Spotlight Interview: Adam Tarantur, CCIM Principal at Podolsky Circle CORFAC International

Adam Tarantur is a Principal at Podolsky Circle CORFAC International and also sits on the firm’s Executive Committee. He began his career in commercial real estate upon graduating from the business school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a degree in Real Estate & Urban Land Economics. Adam’s commercial real estate expertise encompasses a wide range of disciplines, including investment sales; landlord representation; distressed property consulting; and tenant representation. His client base is similarly diverse, consisting of both global and local clients, as well as institutional and entrepreneurial owners. Adam has successfully completed the disposition of over 3.6 million square feet of industrial, office, flex and retail properties. He has also transacted countless leases, both representing tenants and working on behalf of ownership.

LD: What career path did you want to take when you were in college?

AT: I entered the University of Wisconsin – Madison unsure of my career path, so I spent my freshman year taking a wide range of classes hoping to gain some clarity. After taking a couple of introductory business classes, it became obvious to me that I wanted to major in a subject that wasn’t one-dimensional. I was drawn to real estate because it encompasses components of finance, marketing and other business-related topics. I was fortunate that University of Wisconsin had a real estate major, which at that time was unique.


LD: What events in your career path brought you to your current position as a Principal at Podolsky Circle CORFAC International?

AT: Believe it or not, working at Podolsky Circle CORFAC International is the only job I’ve had since graduating from college. I was originally drawn to working here because I liked that I wasn’t going to be pigeonholed into a specific discipline. What also attracted me to a boutique firm was the ability to invest in real estate deals.


LD: Can you tell us a little what your “average” week of work is like?

AT: I don’t think there is such a thing as an average week. Anytime you think you know what your week/day is going to look like, it changes within the first hour of the workweek. That said, I try to get in early to have a couple hours of uninterrupted time without the phone ringing or emails flooding my inbox. As the workday progresses, my time is consumed with client meetings and calls, business development activities and facilitating transactions.


LD: Being in the trenches of the Chicago Office and Industrial Market daily what are you seeing in the market place?

AT: It goes without saying that Chicago is a huge market. The industrial market alone encompasses over 1.25 billion square feet. Therefore, it is more effective and pertinent to break the overall market down into submarkets by asset class. The health of each submarket varies. Overall, I would suggest the Chicago Industrial Market is faring extremely well. The Chicago Office Market tends to be more bifurcated between downtown—which is hot—and the suburban—which tends to be struggling.    


LD: Podolsky Circle is a Chicago company, with a strong track record and reputation within Chicago’s Office and Industrial Markets going back over fifty years. By joining into CORFAC International, Podolsky Circle was/is able to keep its own identity and Chicago roots while being part of a global organization. Can you tell us a little about how Podolsky Circle works as part CORFAC International and what tools/ leverage that brings to your firm to best win assignments and provide optimal solutions to your clients?

AT: CORFAC has been an extremely important component of our company’s longevity. The founders of CORFAC, of which our company was one, recognized that there was a trend of the national and international firms getting larger and larger. CORFAC was created so that entrepreneurial firms, like Podolsky Circle, could transact business on behalf of our clients across the world with other firms that shared similar business and cultural philosophies. In addition, through bi-annual conferences, webinars and other organized programming, CORFAC’s member firms benefit from best practices from its seventy-seven offices worldwide.


LD: What changes do see coming to Commercial Real Estate over the next five to ten years and what is Podolsky Circle CORFAC International doing to prepare for these changes?

AT: Access to information and keeping up with new technology are the two most important things that are on our radar. We don’t see this changing anytime soon. Therefore, we must stay ahead of the curve on these items to continue to compete in this environment. Just because we aren’t a big firm does not mean that we cannot invest in the correct platforms to help us transact business effectively and efficiently. With that all said, relationships are still our most important tool in real estate.


LD: Everyone has a few transactions that stand out in the careers.  What is one deal thus far in your career that stands out to you and what is the significance to that deal?

AT: I was fortunate to have entered the business in June 2005, just before the recession. My superiors, who had been through many real estate cycles in their long careers, recognized that property values were too good to be true. As such, we began a process of divesting our assets beginning in mid-2006 through early 2007. I was involved in the sale of over $250 million of property during that time. It was a tremendous learning experience. I also learned some pretty good lessons shortly afterward when the world turned upside down.


LD: What advice would you give a young Adam Tarantur, who is just graduated college and is looking to kick start his career in Commercial Real Estate?

AT: I would suggest that someone looking to enter the world of Commercial Real Estate takes some time to figure out what part of real estate fits their personality and career aspirations. While brokerage is attractive from an income perspective, it’s definitely not for everyone in terms of the lifestyle. When I meet with young people I always tell them that they should go work at a place where they will have a mentor that is invested in their career development. That personal touch makes all the difference in building a strong foundation for future growth.


LD: What advice have you received that has been instrumental in your success?

AT: Milton Podolsky, the founder of our company told me, “Brokers die broke. Invest in Real Estate as soon as you can.” So I did.

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