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27 Feb2009

Denver Business Journal Executive Insights By J.R. Bitzer, a Principal with Bitzer Real Estate Partners/CORFAC International based in Denver, CO

How do you expect national health care reform to affect your business?We’re in a very different situation than most small businesses, given the majority of our employees are independent contractors and responsible for their own health insurance. Our company is fortunate enough to have a couple of major clients within the health care industry, and those clients have been growing in recent years, which has positively affected our business since our business is transaction based and we’re compensated when we help businesses add commercial space. On the flip side, the looming uncertainty regarding the future of national health care reform and its implementation has hindered the economy’s growth both locally and nationally. Has access to capital improved, gotten worse, or stayed the same for your business over the last few months?Access to capital has definitely improved over the last few months, especially since mid-2010. Small businesses are still having a difficult time funding their daily operations as business lines of credit are still not readily available, but the environment is definitely improving as commercial banks continue to rid themselves of distressed assets and improve their balance sheets. Regarding commercial real estate loans, available capital has returned to the marketplace in more forms including life insurance companies, CMBS and government sponsored enterprises. SBA loans are still the best and most readily available option for small businesses looking to purchase their own building.In your industry, where do you see new growth opportunities to replace lost revenue?We were fortunate enough to partner with two local real estate firms, L.C. Fulenwider, Inc. and REGen, LLC, last year to form American Property Solutions, Inc. American Property Solutions is a joint venture that provides the following services to assist Special Servicers restructure distressed commercial real estate assets; Receiver and Trustee, Property Management, Construction Management, Accounting and Brokerage. Bitzer Real Estate Partners has benefitted by providing property management services as well as commercial leasing and disposition of non-performing commercial real estate assets.What benchmarks would you say would be the strongest indicator in your industry that the economy has truly recovered?2010 was a surprising good year for the commercial real estate market, especially the office leasing market. While the office market has experienced four consecutive quarters of positive net absorption, the overall vacancy rate is still above what is considered market equilibrium of 10%.  It’s no secret that Denver needs greater sustained job growth to backfill the current inventory of vacant office space. The truest indicator the industry has fully recovered won’t come anytime soon until you begin to see cranes in the sky above Denver once again.


Patricia True Agos

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