When David Brain was looking for a real estate investment trust to finance a new format of movie houses ? the megaplex theater with between 10 and 30 screens — no one was interested. But he didn’t give up. He enlisted the help of Peter Brown, former CEO of AMT Theaters, and the two formed Entertainment Properties Trust (EPR). It now has investments in more than 100 multiplex theaters with many operators, as well as retail, public charter schools and metropolitan ski areas.
But it was not all smooth sailing since the August 1997 formation. At that time, many large theater operators were in bankruptcy. Anxious to build new megaplex theaters, they had to get out of their leases for the traditional movie houses. The bankruptcies brought negative headlines for the industry, and EPR’s stock fell. Brain was only able to find one bank that would listen to him share his vision, but he succeeded in getting EPR’s debt refinanced. Since then, the company has grown and diversified its portfolio.
Clearly, Brain enjoys a challenge. He approaches it with enthusiasm and a can-do attitude. One of his frequent discussions is how EPR thrives on the differences between perceived risk versus real risk in its investments.
The relationships he develops can be seen in the number of repeat business deals with many operators. He works at establishing trust by showing that he cares about the people with which he works. There’s a family feeling inside the successful public company.
One of his best skills is how he lets his executives freely execute the company’s key initiatives without any fear of being micromanaged. Understandably, most key managers have been promoted from within the company. Since Brain has been CEO, the company retention rate is more than 90 percent, a testament to the empowering work environment.
How to reach: Entertainment Properties Trust, (816) 472-1700 or www.eprkc.com