Amanda Montenez is an Assistant Director at Savills. She focuses on industrial and office tenant representation and can help with other commercial real estate requirements–dispositions, acquisitions, portfolio management, etc. She looks at real estate transactions from a financial and operational perspective. Her team has other services, including business incentives and site selection to provide a full spectrum experience for her clients.
In her free time, you can find Amanda surfing, doing acro yoga, hiking, and playing volleyball, golf, tennis, and football. Her friends say she has a CANNON for an arm! It’s safe to say, Amanda is an Energizer Bunny who’s always ready to go play in the sun.
Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- About Amanda and Savills
- The South Florida economy
- Industrial and office real estate sectors transforming in the next few years
- Changing business models upon changing labor markets and inflation
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:01] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in South Florida. It’s time for South Florida Business Radio. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:14] Lee Kantor here another episode of South Florida Business Radio. And this is going to be a good one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor, Diaz Trade Law, your customs expert today on South Florida Business Radio, we have Amanda Montenez with Savills. Welcome Amanda
Amanda Montenez: [00:00:32] Hi, Lee! Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:35] I’m so excited to learn what you’re up to. But before we get too far into things, tell us about Savills. How you serving folks?
Amanda Montenez: [00:00:41] Savills is a global real estate firm headquartered in the US and New York and globally in London and then here in the States, we are focused on the tenant representation business. And what that means to us business owners is that I’m representing you in your real estate transactions, not the landlord. You bring a lot of value in our lease transactions, mostly as well as acquisitions and dispositions of real estate.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:11] So you’re an advocate for a person that’s looking to lease commercial real estate?
Amanda Montenez: [00:01:16] Yes, exactly. Or acquire or maybe they have too much and they want to get rid of it so we can help them out there.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:24] And what’s your back story? How did you get involved in this line of work?
Amanda Montenez: [00:01:28] Good question. So I actually had studied dietetics in school, which is clinical nutrition, and found myself not wanting to be in a hospital all day long, instead wanting to do some kind of consultancy work where I could be out in the world meeting people and really helping and where my schedule was different. So I got recruited by Savills to join the industrial real estate team, and I focus a lot of my time on food manufacturing, food distribution, but not exclusive. That’s just what I like. For example, we’re working with a lot of logistics companies, some health care manufacturers and even some aerospace companies.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:09] So when it comes to commercial real estate, there’s kind of niches within that niche, right? So like you mentioned industrial, you mentioned office. Are there other types of kind of specialties within the the niche of commercial real estate?
Amanda Montenez: [00:02:22] Yes, you’re right on. So we have Office Industrial, which you mentioned, there’s retail, which Wal Mart think of and Arby’s that you’re walking into McDonald’s. There’s hotels that would be considered commercial multifamily. So if you were a student once and you lived in a dorm room, that’s a multifamily commercial property.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:46] So in just as you’ve been working in this space for a while, you’ve kind of gravitated to this for a certain reason or you just got good at this. How did you land where you landed?
Amanda Montenez: [00:02:57] Yeah, so I I’m a very curious person and I just gravitated toward the industrial real estate because when you think about it, everything you touch your pen, your phone, your brush you used to brush your teeth has gone through a warehouse at some point in its lifetime of being a product. So I’m always curious. When I’m driving down I-95, I’m looking at trucks and I’m wondering, Oh, where is that going? Like, I wonder what’s in there. So that’s really how I’ve stayed in the industrial industry, if you will.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:31] So how is that industry doing in the South Florida economy? How are you bullish? Are you kind of nervous? You know, there’s a lot of stuff that you’re reading about and hearing about regarding the economy, but how is the South Florida kind of commercial real estate doing?
Amanda Montenez: [00:03:48] South Florida commercial real estate is very strong. If you’re a landlord, you’re having a great year. Vacancy rates are historically low, like below 2%. If you’re a tenant, it’s a little scarier. And that’s who I service is the tenants. It’s a little scary, right? You’re going to have to start planning way ahead of time a year at minimum before your lease expires to plan. What am I going to do in the next year? Rates are going up. Astronomically. We’re talking 20% in a quarter, 50% in two quarters. And I’ve seen even rates being proposed at more than double than what they’re currently paying. So landlords having great year tenants, not so much.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:41] Now, at what point in time, if I am right now I have a lease, everything seems fine, but I know maybe it expires in three or four years. Is this something where I should start having conversations with you or somebody like you today, even though it’s a way off, but just so that I can start kind of getting my ducks in the row and planning for a future that, you know, who knows what it’s going to be like in several years. But do you want to have more conversations with folks, even though maybe there are leases and ending tomorrow, but it’s ending soon at some point.
Amanda Montenez: [00:05:15] Right? Yes. We always say leases. You have to do something. You got to close your business. You move out or you renew for the most part. So, yes, three, four years, that means you might have just started a lease. Typically, they’re about five years to seven years, maybe ten. Right now we’re seeing a lot of seven year proposals. But I would say why not be prepared? Why not start exploring your options? Maybe you have a sudden need to double your warehouse space or you acquire a company and you haven’t even thought about the real estate. But where are you going to put all these people that need an office space? Right? So always good to have an advisor on hand. Always good to be planning because I’m thinking about real estate every day. But business owners typically aren’t thinking about real estate every day. So I think get an advisor as soon as you can.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:10] And in the case of you or somebody like you, a tenant advisor is somebody that I’m not actually paying for you. Right. This has just taken off. Your commission is handled during the transaction.
Amanda Montenez: [00:06:23] Yeah, that’s right. So typically for a lease transaction, as we’re talking about, we split the fee with the listing broker and the landlord is paying that if you decide to not use a tenant representative instead of sharing that same fee, we will just go direct to the listing broker. So really, you’re not saving any money by not using a tenant rep. You’re just maybe missing out on some terms or some language might have been written better without using a tenant representative.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:00] Now, can you share some advice or maybe some things that have come up with you as a tenant advisor? How you’ve actually helped save your client’s money or helped actually make them have a better deal? Because you like you said, you you know, this stuff like the back of your hand, you’re in this business 24 seven where I’m doing this every, like you said, seven years. So I’m not an expert by any stretch and you know where all the kind of landmines are. Can you share maybe one or two examples of, Hey, do this instead of that or this You you can negotiate here or you can’t here.
Amanda Montenez: [00:07:35] Right? So a lot of my work is really deep financial analysis and based on the language of the contract, are modeling changes quite significantly. And I’ll tell you a quick summary of a project I’m working on now is with a company who is in about, let’s say, 50,000 square feet and they need more space, but the current building they’re in can’t take them into the adjacent space. So we’re in a situation where do we stay where we are and expand into a different space, or do we just take an entirely bigger space altogether somewhere else? And when we do all of these models things, for example, one park might be at. $19 a square foot and another park might be at 12 or $14 a square foot. And over five years, with that much square footage, that comes out to a difference of well over $4 million. And so when you’re able to analyze the bigger picture, analyze all your options in a macro sense versus just micro. Okay. $14, $19, that’s a $5 difference. No, it’s really a difference of term of total occupancy costs. We’re looking at how much does it cost you to move and that’s included in the cost savings. So it could be staying. Might not cost you too much today, but over five years it’ll cost you a lot more than leaving and taking up the upfront moving expenses to get into a separate facility.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:20] Now, what about, like, I’ve heard of these things called opportunity zones or certain parts of the community that are maybe tax advantaged or there’s a benefit for moving into one part of town than another. Do you help in that area as well, Like identify that or explain how that might be beneficial?
Amanda Montenez: [00:09:39] Yeah. So our business incentives groups, they can help us with. On a zip code by zip code level, determining how much incentive money might be available in those zones, as well as depending on the number of jobs that you’re providing or the level of revenue that you’re contributing to the area that kind of determines how much incentive money there is in those zones.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:10] And working with a firm like yours, you have like your team is large, you have a lot of resources that you may be an individual tenant rep wouldn’t have at their disposal that you do.
Amanda Montenez: [00:10:21] Right? Yeah, We’re a global, global firm and we have experts. For example, I work with my close friend and colleague Wayne Keys out in our L.A. office and we are able to collaborate on deals where I’m in South Florida and I might say, Hey, Prologis is doing kind of this tactic. What are you seeing in California and kind of share strategies that we might not know otherwise if we’re not able to collaborate on such a national level?
Lee Kantor: [00:10:55] So for you, what’s the most rewarding part of the job?
Amanda Montenez: [00:11:00] My favorite part is really being able to influence these business owners decisions, right? If I’m able to save them $5 million over ten years, a $5 million increase on the lease is effectively, if you want a 10% margin, $50 million of revenue, that they don’t have to figure out, how am I going to make 50 million more dollars over the next ten years? And I just get a lot of satisfaction from being able to start with an idea and start with a complex issue and then turn it into a solution that’s tangible and, you know, keep them coming.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:44] So you mentioned your in the industrial and office space. Is there kind of an ideal client for you? Like, what is your ideal prospect look like?
Amanda Montenez: [00:11:55] Yeah, So my ideal prospect looks like anybody and everybody who’s occupying a warehouse. So it could be a food distributor, it could be an electronics distributor, it could be a third party logistics company, maintenance repair organization, a manufacturer. Now, manufacturing is actually a tricky situation. Those are really hard to move. So if you want to move, you really have to start planning. And that kind of goes back to that question of three or four years in advance. If you’re in manufacturing and you’re seeing growth, you’re seeing that maybe my operation here is quite efficient. I might need another building. Three or four years goes by in a blink. It is not that much time. So those are kind of my ideal clients. And then I guess a little flashback to a question that you asked earlier.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:48] And so are are your clients people that are in South Florida that are moving from one location to another, or are your clients people that are just moving into the South Florida market for the first time?
Amanda Montenez: [00:12:59] Both. So since we’re a national company, we can help clients expand into other states or we can help clients within South Florida specifically who might have that lease expiration, might want an additional office and additional warehouse, or might be wanting to get rid of excess real estate that they don’t need.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:20] Is there a certain industries that you find is a good where South Florida is a good sweet spot where you might be able to help them?
Amanda Montenez: [00:13:27] South Florida. It tends to be heavy on aerospace, really. If you go up north, you see the space coast is quite busy out there. And then if you keep going farther north and to Georgia, you have some aviation manufacturers out there. And then if you go farther north, like into Charlotte, you have Honeywell out there headquartered there. So I think the East Coast is pretty heavy on aerospace and then a lot of logistics companies. We have three huge ports, right? The airport of Miami, the Port Everglades, and then the Port of Miami itself. Not to mention we have Port Tampa and then Port of Jacksonville. So those industries, aerospace, trade, logistics, huge for me and for South Florida in general.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:16] And when they have that many ports, they have lots of stuff that have to get on and off of boats. So they need places to put it right.
Amanda Montenez: [00:14:24] Yes, that’s right. So just a little tidbit. The Port of Miami. Ah, the airport sorry, the airport is actually planning a five story vertically integrated cargo center to be delivered in 2027. The port right now has some goals to increase the number of imports. And like you’re saying, it has to go somewhere. And we don’t have land in South Florida. So where is it going to go? It’s going to go up. So those are some some plans that are happening. I’ve been talking to developers and listing brokers about, okay, we have some land, we can’t go too far west. The Everglades are there. We can’t hurt the wildlife. When are we going to start going up? Developers are a little reluctant right now to start going vertical. It’s expensive. Not to mention who’s going to be able to afford to occupy those spaces. So we’re seeing development is being very cognizant of what’s going on in our environment, what’s going on economically and being a little slower than in the past two years. We’ve heard like warehousing this, warehousing that like, oh, it’s just hot, hot, hot. I think it’s going a little less red hot, but still very strong.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:44] Right? I mean, the demand is there, the need is there. I mean, something’s got to give.
Amanda Montenez: [00:15:50] Yes, something’s got to give. But you can’t be careless about it.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:54] And that’s why they need experts like you advising them. If somebody wants to learn more about you and your work and what’s the best way to get a hold of you or somebody on your team?
Amanda Montenez: [00:16:06] So I’m available via cell phone and everybody who’s listening here, write it down. 9167405485 and my email as well as LinkedIn. And I’m actually trying to start a South Florida Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals roundtable, and that is a national supply chain network of professionals in the industry. We don’t have one down in South Florida anymore. So if they want to get in contact with me about either real estate or supply chain in general, happy to be a resource.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:44] And your company’s website.
Amanda Montenez: [00:16:47] My company’s website is Savills s a v i LLC dot com. That’s our national or international website. Us website savvy lols dot us.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:02] And then from there they can find the Miami office.
Amanda Montenez: [00:17:05] Yes, that’s right.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:06] Good stuff. Well, Amanda, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Amanda Montenez: [00:17:13] All right. Thank you so much for the compliment, Lee.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:16] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see y’all next time on South Florida Business Radio.