The FORT Podcast: Sarah Kennington – Founder of Thirty-Four Commercial – The Queen of Office Leasing
Sarah has 20 years of experience in office brokerage in the DFW region. Prior to founding Thirty-Four Commercial, she was previously a Principal at Peloton Commercial Real Estate (acquired by JLL in 2019) and an Associate at Transwestern. Sarah graduated from Miami University before relocating to Dallas, Texas in 2003.
Sarah focuses her life on wellness and balance. In 2018, she obtained a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification. Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and children, as well as traveling whenever their schedule allows.
On this episode, Chris and Sarah discuss:
- her career stories and the lessons she learned along the way
- her view of the current office environment and where we go from here
- how to lease Class A Office buildings
- how she leased a Class AA office building from the ground up
- how she manages a growing family and business
(3:21) – Sarah’s career & background
(30:11) – What did you learn selling gym memberships that translate to any sales position?
(33:01) – What does good training look like for people early in their RE career?
(37:53) – How do you build trust with owners?
(47:50) – How would you describe the office market today?
(59:40) – What’s your process of working in development?
(1:01:40) – Where do people waste money in office development?
(1:07:53) – How do you approach marketing?
(1:11:22) – When are you able to start leasing a building?
(1:16:36) – Is there a point where you realize a deal isn’t going to get done?
(1:18:43) – What’s your role once a new building is fully leased?
(1:20:08) – What needs to happen for a lease to turnover?
(1:23:05) – How do you balance building a family and a business?
Sarah Kennington, a seasoned real estate professional with a profound understanding of the industry’s intricacies, joined Chris Powers on his renowned podcast. With a career marked by pivotal decisions and transformative experiences, Kennington offers listeners valuable insights into the world of real estate and the factors driving its evolution.
Beginning her journey in Dallas after moving from Ohio, Kennington initially ventured into the sports sector. However, recognizing the limited financial prospects and demanding work hours, she astutely redirected her career towards real estate. This move marked the onset of a series of professional endeavors that would shape her perspective on the industry.
A major highlight of the conversation was Kennington’s recollection of a significant 1.8 million square foot leasing assignment. This opportunity positioned her as a sought-after asset in the real estate community, with multiple firms vying for her expertise. Her eventual alignment with Peloton, driven by the firm’s exceptional leadership, emphasized the importance of aligning with organizations that resonate with one’s values and aspirations.
Kennington’s entrepreneurial spirit shone brightly as she recounted the challenges and triumphs of founding her company. Naming her venture proved particularly challenging, with her eventually settling on “34 Commercial”—a nod to a transformative age in her life. This anecdote underscored the significance of imbuing personal meaning into professional endeavors.
Diving deep into the nuances of brokerage, Kennington emphasized the pivotal role brokers play in shaping clients’ real estate experiences. From the initial impression to the culmination of a deal, brokers’ interactions can significantly influence clients’ decisions. Further, Kennington touched on market diversity, highlighting the existence of niches for every price point, whether high, low, or mid-range.
One of the episode’s most enlightening segments revolved around real estate development. Kennington offered insights into the challenges developers face, particularly in urban environments constrained by space and access. The increasing demand for spaces infused with natural light, outdoor areas, and top-tier amenities reflects the evolving preferences of modern tenants.
In conclusion, Sarah Kennington’s appearance on Chris Powers’ podcast provided listeners with a comprehensive understanding of real estate’s multifaceted landscape. From personal growth and company foundation to the intricacies of leasing and development, Kennington’s expert reflections shed light on the challenges and opportunities inherent in the industry. For individuals keen on navigating the dynamic world of real estate, this episode stands as an invaluable resource.