Whenever Bill Sadataki looks at a new real estate investment for his firm, SB Equities LLC, he considers numerous factors, including access to labor, transportation, infrastructure and market stability. All of these come into play when he and his partners evaluate investments in the Akron-Canton region, and a prime example is the company’s investment in the Akron-Canton Regional Airport (CAK) industrial business park in Green, Ohio.
“We believe that the CAK park is a logical choice, because it’s really got a prime location, provides economic incentives and foreign trade zone benefits,” says Sadataki, a founding and managing member of the SB Equities. “It’s got great highway access and it’s also adjacent to the Akron-Canton airport. All of those things make it attractive.”
Sadataki adds that one of the most important considerations in a new investment is: Is it going to appeal to the market and its users in future years?
“We’ll look at the market as whole and try to identify which areas have historically been the most viable and the most attractive to users,” Sadataki says. “Then we also look at going forward; is that likely to continue or has there been a shift in the market? So when we looked at the current and existing tenants in the park [and they] are all high-grade and mostly national companies like Goodyear, Diebold, InfoCision, ASC Industries — all of the buildings in the park are kind of an institutional quality. It seemed logical to us that as that park builds out and extends into future phases, we wanted to be involved with it, because it’s clearly an area that’s going to be a growth area.”
The benefits of investing in Akron-Canton’s pro-business environment have spurred Sadataki’s and his partners’ continued investment in the area and their strong advocacy of the region’s investment potential. In addition to purchasing the leasehold interest in the CAK park as well as two buildings within it, the firm also became the property manager and leasing representative for the balance of approximately 40 acres of vacant land. Having this vertical structure has positioned SB Equities to both attract and accommodate new users but also to participate with local and regional public entities such as the city of Green, Summit County Port Authority and the Akron-Canton Airport in the future.
“We try and be pretty vocal proponents of the Akron-Canton market whenever we get a chance,” Sadataki says. “We also, through brokerage activities, are in a constant state of promoting the region to client companies, trying to attract new business to the area. We’ve kind of put our money where our mouth is in terms of investing right in our core markets of Akron and Canton. I think that that, if nothing else, as you are talking to people, it shows confidence. And you’re not asking them to be pioneers. You’ve already done that. The pioneering work has been done by others. We’re just trying to keep it moving along.”
Ongoing and improved cooperation between the city, county and other entities continues to stimulate a more positive environment in the Akron-Canton region for existing businesses as well as start-ups and prospective investors or business entities looking at the area. For example, new businesses seeking to shorten project timelines are aided by the region’s focus on economic development, which makes it easier to accomplish tasks such as securing building permits or looking at economic incentive packages.
“In some areas of the state, it’s very difficult to get things moved from the conceptual phase through realization,” Sadataki says. “It’s been my observation that in the Akron-Canton area, people are really interested in getting things done, not just prolonging the process. So projects can either move forward or not move forward, but they can do it in a more expeditious manner. I think that’s pretty key to anyone who is looking to make an investment.”
How to reach: SB Equities LLC, (216) 831-3310 or www.sbequitiesinc.com
Investing in an evolving world
It’s a well known fact that the United States and most of Europe face significant headwinds. So what can an investor do to withstand them? Go global. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that the U.S. and developed Europe will struggle to eclipse 3 percent and 2 percent real GDP growth respectively. It also projects that new industrialized Asian economies and other advanced economies will grow by between 4 and 5 percent per year. What does this mean to you? It means you must embrace a global perspective when investing for growth.
Although the United States still has the largest and most dynamic economy in the world, the current political and fiscal challenges remain problematic. Today, new and changing economies in countries like Vietnam, South Korea and various South African countries are quietly experiencing rapid growth. China and India are often in the forefront of the news, but these peripheral countries stand to benefit as the global middle class expands as well as recovers.
Now more than ever, you need to focus your portfolio on the global economy and domestically look for corporations that derive the majority of their revenue from outside the United States. Although the U.S. economy is vast and growing ? albeit slowly ? we face an array of challenges in the immediate investment culture.
John Y. Kim, J.D., LL.M. is the principal of Symphony Financial Services Inc., located in Akron, OH. Symphony Financial Services, Inc. which was recently featured in the March, 2011, Forbes magazine. John was honored as one of the “40 Under 40” successful businessmen by Crain’s Cleveland Business News in December, 2003.