Hometown broker brings niche retail names to State Street

Posted on by on December 14th, 2012 | 0 Comments »

PACIFIC COAST BUSINESS TIMES | ARTICLE BY MARLIZE VAN ROMBURGH
Published December 14, 2012

Commercial real estate brokers like to quantify and rank everything:  You can stack one broker up against another by looking at number of deals done, square feet leased, square feet sold, or — perhaps best of all — the total dollar value of all that dealmaking.

But for Blake Andrews and other smaller players in the market, it’s not always a quantity game.

Andrews, a lifelong Santa Barbara resident, broke off four years ago to start Presidio Commercial Real Estate, after he spent six years with one of the larger firms in town.

“I thought of a business plan that would be different from what’s out there,” he said. In essence, Andrews said he’s focused on keeping costs at his one-man operation down and going after high-profile deals. “I found out that on my own, I had much better control over overhead,” he said.

He has also carved out a niche doing retail deals in the high-rent blocks of downtown Santa Barbara.

Over the last year and a half, he has brokered a 6,000-square-foot lease to American Apparel at 735 State Street, in the Balboa Building, and a 3,405-square-foot lease to retro-inspired clothing boutique Bettie Page at 807 State Street.

Andrews also negotiated a 1,302-square-foot deal to San Francisco-based Goorin Hats at 802 State St. and a 1,605-square-foot lease to Benefit Cosmetics at 925 State St.

While bigger retailers can often better afford the higher rents on State Street, Andrews also works with mom-and-pop shops, such as Beads of the Earth, which he helped move in to 1,484 square feet of space at
619 State St.

Andrews was born and raised in Santa Barbara and attended UCSB, before spending time traveling and working odd jobs ranging from a stint in a nightclub in Switzerland to a job in Silicon Valley before the dot-com bubble burst.

But he was eventually drawn back to his hometown, and he’s been in commercial real estate in Santa Barbara for the last 10 years, the first six with Pacifica Commercial Realty.

He said he’s seen the city change significantly since his childhood days. “I don’t remember, growing up, people coming to Santa Barbara and spending all this money to stay in a fancy hotel for the weekend,” he said.

• Contact Marlize van Romburgh at mvr@pacbiztimes.com.

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