ROCK HILL — Between them, Randy Graham and Mark Mayfield have more than 40 years of experience in selling real estate.
Graham is Rock Hill-born and bred. Mayfield is originally from Columbia with stops in Texas and New York City. The two have been partners in the Sperry Van Ness office on India Hook Road since 1999.
They focus on commercial real estate. Theyve developed a pretty good feel for the market, understanding that proximity to Charlotte results in competition on some projects, while other deals are strictly local.
They have sold restaurant and retail spaces and raw land. Grahams niche has become medical office space.
The recession of 2008 hit the real estate industry hard at all levels, but there has been a slow but continuous industry comeback.
Graham and Mayfield said 2011 was a good year, despite little activity in the medical office market. The first quarter of 2012 was good.
But recently, everyone went away, Mayfield said.
People are looking, they said, and inventory of commercial space is OK. There are a number of what they call second- and third-generation buildings on the market.
A quick online look at the commercial inventory in York County shows everything from single-family houses that can be converted to small office or retail uses to larger spaces designed for specific uses.
Thats a challenge for someone looking to buy or lease How can existing space be adapted to their use? Building condition and as always, location are key factors.
Whats missing from the market is new products.
Banks are hesitant to lend money for speculative projects, they said. The result is real estate agents looking for more cash deals to make things happen.
Just recently, Graham, Mayfield and another investor put their own cash into a deal, buying three vacant office buildings near the intersection of Heckle Boulevard and Herlong Avenue on Cranium Drive.
This is not the first time they have invested their own money in projects. They are not the only real estate firm in town to do so, either. Firms such as the Warren Norman Co. have increased their equity investment to make things happen.
They do hope, however, that their confidence is a signal to other investors that there are opportunities in what they describe as a soft market.
The three buildings are advertised as cold shell. Thats real estate-speak for theres nothing inside the buildings. No electric, no heating or air conditioning, no plumbing. Just walls, floors and ceiling. The space can be outfitted to a buyer or leasers needs.
The buildings were finished in 2008. The owner went bankrupt, and Bank of America took over the property. The bank listed the property at $2.2 million and engaged Graham and Mayfield to sell it in the spring of 2010.
The bank, they said, was looking to sell the properties and wasnt interested in subdividing the spaces. The bank dropped the price to $850,000, looking for a sale. The York County tax value on the property and almost 3 acres, is $1.6 million.
When the price went below a million, Graham and Mayfield considered investing in the property themselves. With another investor, they formed MGM Partners and purchased the buildings.
Graham and Mayfield said they made the decision based on price and the belief there is some pent-up demand in the market for new space. They are also willing to do what the bank wasnt subdivide the space. The smallest space would be 1,400 square feet. The biggest of the three office buildings has 13,800 square feet.
They also hope construction of a Walgreens adjacent to their property will make the buildings more attractive, as will its proximity to Piedmont Medical Center.
They are marketing the project named Heckle Business Park as professional office or medical office space. It could also accommodate uses such as a small call center.
They would like to negotiate a cash sale but are willing to lease space too.
The project is not a game-changer in the market. They admit its niche marketing. But its a niche where they see opportunity and, most importantly, movement. Activity is what drives the real estate market.
Don Worthington 803-329-4066 email@example.com