Beery earns commercial real estate honor


Beau Beery of AMJ Inc. of Gainesville was voted Dean of Commercial Real Estate by local Realtors. He is pictured at the AMJ development Madison Park office complex, 2850 N.W. 43rd St., in Gainesville on Jan. 14.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 22, 2010 at 11:27 p.m.

With residential sales dominating the local real estate market, Beau Beery sought to give commercial Realtors some recognition, convincing the Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors to single out those who handle retail and office space with a handful of awards earlier this month.

Facts

Beau Beery

Age: 34
Occupation: Director of commercial brokerage and asset management, AMJ Inc. of Gainesville
Personal: Married, two sons
Dream partners for lunch: “My late mother and father so they could meet my kids for the first time.”
Favorite movie: “Avatar” in 3D dethroned “Forrest Gump”
Favorite book: “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman
Favorite CD: Ray Charles' “Ultimate Hits Collection.”
Hobbies: Freshwater fishing, exercising, playing with my wife and kids, buying real estate
Education: Bachelors in marketing, masters in real estate, University of Florida

When the votes were tallied, 34-year-old Beery, director of commercial brokerage and asset management of AMJ Inc. of Gainesville, was named 2009 Dean of Commercial Real Estate.

Despite Beery's relative youth, the honor came as no surprise to some of Gainesville's more experienced commercial Realtors.

“Beau has been a very selfless contributor to the local commercial real estate community,” said Mike Ryals, senior vice president of the Commercial Division at Bosshardt Realty Services.

He credited Beery with sharing his market research with others in the industry.

Mike Warren, president of AMJ Inc., said Beery put together market surveys in his spare time.

“In other communities, people get paid to do that as a full-time job,” he said.

He also credited Beery with creating numerous networking opportunities for commercial Realtors through his role as 2009 chairman of the Realtors' association's commercial investment board and as director of the Gainesville and Ocala chapter of University of Florida real estate alumni.

“He spends a lot of time trying to learn from other people,” Warren said.

Beery said he initially put together the market data to help his own company, but realized the entire market benefits when everyone has information to help price properties properly and reduce inventory.

Likewise with his latest networking opportunity — a town hall meeting with a who's who of the Gainesville commercial real estate industry held Thursday to address challenges in the recession.

“If we can bring them all together, we can all be on the same page and come out of this thing a lot faster than anybody else,” he said before the event.

Warren started AMJ in 1978 to develop condominiums and apartment complexes such as Casablanca and Greenwich Green. He still holds about 300 units of multifamily, but switched to more commercial property development and management in the last 10 years, roughly covering Beery's tenure with the company, and credits Beery with raising his company's level.

AMJ properties include the 100,000-square-foot Plaza Royale retail center on Newberry Road; the four-story, 66,000-square-foot Commerce Building downtown; the three-story, 48,000-square-foot Madison Park office building that opened in 2008 on Northwest 43rd Street; and numerous other office and retail spaces with a concentration on Northwest 43rd Street.

With real estate prices down and some owners in distress, Beery said AMJ has shifted from developing to buying what Warren calls “other people's mistakes.”

“If you can purchase perfectly good properties that just need a little bit of TLC, then it's a heck of a lot easier than going through all the approvals and permitting,” Beery said.

Beery calls himself a “deal junkie” with a passion for the work.

“I get excited so easily that this business is fun,” he said. “It's not work.”

As a kid, his passion was to become a fishing guide. Until age 14, minus two years in Honduras, he lived on the St. Johns River in tiny Welaka in southern Putnam County.

His next career ambition was to become a personal trainer. He worked his way through college as a trainer at Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers and was up for a job at the RDV Sportsplex Athletic Club in Orlando about the same he and his future wife were getting serious. His moment of truth didn't come until a final phone call about the job.

“When I picked up the phone I was thinking, ‘I really hope they say no.'”

They did say no and Beery was soon asking friends about positions in town.

He landed a job with Trammell Crow Residential Services, then one of the largest apartment developers in the nation. He said the real estate “switch” flipped for him when working for them to manage Legacy at Fort Clarke.

“I saw 440 rent checks come in the mail every month and got to witness the power of paying for a $32 million asset with other people's money.”

He was later accepted in UF's graduate real estate program, one of 30 admitted each year from a worldwide pool of applicants, on the strength of his job with Trammell Crow and sheer tenacity — he called the admissions director every morning for over a year.

Beery next hopes to turn his tenacity to helping children, perhaps doing something that combines his passion for fishing, exercise or real estate. He's just not sure how, yet.

He said he spends almost all of his free time playing with his sons, ages 4 and 2, and anywhere from 15 to 20 kids from the neighorhood who regularly visit his house. The neighbors have dubbed him “Beau 2B Kids” after the day care O2B Kids.

“I feel I've been blessed and I want to give something,” he said. “I'm just waiting for a vision.”

Contact Anthony Clark at 374-5094 or anthony.clark@gvillesun.com.

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