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Thriving metro area on Florida west coast creates many opportunities for advisors

Tampa is a great place to call home. It’s where I was born and raised. And it’s a hub of opportunity for those to work in commercial real estate (CRE), which is what I’ve done here since 2001.

The city has been on the move for decades. The population here has increased steadily, driving significant economic growth. According to one recent report, Tampa had the seventh-highest totals in population growth from 2014 to 2019 among cities with populations exceeding 250,000. Tampa’s population swelled from 362,664 to 399,700 during that period.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Besides our beautiful beaches, the cost of living has been a draw. A report in 2018 ranked Tampa as having the lowest cost of living among many other large cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Jacksonville, Orlando, Phoenix, Nashville, and Denver. It’s simply one of the best places to live in the United States and it lacks for nothing.

Over my lifetime, the economic growth and changes I’ve witnessed have been nothing short of mind-boggling. New construction has transformed the skyline. We now have three major professional sports teams and the city benefits from all the accompanying revenue. The Tampa International Airport is among the nation’s top-30 busiest airports. J.D. Power’s annual survey consistently places the airport in the top five nationwide for customer satisfaction (in 2020, it was No. 2 in the United States).

One of the most significant areas of CRE growth in Tampa has been office space. We boast Florida’s largest office market, which started from relatively low levels in the mid-1990s and expanded into millions and millions of square feet since then.

That’s obviously good for a CRE advisor, which I became after finishing my real estate degree at Florida State University. During college, I had originally majored in economics, a discipline that required a course in real estate. As it turned out, that subject interested me so much that I switched my major over to real estate — also to finance, as a corollary.

It’s worked out well. Growing up in Tampa (I’m a fourth-generation native) has definitely given me an edge. First, it’s afforded me some excellent business connections. That’s important here because even with all the expansion and newcomers, there’s still a core of longtime residents who comprise Tampa’s influencers and decision-makers. Having lived here all my life, I can get on the phone with them and hash things out without having to go through any third party. I’m able to call someone’s cell phone and use that person’s first name, which is a marked advantage.

Being plugged into that network helps my clients when I’m doing tenant, buyer, and landlord representation. And importantly, these people are an ongoing source of referrals.

As a Tampa native, I also enjoy the obvious advantage of knowing the area backward and forward. I’m aware of what’s growing and why, where people want to go and what they’re leaning toward. A native can also anticipate changes in real estate values here more intuitively than a newcomer.

In addition to all that, it’s a distinct benefit to have SVN growing in this community. SVN Coastal Commercial Advisors in Tampa is an extension of the Sarasota-based SVN Commercial Advisory Group. The office started up in 2019 and has established a solid presence.

The future looks sunny here on Florida’s west coast.

Kenny Anderson HeadshotKenny Anderson, Senior Advisor
SVN | Coastal Commercial Advisors