NAI Excel opens new office to support Cedar City’s commercial growth – St George News
Ribbon cutting ceremony at NAI Excel’s new office in Premier Plaza at 427 South Main Street Suite 204, Cedar City, Utah, June 23, 2022 | Photo courtesy of NAI Excel, Cedar City News
CEDAR CITY —After serving St. George for 20 years, NAI Excel has opened its doors in Cedar City and hopes to attract new businesses to the area and support its continued growth.
The commercial real estate brokerage firm’s new office is in the Premier Plaza building at 427 South Main St., Suite 204. On Thursday, the firm welcomed the public to its open house to meet the team and tour their offices. Attendees were served bison burgers courtesy of Lucky 7 Ranch.
As the city continues to experience residential growth, there will be a need for commercial services to support it, the company’s chief operating officer Jon Walter said.
“We feel like … it’s time that Cedar City had dedicated commercial real estate professionals with a national brand supporting the growth,” he said.
NAI Excel has conducted business in Cedar City for decades and many of the company’s real estate agents were looking for ways to increase their physical presence. For instance, associate broker Twila Davis was seeking a commercial real estate firm to partner with after 22 years in the business and ultimately joined the team, which Walter described as “perfect timing.”
Davis said that the city didn’t previously have a brokerage firm to offer specialized support for commercial real estate in Cedar City.
“It’s … what we offer as a company,” she said. “It gives the client a whole lot more confidence that their property will be sold or leased or managed correctly. So we’re really excited about that.”
A changing city
Cedar City has changed, said Walter, adding that many who grew up there have a difficult time staying due to a lack of employment opportunities.
Prior to the pandemic, he said people from rural communities often would often move to larger cities for school and work but since 2020, more individuals from urban areas are funneling into small towns and cities.
“And this isn’t just a Cedar City dynamic,” he said. “This is a worldwide – countrywide dynamic.”
Because of Southern Utah’s growth, business owners are increasingly interested in relocating to the area, Walter said.
Additionally, commercial vacancy rates have decreased dramatically in the last few years, Davis added, noting that the same has been true for the housing market.
Market research conducted by the company found that commercial construction in Cedar City has increased, stating that 24 projects were completed or under construction in 2021. Comparatively, 16 projects were completed in 2020, 15 in 2019 and just 12 in 2018. Vacancy rates, however, remained low at just 1% for office, retail and industrial spaces.
The City’s vacancy rates are as close to zero as the company’s seen, said Walter, adding that between low inventories and high prices, finding office space can be difficult. One of NAI’s goals is to add more inventory to the market and it’s been involved in several projects in the area to that end.
Cedar City has been looking to attract more national retailers. Walter said potential retailers often don’t know that businesses in the city also serve the surrounding rural areas but with education and additional work the company hopes to bring in more commercial services.
“We’d like to continue to support the community and the growth of commercial real estate,” he said.
One of Cedar City’s key features is its rail spur, which has remained mostly unused, said sales professional Raelyn Loomis, adding that if big businesses learn about it, it could result in more jobs and opportunities for citizens.
Nai Excel was founded in 1982 in St. George with six agents, a number that’s since grown to about 60, Walter said. The independently-owned firm is a subsidiary of Brokers Holdings LLC. The company currently has three Utah offices in Lehi, St George and Cedar City. Additionally, the firm operates NAI Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The company is part of the NAI Global network with over 300 offices and more than 5,000 agents worldwide, operating similarly to a franchise, Walter said.
The company operates residential brokerages, property management and commercial operations in the West, said Walter, adding that NAI currently manages about a billion dollars in asset value across multiple states. The firm is unique in that it specializes in commercial real estate, he added.
As property managers, NAI collects rent, pays bills and completes necessary maintenance, along with other landlord duties, while acting as the property owner’s day-to-day representative. One of the buildings the company currently manages is Premier Plaza, where its new office is housed.
“(We’re) handling everything, so the tenant doesn’t have to worry about getting a call in the middle of the night, on the weekend or in the middle of their busy day to take care of things,” he said. “They leave it up to us to handle their facilities for them.”
Loomis said much of the property in the area hasn’t been serviced correctly and that the company is looking forward to managing more property and encouraging more businesses to open in Cedar City.
Nai Excel’s technical support and creative teams are not currently officed in Cedar City but frequent the area and will be available to work with clients, Walter said.
Additionally, NAI Excel is still hiring new individuals, mostly independent contractors, as commercial real estate agents, Walter said. The firm is looking for educated professionals with a background in real estate, business or other related fields.
For those interested in obtaining their real estate license, NAI offers a free, online real estate school called ARTI Academics, Walter said, adding that individuals who already have a license can participate in their training program, which is held two days a week.
“We’ll teach them both how to build a business in commercial real estate as well as what they need to know about completing commercial real estate transactions,” he said.
Those interested can contact Walter for more information via email.
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