CRE Midwest

Liberty Property Trust's Neal Driscoll

Neal-Driscoll-Headshot-2
Neal Driscoll

The industrial market dynamics this year are very unique. Last year was a bit turbulent, according to Neal Driscoll, vice president and city manager at Liberty Property Trust, so speculative development was held relatively in check for both big box and multi-tenant construction.

The industrial market dynamics this year are very unique. Last year was a bit turbulent, according to Neal Driscoll, vice president and city manager at Liberty Property Trust, so speculative development was held relatively in check for both big box and multi-tenant construction. Although the number of big box deals completed in 2014 was low, there were a handful of transactions at the end of 2014, and early 2015, which have tightened the market very quickly.

Find out more insightful tidbits about Chicago's industrial market from Driscoll next week at Chicago Industrial Properties 12th Annual CIP Industrial Summit, April 7 in Rosemont, IL. But before that, here are a few things you may not have known about him:

What does being VP and City Manager of LPT mean?

The Vice President portion means I am a company officer for Liberty. City Manager is an internal title that refers to the person with overall management responsibility for their respective region, including acquisitions and development, as well as property management and leasing operations.

What sets LPT apart from the rest?

I think a company’s reputation is one of the factors that, despite every effort, cannot be manufactured or dictated. We are defined by the way we interact with our clients (in our case tenants) as well as brokers, vendors, peers and the general community. At the core of what sets Liberty apart is maintaining our integrity through each deal and going above and beyond to provide the best possible service. We don’t just fill vacancy, we solve real estate problems.

Working on anything exciting?

We are working on a few exciting development projects right now, but at the top of the list is our new spec building in O’ Hare just north of I-90. It is our first redevelopment project in the submarket. The location is very high profile, which not only benefits Liberty, but is also an extremely attractive sales feature for our prospective tenants.

Most memorable project/deal?

My most memorable project to date, would be my involvement in Liberty’s first big box LEED industrial build to suit in Wisconsin. It was a 550,000 square foot distribution facility in southeast Wisconsin built for what was then known as Johnson Diversey, now known as Sealed Air Corporation. We worked very closely with the tenant, which was just as adept and committed as we were to a sustainable facility, resulting in a LEED Gold. The building and team were recognized with a number of accolades as a result of such a collaborative process.

First CRE job?

My first job in commercial real estate was as a junior broker for an investment team at the Colliers office in Minneapolis. Having never visited the city, I drove six hours from Wisconsin in a snowstorm for a breakfast interview with the sales manager. I still remember the look on his face when he saw my car in the parking lot. I accepted the position before I even toured the market, which in hindsight turned out to be a great decision. However, I wouldn’t recommend it as a strategy. I was following my girlfriend, now wife of 15 years, so I was going to Minneapolis either way!

Greatest advice ever received?

Not sure this really qualifies directly as advice but someone once told me ‘you are who you are when no one’s looking’ and it has stuck with me.

Daily habit?

I wish I could say its exercise, but the only truly daily habit I have is probably drinking a few cups of coffee.

Family facts?

As I mentioned, I’ve been very happily married for 15 years. My wife Terra and I have 5 kids ranging from 2 to 10; two boys and three girls. (See Daily habit!)

Interesting fact about yourself?

I started playing the guitar in 2012 when we first relocated here from Milwaukee to try something new. I'm getting better at playing, but I still can’t sing to save my life, which my kids remind me of quite often. Right now they think it is funny. However, it may become less amusing when they are older and boyfriends and girlfriends start coming around, quickly turning it from humorous to mortifying. It could be used as an asset then.