Asking the Right Questions for Retail Answers

SoCal Real Estate interviews Dan Sheridan about why he joined Hoffman Strategy, the challenges facing Southern California’s retail sector, and what the future looks like for both.

Asking the Right Questions for Retail Answers

By Carrie Rossenfeld Retail, May 18, 2018

As SoCal Real Estate recently reported, industry veteran Dan Sheridan has become a partner with commercial real estate advisory firm Hoffman Strategy Group, based in the firm’s Newport Beach, California, office. Sheridan, previously president of the Retail Properties Division for The Irvine Company, has more than 20 years of retail real estate experience including serving as COO of Centennial Real Estate and EVP of asset management with General Growth Properties.

We caught up with Sheridan for a chat about his reasons for joining Hoffman Strategy Group, the challenges faced for Southern California’s retail sector, and what the future looks like for both.

SoCal Real Estate: What was the impetus behind your move to Hoffman Strategy Group?
Sheridan: I had been consulting independently since 2016 and was hoping to meet people with complementary experiences and skills with which to align and partner. I met [CEO] Jerry Hoffman and [new partner] Jeff Green and after doing some project work together, we each realized a partnership would be the best way to grow our work and business — the sum really is greater than the parts.

How has your experience with Irvine Company helped inform your new position?
My time at Irvine Co. allowed me, among other things, to see and experience firsthand the benefits of a long-term planning and strategic approach to commercial real estate, i.e., retail, office, residential, and hospitality. There are no longer formulaic solutions and short-term fixes, particularly with retail real estate. Rather, owners and developers need to do the work and take the time to understand “the highest and best use” of real estate and execute strategies that meet and exceed local market conditions and needs.

How is Southern California’s retail sector dealing with the challenges faced by malls and larger regional centers?
In many instances, malls and large regional centers in Southern California are located on good real estate. Infrastructure is in place, and communities have grown around these malls and centers. The issue is not the real estate as much as the uses on the real estate. The highest and best of use of the real estate 30 years ago likely was a mall or regional center, but maybe those uses at the scale and configuration of a mall or regional center are not as relevant to today’s communities and consumers. Smart owners and retail landlords are acknowledging these market and consumer changes and trying to understand how to address those changes in today’s environment, asking, “What are the uses today, integrated with retail, that meet market and consumer expectations?” It is a great opportunity for those willing to ask these types of questions.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your new position?
I’m very excited to be working with Jerry and Jeff in the real estate classes other than retail. My experience is largely retail real estate, so learning about multifamily, hospitality, office, senior living, student housing, etc., is new and exciting. More importantly, understanding how these uses can work together and complement each other is critical, I believe, to developing and managing successful projects for the long term. Again, there are no formulaic solutions anymore, and it is imperative that real estate stakeholders respond to local market conditions and know who their customer is and who they will be.

What else should our readers know about Hoffman Strategy Group?
The Hoffman Strategy Group is committed to helping its real estate stakeholder clients address and answer the questions critical in today’s commercial real estate environments, including, “What is the highest and best use for a specific piece of real estate in a specific community?” The notion of “localization” is important today. Because a project works in Cleveland does not mean you can “rubber stamp” that project and repeat it in Phoenix. Also, the real estate stakeholders today are not only landowners and developers but also local government, communities, universities, business tenants, and more.