Cheri O’Neil is an anomaly, and not just because she’s a woman who heads a Southwest Florida commercial real estate brokerage firm.
As senior vice president and branch manager for brokerage firm Savills Studley’s Tampa office, O’Neil takes a markedly different approach to real estate from her competitors.
That’s because Savills Studley exclusively represents tenants in their search for space, land and investments. By contrast, most brokerage firms tend to represent landlords and their properties.
“I consider tenant representation to be much more gratifying than typical landlord work,” O’Neil says. “But what really sets us apart is entrepreneurial spirit. In today’s business world, I believe the things that drive success are all entrepreneurial.”
O’Neil says another key to Savills Studley’s success is that the firm isn’t adversarial with opposing brokers or landlords, who pay tenant rep brokerage commissions — even when a tenant’s goal is to reduce its occupancy costs.
“A lot of what we do is educate tenants to the realities of the market, and structure deals so both sides get what they want in a transaction,” says O’Neil. “And everyone in a deal is driven by different metrics, and because we understand that, we help everyone get to a win-win situation...”Commercial Real Estate Profile: Cheri O’Neil | Broker, Tampa
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