An Interview with Jim Durda, Vice President and General Manager of Beacon/IDS Center Continued from previous page.
quizzical looks but people kept their distance…. Subsequently Heitman bought JMB, made me a VP (vulnerable person) and I was required to manage Heitman’s office and industrial leasing efforts in Minneapolis and 6 other cities. After three years of that, I woke up at the crack of dawn to learn that anchor tenants IDS/AMEX and Dayton’s/Target decided to build their own dedicated facilities and vacate over 600,000SF. The then-IDS Center team of Dwyer/Seng/Sternberg/Dover/ Whitbeck/Durda got to work and wrote a comprehensive and bold strategic plan to re-lease the 22 vacating floors, which required a complicated $5M buyout from AMEX. The asset management team didn’t support the risk of our plan, and as a result, was fired by ownership who favored the plan. RREEF was hired and they
whole heartedly endorsed the plan, hired us as fellow RREEFers, and we had tremendous success. I became GM in 2003 and we thought we would be working for RREEF forever. Unfortunately, our success also raised the sales price by over $25M and they sold us to The John Buck Company in 2004. We continued raising rents, occupancy and NOI. So 20 months later, and with the help of some cap rate compression, we were sold to Inland for over $50M more. And this year you sold again, but the sale price is about $25M less than what Inland paid? Why did Inland sell? Though Inland sold for below their 2006 purchase price and has invested serious capital into the project, they have enjoyed a significantly positive cash flow and the effort satisfied the necessary
dividend yield. Exceeding our NOI goal by over $1M in each of the last 3 years didn’t hurt either. However Inland is aggressively rebalancing its portfolio and going back to the industry sectors where they have had incredibly strong success. The Inland portfolio is only about 1% office, while they are increasing their holdings in retail and residential (apartments, hotel, student housing, etc.). Will Beacon retain the strong staff and will they continue to maintain the icon status of the IDS Center? Beacon recognized the dedication and talent on our team. They retained nine of ten team members and added two teams to out-source Linda Solberg’s leasing function. They also know it takes significant capital to maintain/improve trophy properties. They plan on investing in the common area corridors and rest rooms, mechanicals, vertical transportation, glazing, two roofing projects, the garage, amenities, environmental, etc. It has been amazingly rewarding working at a project with such great tenants, staff and public exposure. Every day is different with new challenges and opportunities. Will you go back to being President of BOMA again? No, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I’m happy now to have the opportunity to serve as the chair of our Government Affairs Committee. We have regular interaction with rock stars Bill McGrann and Doug Carnival, as well as past presidents and some
of our industry’s finest leaders. I work closely with executive director Kevin Lewis, who has thrown himself into his position and is doing a splendid job. I also had the pleasure of recruiting two top industry professionals (Brian Burg and Julie Samuelson) into running for the executive committee and becoming President. And, there is a good crop of top talent ready to be tapped (Kolar, Molitor, Wimmer, Coskran, etc.). Any advice for young professionals? Yes, get involved and informed: read, ask, listen, learn, and do. Seek ways to improve and focus on the greater good. Give back to our excellent community, help others, get involved in your place of worship or a favorite charity. It will help balance out the rough spots with a reality check and feed your soul. What are you doing in your time away from BOMA and IDS? My wife and I live in Eden Prairie where we raised 4 children. The kids are all out of school and we have a grandson, who is a little firecracker. We have a cabin in Brainerd which we use year round. I really enjoy all four seasons but especially golf and boating season. I like to read nonfiction but don’t miss an action-packed thriller. Hey, see you at the next BOMA gathering and have fun, making memories! t
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