Getting to Know Steve Martin
By: Steve Martin, managing principal, SDM Partners
TAKING ON THE ROLE of NAIOP chairman is both a thrilling and a humbling experience, and I’m honored that NAIOP members are putting their confidence in me. Candidly, I believe that I’m taking the leadership reins at just the right time, anticipating a solid year for our industry, rising markets and business growth unlike anything our members have experienced in the past six years. Development magazine asked me some questions about my goals as chairman and my outlook for the industry. I’m pleased to share my responses with you here.
Development: Tell us about how you got into the industry and your introduction to NAIOP.
Martin: I will have been in the industry 32 years this June. It’s been an amazing ride. Just like life, business has its ups and downs, and navigating them is critical to succeeding. If managed well, the ups and downs yield opportunities. A mentor told me — and it was not a suggestion — to join NAIOP back in 1991. It’s one of the best business decisions I’ve made.
Development: What are your goals as chairman?
Martin: Three overarching goals will guide my year: 1) Conveying the value of diversity, both for NAIOP and the industry, by building on the foundation laid by my predecessor Jean Kane; 2) building the NAIOP brand by clarifying what the association is today, who our members are, and how NAIOP is growing and adapting; and 3) advancing NAIOP as THE commercial real estate organization for advocacy, connections and education. If you want to know what’s next for the industry, meet a partner or do a deal, NAIOP is the place.
Development: Industrial is hot right now. Will this continue? What product will be the next to experience a surge?
Martin: The whole industry is in a frothy upswing, but industrial demand is solid. In Atlanta alone, we have 29 projects and 16.5 million square feet of industrial under development. Simply put, industrial will be hot until it’s not. It’s a bit of a cycle, as I see it: industrial is currently robust, multifamily has experienced its own boom and an office surge is on the horizon, particularly in several larger markets.
Development: What makes the industry tick?
Martin: Money! Capital! Coin! CRE is a major asset class for investment, which provides attractive yields (not without risk) versus other investments. The tremendous flow of capital into CRE is both good and bad. Investors seeking better yields because of the prolonged low interest rate environment have turned to real estate. This has created a hypercompetitive marketplace with higher and higher pricing and, thus, corresponding lower cap rates. The need for yield is trumping fundamentals. News flash: anytime value is determined more by capital than product demand, there will ultimately be a problem.
Development: What makes NAIOP tick?
Martin: That’s simple — it’s the people. This is very much a people and relationship business, and NAIOP facilitates the networking and opportunities to form those relationships. Whether it’s at a chapter meeting, in a National Forum, or at one of NAIOP’s big conferences, it’s the people who drive the experience. At NAIOP, we have the right mix of people, and that turns into deals and business.
See Steve Martin talk about his career and his plans for NAIOP.
All About Steve
Bachelor of Arts in economics, Jacksonville State University; Master of Business Administration in finance, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
My wife Robin and I have been married for 25 years. Our son Hill, 20, and Eller, our yellow lab, complete the family.
Last book read
“Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises” by Timothy Geithner
Favorite vacation spot and out-of-the-office activity
Snow skiing in Deer Valley, Utah