Moses Hall is the founder of MoHall Commercial & Urban Development, a commercial real estate firm that is based in Chicago. The company aims to help build communities by providing space for offices, shops and medical centres close to where people live.
Moses, how did you get involved in the real estate industry?
After graduating college in 2012, I realized there weren’t many jobs available in my field of study. I was taught growing up, if an opportunity doesn’t present itself, always create one. The light bulb in my head went off and I realized that one thing that all types of art forms needed was venue space. Therefore, with the money I saved up during college, I decided to open up an event loft space in the downtown area of Chicago.
It was an artistic space, where people did photoshoots, filmed scenes for independent movies, hosted workshops and held company launch events. The name of my company was “MoHall Lofts”. Within a year of opening, the concept had taken off and I was reviewed as one of the upcoming event spaces in Chicago. I was featured in publication such as, Verizon Wireless Small Business series on my determination as an entrepreneur.
However, I started to run into a size problem. My loft was only 800 sq.ft and I started to receive calls for hosting large events, more so than what my space could accommodate. At the time, I was leasing “MoHall Lofts” in a commercial building. With this new demand, I was looking to expand.
However, my existing business model would’ve had to change and I would no longer be affordable to local (smaller) artists.
Then it hit me! I said to myself, I need to learn how to acquire and purchase a commercial building for this very purpose. I started doing the math on what my landlord was earning per unit versus his monthly mortgage payment – he was turning a major profit.
This sparked my interest further. So, after a tough choice, I decided not to renew my lease for “MoHall Lofts” and focus on learning the real estate business by obtaining my Real Estate Broker’s license, obtained in 2014.
What made you decide to start your own firm?
In order to further my mission of community development, I felt it would be best to branch out and start MoHall Commercial & Urban Development. MoHall Commercial & Urban Development will not only represent clients, but will also do developments of our own in the community.
As the founder, it has always been my dream to start my own firm and take control of my destiny. I have always had an entrepreneur spirit since I was a child and I discovered creating generational wealth for my family begins with ownership. I plan to grow MoHall Commercial & Urban Development, to have offices in multiple cities and also do developments in other cities as well.
What is commercial real estate, as opposed to regular real estate?
Commercial real estate refers to buildings or land intended to generate a profit, either from capital gain or rental income. Commercial property includes office buildings, medical centers, hotels, malls, retail stores, farm land, multifamily housing buildings, warehouses, and garages.
This is different from residential real estate, where a buyer would be looking for a single family home or condo to live in and occupy.
This also affects how lenders and banks look at the property type. Generally speaking for a home purchase the bank will require a lower down payment vs when acquiring an commercial property there is a higher down payment required for financing. In addition, when purchasing a commercial property lenders more so look at the income the property is producing vs the person actually borrowing the money. So when buying a commercial property it’s less about the borrower personal credit score and personal finances and more about the property they are buying.
How does commercial real estate help build communities?
Most homebuyers, when looking at a home, consider several factors: Distance to public transportation, highway, shopping, schools and restaurants. Inversely, businesses and/or developers look at the demographics of a neighborhood for site selections.
So in order to build communities there needs to be commercial infrastructure. Every neighborhood needs anchor tenants such as Target, Starbucks, etc to attract families to move to a neighborhood. In addition, most people like shorter commute times to work, which is why neighborhoods need office space.
When combining these elements where people can shop, work, and play, it strengthens local communities and create economic thrive zones.
What kinds of urban development are you involved with?
MoHall Commercial & Urban Development is currently overseeing the portfolio sale of commercial properties in the Chicago area, in which we are bringing in a developer to restore these dilapidated properties. This portfolio sale includes building types such as Multi Family, Mixed Use, Office and Retail. Once this project is completed, we will have created housing for local residents, placed small businesses in the retail spaces and also have given the opportunity for businesses to set up their office operations as well.
MoHall Commercial & Urban Development is also in charge of leasing up a medical building in the Chicagoland area. We will be placing doctors’ offices, dental clinics, pharmacies and other medical professionals in this space. This was once a run down and vacant building in the community that we are reviving.
What are some of the challenges of running a commercial real estate firm?
One of the challenges of running a commercial real estate firm is keeping up with demand. As a brokerage we are always looking for listing opportunities. There is a huge demand in the Chicago market for commercial properties, with a heavy focus on Multi-Family. With a slowing inventory, our listings do not last very long on the market. We have a buyer database that not only extends locally, but internationally as well.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!
You can follow up with Moses Hall at http://mohallcommercialud.com