True Commercial leverages data, analysis to benefit clients
Blaze Cambruzzi believes doubt, not time, is what kills real estate deals.
So he wants his clients to be confident they are not paying too much for properties they like, that they understand how to reduce financial risks while increasing the value of buildings they already own, and that they can find the right tenants for their properties.
The Lancaster County commercial real estate professional also wants to show restaurant and retail chains, for example, how local competition, construction costs or leasing terms, among other factors, can affect their choice of sites for new locations.
Cambruzzi, a familiar face in the midstate real estate industry over the last decade, has started a company in Manheim Township that takes a more consultative and data-heavy approach to client service than would a typical real estate broker.
True Commercial Real Estate LLC is a brokerage and asset management firm that specializes in data aggregation to help real estate investors get more bang for their buck. The firm draws from a wide variety of sources — including local transaction data, demographic information and mapping tools — to build custom financial models for clients.
Cambruzzi and his partners — Darin Wolfe and Ben Bamford — believe their local market knowledge and use of technology allows their firm to be more responsive to clients as they navigate changes in real estate, such as the declining need for retail and office space as more people shop and work from home.
True aims to help clients find the right solution for their individual needs.
For the landlord of an office building, the recommendation might be to offer flexible leasing terms to maintain consistent rental income, Cambruzzi said.
Building owners and tenants can reduce risk, for example, if tenants agree to give advance notice they are leaving, he said. In return, the landlord could keep rent the same for that tenant instead of bumping it up next year,
The True partners believe their quantitative approach to data and customer service will help build relationships that will generate future commissions for the firm.
“If you’re looking to incorporate data and market analysis, and take a broader approach to it, that is what a true commercial real estate firm should be in this market,” Cambruzzi said.
Cambruzzi and Wolfe last worked for York-based Rock Commercial Real Estate LLC, where Cambruzzi was COO and Wolfe a brokerage adviser.
Established relationships already are helping the new venture find clients.
Among them is Chester County developer George Bullard, who has known Cambruzzi for about six years. Bullard’s SpringLane LLC is behind the Shoppes at Wyndham, a retail center near York College in Spring Garden Township.
He hired Cambruzzi to help find tenants for the project. At the time, nine of 11 tenant spaces were available. Five months later, he’s down to two vacancies.
Bullard also has hired the firm to help him on a new development in Delaware County as well as tenant recruitment for another York County project he is planning.
Bullard, who typically buys land and then flips it to other builders after preparing it for development, said he likes the analytical approach that Cambruzzi is taking with True.
“He just has a knack of knowing demographics really well and what fits in those demographics,” Bullard said.
John Lynam, a York County investor who owns Strategic Packaging Corp., an insulated packaging producer near Shrewsbury, has known Cambruzzi and Wolfe from their days at Rock Commercial.
He recently started working with their new firm after failing to get the level of detail on properties and customer service he was seeking from other brokers in the midstate.
He said he likes the way True presents real-time data he needs to make decisions and the time they put into consultations.
“When we met Daren and Blaze, we realized it was a different approach,” Lynam said. “They said ‘This is what this property can do, the income it can produce, the negative outcomes and risk if you buy at this price.’ They gave us a whole new perspective on how to assess risk in an investment in the real estate space and how to mitigate that risk.”
Lynam walked away from a couple of deals based on their advice. True doesn’t make money from that counsel, but Wolfe said he would rather spend the extra time finding the right financial fit for the client because the odds of repeat business are better.
“It’s not our job to sell you a site,” he said. “It’s our job to help you understand a site based on the data we know and your finances.”
Once True got to know Lynam and understand what kind of investment properties he was seeking, the firm was able to find a deal that made better financial sense for him.
He is in the process of closing on an existing commercial property in Lancaster County, though he declined to say where. He also has hired True to manage properties he owns.
Blaze Cambruzzi has more than a decade of experience in commercial real estate in the midstate. He last worked as COO at Rock Commercial Real Estate LLC in York.
That is where he met one of his two partners, Darin Wolfe, who has 20 years of corporate finance experience.
Prior to Rock, Wolfe was a vice president and CFO at Engle-Hambright & Davies Inc., a Lancaster County-based insurance broker.
Both men left Rock in January. True started doing business in late March.
Partner Ben Bamford works in fund development for the Lancaster YMCA.