Graham & Co. LLC has long been a leading player in the Birmingham commercial real estate market. This week, the company topped our List of commercial property management firms for the third consecutive year with over 7 million square feet managed locally. The firm beat out local CRE heavyweights like CBRE and EGS Commercial Real Estate Inc. for the top spot.

John Coleman, vice president at Graham & Co., recently shared his upbeat take on the local CRE market in an email interview with the BBJ.

How is business? It appears to finally be going in the right direction. We have seen positive activity, true absorption, expansions and new companies to the market.

How are you trying to keep ahead of the competition? We have a five-man industrial team that handles from 1,000 to over 1 million square feet. It allows us to provide more coverage and better service to our clients.

How does competition look in the Birmingham area? Last year there were still a good many deals driven by pricing. This year, deals seem to be driven more by demand. This is also illustrated with multiple offers on properties.

Do you see any notable trends in the local market? Continued interest in purchasing existing product rather than new construction. As inventory declines, new construction will be the only option.

Are there any promising areas in the commercial market? I think as the economy continues to improve, we will start seeing some real grow in the industrial sector. This would further support potential new construction.

Are there any memorable recent deals that spring to mind? Two large leases in Shelby County for 247,000 and 263,000 square feet- local company expansions. These types transactions have a tremendous impact on the overall market.

Do you foresee market growth into 2015? I think the activity will continue due to the increased demand and lack of new product. Rental rates will most likely increase and you may start to see more construction.

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