Episode 045: Peter Braus
Today we have with us Peter Braus, an owner and operator of real estate as well as the managing principal of Lee & Associates NYC, the entrepreneurial, fully integrated service real estate firm with a national reach yet local expertise. Among two of Peter’s sagelike business mantras are that of “a good broker must understand a client’s business well enough to know what type of space their client needs,” and (somewhat akin to Albert Einstein’s line of “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value”) Peter’s mindset of that “if a broker can’t add value to a deal as a broker, they have no business being involved in that deal.”
At 2:12, Peter Braus touches upon diversification, Lee NYC’s growth, and opportunities that exist in the marketplace. At 6:14, Peter provides his thoughts on commercial rent control and the current retail landscape. At 11:15, Braus discusses situations in which pop-up stores make sense for a tenant. At 13:31, he makes note that the definition of mom-and-pop stores has changed. At 17:38, Peter talks about SoHo now versus the SoHo of the past. At 20:46, Braus speaks on a tenant having the power in the current day marketplace, and at 23:49, he shares time being on the tenant’s side. At 29:00, Peter dives into starting Lee NYC about 8 years ago. At 30:07, Braus believes that in brokerage one doesn’t have the option to spectate given the “eat what you kill” nature of the business, and as a result one must always be on the job. At 33:20, he points out that Lee NYC likes to hire athletes due to the competitiveness athletes possess. At 36:17, Peter shares the impact September 11th has had on how he goes about his life. At 40:34, Braus answers the question in if he believes real estate owners will shop around and take advantage of rising cap rates and distress in the marketplace. At 48:00, he discusses advising clients on how to leverage the equity in their buildings. At 56:14, Peter mentions his dislike for “stupid, lazy and/or lying” brokers. At 58:41, Braus talks about Long Island City and Amazon. At 1:03:25, he dives into the collaborative culture at Lee NYC. At 1:07:41, Peter speaks about learning from difficult past experiences, as well as breaking through the clutter in NYC when Lee NYC first started. At 1:12:23, Peter Braus closes out the podcast with a dual message on appreciating what you have to work for, and not allowing the highs get too high and lows get too low.