The Intrinsic Benefits of Respecting Others

by Charles J. Schreiber, Jr.

Respect for people. That is a mindset that we seek to employ every day here at KBS, not only at our corporate offices, but also in the field as we interact daily with thousands of tenants via our exceptional property management and leasing teams.

This respect involves being sensitive to the current challenges that companies face and how we, as the owner of their building, can help them to meet those challenges with an improved business address.

This respect also plays out when we buy a new building with a valuable roster of leading tenants. Each one of those tenants has needs, and in most cases, each one of those tenants has made efforts to try to make its space a key component of its business success. As a landlord, we are very sensitive to what these tenants have done to try to improve their businesses, and we are here to help them make their businesses even more successful — even if that means they will outgrow our building. We are always excited to know we contributed to their success.

For years, the investment community has treated office buildings as somewhat of a commodity. Ever since Peter Bren and I formed KBS, we have avoided that mindset. For KBS, each property our investors entrust us to buy is unique, and each property presents an opportunity for us to contribute to the success of the tenants in that building.

But wait … by investing in our tenants’ success, are we depriving our investors of potential gains?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Quality buildings that house successful companies generally will perform well as successful investments. When we invest in a property, it is almost always strategic and with the mindset of making the property the best possible environment for our tenants to attract talent and maximize the success of their businesses. Physical space and geographic location can play a huge role in how a company is perceived by its clients and its employees. The byproduct of this mindset is rewarding for us. It generally never fails. When we invest in the success of our tenants, they exercise loyalty by choosing to retain their leases and remain in a KBS property where they know their needs are part of the strategic plan of the owner of that building. They know they are not being treated as commodities.

Let’s face it — if none of our thousands of tenants renewed their leases, we would not be in business today. I believe that respecting others and being sensitive to their needs have been some of the key reasons why KBS has continued to excel as a respected landlord and why we have consistently enjoyed portfolio-level occupancy rates that are consistently above the market.

How do you earn respect? By respecting others first.


Charles J. Schreiber, Jr. is the CEO of KBS in Newport Beach, California

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