I took this photo of Mick Jagger when I was a photojournalism major at the University of South Florida. It made the cover of a small time music magazine, and I had visions of eventually getting my work on the cover of Rolling Stone. Just like the song. Around the same time, I took an […]
About Walt Batansky
Walt is the Chief Financial Officer and a co-founder of Avocat Group. In addition to oversight of financial reporting, he is responsible for managing client metrics and benchmarking, due diligence, and determination of restructuring costs for client M&A activity.
Walt has devoted his career to the study of how real estate is utilized by corporate and business users. During his career, he has managed an organization providing end-to-end corporate real estate services to business space users across North America and globally, including providing analysis for a myriad of the Fortune 500 as well as public and private firms of all sizes in fixed asset consulting, development, leasehold and fee acquisition, and disposition. Clients include McKesson, Radio Disney, United Parcel Service, Transamerica, Emerson Electric, Aetna, CoreStates Financial, Sprint, Philips North America, Spalding Sports Worldwide, NYNEX, PSS World Medical, Evenflo Baby Products, Kforce, Inter-tel, and more.
A graduate of the University of South Florida with a B.S. degree in Business Administration/Finance, Walt has overseen the outsourcing a complete range of real estate and facilities activities for these corporations, including providing facility strategy consulting, leased professionals, and partnering strategies to support and finance entire facilities departments to large publicly traded companies.
Walt’s areas of expertise include financial analysis, site selection, lease evaluation and negotiation, project management, market analysis, financing alternatives, build-to-suits, and fixed asset consulting. He has personally negotiated more than one thousand transactions and assisted with several thousand others in all 50 states and 8 countries. Notable projects include multiple corporate headquarter facilities ranging in size from 35,000 to 750,000 SQFT including offices in the Chrysler Building in NYC and a $22.5M build-to-suit with Walt representing the user in land assembly, pre-development, purchase, construction, and sale-leaseback. His team oversees multiple 100+ location corporate portfolios and has managed facility relocations of up to 800+ staff.
He is considered a leader in developing innovative operating cost reduction strategies, has been a guest lecturer at both public universities and private companies, and has authored more than one hundred published articles on the subject.
Specialties: Corporate real estate portfolio strategy, financial reporting, tenant representation, lease restructuring, optimization of facilities, cost reduction strategies, real estate market analysis, cost segregation, mergers & acquisitions, benchmarking & metrics, compliance, supply chain.
Entries by Walt Batansky
Let’s consider the corporate headquarters of a fast growth service business. Suppose that 1) they have a preference for keeping everyone together in one contiguous space, 2) they desire to strategically minimize cost and risk, and 3) growth rate is a variable based on many factors. What is the smart way to scale facilities? A […]
If you have a growing service business, you probably used to shop for office space by comparing rental rates. The lowest cost space, of comparable class alternatives, was often the best choice. That’s no longer the case. The cost of labor, including attracting, hiring, compensating and retaining staff is typically between 8 and 12 times […]
With the exponential rise in online sales over the past few years, and an expected additional increase of 54% by 2020 according to Forrester, retailers as a category are hurting. A June 2017 article in the L.A. Times predicted that up to 25% of U.S. malls will close in the next five years. It is not that […]
On many CFO and financial executive’s Urgent Issues or Focus List, real estate often doesn’t make the top ten. Why? I think in part it is because the impact of a real estate decision is spread over many categories of the Profit & Loss Statement. (I won’t get into FASB ASC 842 even though it […]
Acquisitions often focus on just a handful of items: synergy, talent, perhaps geographic coverage and/or technology, and revenue of course. The investment bankers and attorneys that orchestrate the deal generally do a great job of ferreting out the business issues that need resolved. Except for the real estate. In the grand scheme, real estate is […]
When choosing professional services, there exists an old adage that the largest providers are the safe bets. “Nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM” was the well known saying implying that a large company offered at least the reasonable perception of reduced risk over smaller firms. In regards to technology consulting, those advantages may have […]
The City of London realized, shortly after WWII that they would need a new airport, now known as Heathrow. The job of determining the location was entrusted to Alfred Critchley, a successful businessman. Consider the many criteria that must be considered when choosing the location for a major airport: Transportation access, proximity to the […]
Most commercial office leases contain a provision that requires the tenant to promptly return an estopple upon request. What exactly does this bit of legal jargon mean? It’s actually pretty simple: an estoppel is a common legal document that serves to 1) confirm various aspects of a lease agreement and to ensure that important documents […]
It seems like every accounting, real estate, and asset tracking software firm has published an article on the new FASB Lease Accounting Standards. I’ve noticed that they all tend to talk in generalities about the actual mechanics, and none that I’ve found seem to offer suggestions from a corporate user perspective aside from “Get ready!”. […]
When companies acquire or merge with other competing or complementary firms, real estate is, as a part of the transaction, generally a small overall concern. However, we frequently see major risk being absorbed by the acquiring firm with potential for a very negative surprise down the road.
Here’s the error: Due diligence of the real estate is often relegated to their investment advisory firm and/or an M&A legal team to simply provide a cursory review of the legal terms of leased real estate without much attention to the business terms.
A few months ago, I joined Amazon Prime. That’s a $79/year program that Amazon developed that gives members free 2 day shipping on Amazon-stocked products (which is most of the stuff that they sell). For me, having nearly anything I want conveniently delivered anywhere I want in two days is fantastic. However, the second time I bought from them
If your lease is silent on the subject, most States provide that a landlord can charge double rent during a holdover period. Many commercial leases address this issue and specify some increased rent penalty from between 125% (if you negotiated it up front) to 200%. In addition, since rent is paid monthly, you are obligated to pay for the entire month
Any corporation with more than one office/branch/site is large enough to have real estate portfolio objectives. With just a handful of locations, the C-level executives are likely very hands-on in determining the best solution as real estate opportunities or decisions present themselves. Once the number of sites grows to a point where that oversight is delegated though
We located a building that had four vacant floors of about 25,000 SQFT each and made the landlord the following offer: The landlord would agree to have an entire floor painted and carpeted, and my client would lease just 5,000 SQFT with an option to take additional space at the same rent and a first right of refusal if the landlord found another user for the balance. Further, rather than put up a demising wall
Every business has a learning curve as it grows, and the collective wisdom learned along the way becomes an invaluable knowledge base. This is especially true in regard to your facility strategy. By analyzing what was done right and what could be improved in each new location or lease renewal process, you can develop rules to achieve the greatest return and avoid pitfalls.
It is a great time to be a tenant, and here is another example. Because almost all options are written with the assumption that rates will climb forever upwards, we’re seeing some interesting effects as rental rates tumble. Some options are literally not worth the paper they we’re written on. However, declining markets have made some usually unattractive renewal options have new value. Here’s why:
If you were around and fortunate enough to have a cell phone 30 years ago, you most likely had a Motorola “brick”. It made calls. It did not have a camera, email, mapping or navigation function, calculator, clock, or play music. It could act as a paperweight, mini-dumbell, or a defensive weapon in a pinch. Now, […]
I’m not crazy about condominiums. Here’s why: Other people (the condo association – which is often controlled by a very small group of individuals) get to vote on how to spend your money. Some of those choices may not add value for you or to your property. Operating expenses on leased commercial property work the same way. The management company, which is the property ownership