January 27, 2020
By Dennis Kaiser
Logic Commercial Real Estate’s recent expansion of its Las Vegas brokerage team entailed the addition of Natalie Wainwright, who joined the firm as Vice President to spearhead the firm’s new Office Tenant Representation Division. She has emerged as a top tenant rep broker in Las Vegas by focusing on the vast array of out-of-state tenants seeking to relocate into an emerging office market, and has developed a strong network with some of the top tenant representation brokers in the country. Wainwright shares insights on the Southern Nevada office market, what is drawing companies to Las Vegas today and why she only focuses on the tenant side of the brokerage industry.
Q: What are the biggest trends driving the Las Vegas office market today?
A: Despite the talk of an expected recession, Southern Nevada’s economy appeared sound at the end of 2019. Job growth and unemployment in Las Vegas show no signs of a slowdown, despite the current national economic tension. With job growth, the office market should continue to benefit from businesses’ need for space. Many in the CRE sector feel the market is poised for future growth, as well.
There’s nearly 450,000 square feet of new office space scheduled for completion in Las Vegas over the coming year, and pre-leasing is strong in these projects. By the end of 2021, Las Vegas will experience roughly one million square feet of completed office space. One notable project is Matter Real Estate Group’s UnCommons, a mixed-use development in southwest Las Vegas. The $400-million project is set to break ground this spring and be completed in fall 2021. It is a project that is breaking the mold, and that is authentically focused on the users’ experience.
Q: You have been a part of some of the more notable office relocations into Las Vegas recently. What is driving in-migration, where are companies arriving from and what are they seeking in terms of their office environments?
A: Nevada’s reduced cost of living and business costs are other incentives driving Silicon Valley companies’ migration to Las Vegas. Businesses are also coming in from Texas, Southern California, Arizona and surrounding areas. There are still jobs being created, and there’s in-migration, making Las Vegas one of the brighter stars in the economy. It’s a place people want to come to and is on everybody’s radar. With the arrival of professional sports, including the NFL’s Raiders and NHL’s Golden Knights, not to mention a rumored NBA team in the works – we’re finally considered a complete community. Gaming has been great for Vegas and the main driver for the community for so many years, the message has finally gotten out that we are more than just the Strip, we’re a great community to live, too. Southern Nevada truly has emerged as a place I am prouder than ever to raise my family.
Developers are building office buildings in suburbia because they realize people want to work near where they live. That includes projects in Summerlin in the West, and in the Southwest, which are surrounded by quality residential developments suitable for professional and financial services employees.
Today, office space decisions frequently are driven by the need to attract and retain top talent. It is not where the CEO lives anymore, but it is employee driven. Decisions are now made by how a workplace makes people feel, too. They, of course, look at the quality of a building, to make sure it is newer and doesn’t have old, outdated technology. But they are also looking at live, work, play environments too, like Matter’s UnCommons project I mentioned earlier. Developers are seeing demand for those types of work environments in Las Vegas now. People like to know their daily needs can be met within walking distance. That means having the convenience of a nail salon, coffee, fitness, yoga, and work all close to home. It might mean they can go home at lunch to let their dog out, and it helps them run at their optimum level all day.
Q: You have established yourself as a top office tenant broker in Las Vegas. What is behind your strategy of only representing tenants?
A: My focus is exclusively representing office tenants in their leasing and purchasing, with an emphasis on tech space. I realize I leave money on the table by not representing landlords, but I am more concerned with comprehensively representing my tenants. I can’t do both. I have represented dozens of brands, such as Adapt Inc., MobileSoft, Citizens Bank, and AFWERX, to name a few.
My strategy is to go to a different market each quarter, such as Texas, Arizona and California. I visit buildings where technology and electronic companies are located, and share the Las Vegas story with them. That has worked out well, perhaps because they are not expecting a woman from Vegas to walk into their office, but more so because they see value in the market and all the new construction. It is smart to finally look at Las Vegas for an office location. If you’re not in Vegas and want to be here, you have a partner in Southern Nevada in me. As a local market expert, I’ve recently worked with national brokers from Cresa, Mohr Partners, and boutique brokerages on their assignments to bring a client to Las Vegas.
I know I can help companies save money, too. I negotiate things like caps on CAMs, lease audits, free rent, tenant improvement allowances and other considerations. In some cases, tenants weren’t aware they could negotiate these terms. Through proper representation, I can protect a tenants’ interests and help their pocketbook, too. Their bottom-line is my bottom-line, and that’s a key to my success, since repeat business and referrals account for 20% of my business and is vital in the CRE business.
I also work closely with public municipalities in Las Vegas, so I know the incentives that are available to companies considering a relocation. This has been valuable to brokers from outside the market because I can help them navigate the government and economic development side of those providing the incentives, such as workforce incentives. There are entire groups of amazing people in this city committed to bringing businesses in that complement and diversify our economy.
Co-brokers who’ve worked with me know I follow a simple rule of “what happens in Vegas stay’s yours.” That’s critical when working with brokers bringing their clients to this market. Understanding that the tenant is theirs, especially portfolio clients, is vital to ensuring the best deal gets executed for the tenant. I am purely there to be their local advisor and an extension of their team.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser