I had an exhilarating feeling heading up the I-94 corridor to MN-23 and then the turn onto Ridgewood Road. Pulling into the 43 acre industrial park, I stopped and looked around. I co-own this sprawling industrial park that serves the needs of the St. Cloud/St. Joseph community and the metro. I chose commercial real estate as my field to help people, and with this property and others, I’m part of the critical infrastructure chain that we depend on to survive.
As of October 31st, Ridgewood became another property in the portfolio of one of the LLCs under our CEG Investments branch. This five building property is a symbol of five career steps in my CRE journey. Here’s what I mean:
1. Front and center in the industrial park is Building 1 at 48,000 SF (some space available). It’s the hub––this building includes office, restrooms, and shower and is the largest building. It reflects my CRE foundation. In my early years, I gained a wide-ranging understanding of the business. I started with odd jobs in property management and construction at Industrial Equities, with John Allen as my mentor. I eventually made my way to the office––working on deals, learning negotiation skills, and building a network. Similar to seeing Ridgewood buildings and outdoor storage circle around Building 1, I can see a deal in all different directions because of those varied experiences. This has served me well over time and benefits both CEG and my clients.
2. Building 2 with 11,000 SF (available) is the smallest of the five. Located in the front of the park, it has a prime location. It’s like when I started Commercial Equites Group (CEG) in December of 2009, on my last day at Industrial Equities. It was a small seed back then, but a prime vision. I wanted to bring a network of industry greats together to help business owners, developers, and investors buy, sell, and lease commercial real estate. Honestly, I was scared as hell, but it was time to leave the best nest ever.
3. In 2010, I teamed up with Gary and Jeff Nordness and Essence Real Estate Services Inc. For over ten years, I flew under the ERSI flag in a partnership with Jeff and continued making deals under CEG. At 18,340 SF, Building 3 (available) is in between 2 and 4, a structurally sound bridge between CEG beginnings and where I knew it could go. Building 4, a 16,000 SF (partially leased) is about making the jump to CEG full time. I reached out to my network do get things off the ground. After a neighborhood discussion, with me in my car and Anne Marie gardening, I began working with 24 25 creative, LLC to develop CEG’s brand and identity. This is when things took off way faster and cooler than I imagined.
4. Through dedication, persistence, hustle, and connecting with the right people, CEG is a busy, full service brokerage. With 30,000 SF of fully leased space, Building 5 symbolizes the active, result-driven business of CEG. The team has grown, which builds capacity for listings, client support, and branching out to other areas of commercial real estate, including CEG Investments. Over the years, we’ve purchased investment properties across the metro, growing our portfolio. It’s been exciting adding this relatively new side to CEG.
5 This growth also meant we added a property management team to handle maintenance and operations of our investments. The over 60+ truck trailer leasing spots and the grounds are the symbols of our team diligently taking care of each investment property. From my initial experiences at Industrial Equities, I gained the insight and understanding that having a bridge between the needs of tenants, investors, and clients was critical. Needs are constant yet they change, like the trailers that come and go from the park. Property management keeps things rolling.
I enjoy noticing how life experiences connect with each other. I’m here, and CEG is here, because of my experiences, mentors, partners, and history. And these culminate into an industrial walk in the park––not an easy walk, but a walk just the same.
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Jeff Salzbrun is the owner/broker of Commercial Equities Group (CEG). As a veteran-owned real estate brokerage, CEG has been involved in thousands of sale and lease transactions, ranging from single offices to 250,000+ square foot buildings. At CEG, we get your deal done. We know space, and we know the CRE business.
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