fire department put out the rest of it and inspected the premises. Never take for granted functioning sprinklers and a full night’s sleep.

In a world filled with challenges, property managers remain ready to deliver.

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