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Behind the List with Arthur Campbell

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In the background at Arthur Campbell’s Lemoyne office is a 100-year-old grandfather clock that was his grandfather’s. Photo/Stuart Leask
In the background at Arthur Campbell’s Lemoyne office is a 100-year-old grandfather clock that was his grandfather’s. Photo/Stuart Leask

president of Campbell Commercial Real Estate

Q: How has the market affected business since 2008?

A: I think the biggest thing was that a lot of people were saying they were waiting for the market to come back, rather than being proactive. My background in management and brokerage has helped me help my clients leverage their properties for brokerage or lease. This has benefitted me even in a down market.

What do you expect in 2013?

People are still looking for deals again, whether it's for sale or leasing. It's still a buyers' and tenants' market. Until everyone understands the implications of tax regulations on their businesses and their real estate, there's still a lot of unknown.

Which area of commercial real estate is doing the best right now?

It appears that warehousing seems to be doing well. There maintains an interest in multifamily housing. Some of the weakest areas are vacant ground and retail.

My business is very client-oriented, so the majority is still in office sales and leasing. I'd say that's 70 percent of my business, with additional work that I do in retail, land or apartments.

Have any of your clients or others turned to creative incentives, such as free rent for a year, to sell or lease their properties?

Every landlord is different, and they're in different situations. It's very competitive for landlords to incentivize tenants with various options, whether that's free rent, buildouts or flexible lease terms.

One of the problems in today's market is that landlords and tenants are concerned with the financial constraints of each other. Tenants wonder how the landlord will be able to maintain the building, and landlords are concerned that tenants will be able to continue to pay their rent. Part of our job is to make sure landlords and tenants have compatible relationships and that the relationship will work out long term for both of them.

You get to be part of someone's creative vision for the physical home of their business. What do you find most interesting about your work?

Whether assisting them from a new construction project or designing new offices, helping them occupy a business that they're proud of.

I worked with some nonprofits, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I helped the Neiman Group with the relocation of their Harrisburg office and Capital BlueCross with the opening of their first retail store, called Capital Blue. I also assisted HACC with the relocation of their culinary program in space at the Blue Ridge Country Club (now the Clubs at Colonial Ridge). Those are some diverse projects that were all fun.

One of the things that I'm able to do is put users in space that fits their needs, taking space that currently exists and matching users with it. In that case, it was space that Blue Ridge had available and that the culinary school could use with very little modification. So it worked to the benefit of both HACC and Blue Ridge.

You're running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's 2013 Man of the Year. What are you planning in your campaign?

I do a comedy night every year for a lot of my clients, and I'm going to turn that event into a fundraiser.

I'm also going to redo a miniature golf tournament that I used to do for charity. It was the first tournament in Harrisburg, the year water golf opened on City Island. It operated the way a lot of golf tournaments do, just with miniature golf.

There will also be a few surprises.

About Arthur Campbell

Arthur Campbell, 60, founded Campbell Commercial Real Estate in 1984. In 2001, he was named Realtor of the Year and earned a Lifetime Award from the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors.

He lives in Lemoyne with his wife, Cathy. They have one daughter, Caroline, and son Adam and his wife, Renee, have two daughters, Ava and Emerson.

Campbell holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Penn State University and teaches continuing education classes to help real estate agents and appraisers earn recertification credits.

In his spare time, Campbell enjoys playing golf at West Shore Country Club, one of his favorite local courses, traveling with his wife and planning special events.

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