A dedicated mountain biker, husband, father, and baseball coach, Mark Craig is an active, vibrant Puget Sound native who enjoys everything the area has to offer. He’s also president of Henbart LLC, an established commercial real estate buyer and asset-management organization. As a subsidiary of the Bartell Drug Company, Henbart LLC shares its parent company’s long and successful history, which includes more than 120 years of operation. Since 1922, the firm has acquired and developed a number of successful commercial properties and built its reputation on strong asset management and customer service. Here, Craig outlines the company’s sustainable initiatives and red-carpet customer service.
My passion for commercial real estate comes from my previous work with Lighthouse Properties, where I was director of finance and first got the taste for investing in commercial real estate. In 1996, we set up our own internal property management—and over the last 15 years, I’ve never looked back.
When I first became involved in the property-management business, there was a big learning curve. The first property I acquired with Lighthouse Properties was Harbormaster on Lake Union. It was a 50,000-square-foot office with a 106-slip marina. It was a very interesting property with more than 70 office tenants. I jumped headfirst into property management—it was successful, and we were able to profitably sell it in 2005.
Up Close and Personal
What was your first job?
I grew up in Bellevue [in Washington] as a bit of a pool rat and became a lifeguard when I was 15.
If you weren’t a real estate investor, what would you be?
I love to cook, and owning a restaurant and being a chef would be fun. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of chefs over the years and [have] developed strong friendships with them.
What inspires you?
I get most excited about taking something and making it extraordinary—being able to take existing assets and being able to fulfill our corporate mission. Providing Puget Sound businesses with excellent quality drives what I do.
Describe yourself in three words.
Driven, fun, and devoted to my family.
What is your hidden talent?
I’m a pretty good mountain biker. It’s a big passion of mine.
The foundation of our brand rests in creating the “Henbart experience.” At Henbart, our tenants are our customers and our No. 1 priority, which means providing tenants with professional and responsive customer service. We work with a number of third-party property-management companies, and it can be a challenge to instill an ownership mentality within these managers. We’re also in a very competitive business where our third-party property managers are dealing with 15-plus other properties.
I’m hands-on with each of our properties and responding to tenants’ needs. We also have an on-site engineer who is quickly available to take care of building issues and answer any questions. It’s a cyclical business driven by the market. Additionally, at Henbart, we believe in anticipating the needs of our tenants by being proactive and innovative in our approach to building management. Whether it’s a cosmetic renovation or a desire to become energy-efficient, we work with our tenants to help them meet their needs.
Going green is a very important segment of what we
do. Two years ago, we established a relationship with BetterBricks. As the commercial building initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, BetterBricks champions the guiding principle that commercial buildings should be designed and operated with energy at top of mind. The goal is to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficiency best practices among real-world building professionals. The BetterBricks initiative provides education and training workshops, seminars, and conferences to equip Northwest building professionals with technical and business skills to help them better incorporate energy efficiency into their business practices.
Not only do commercial buildings represent a staggering drain on energy, but they also have the potential to reframe the area’s energy demands and carbon output. To realize that potential, BetterBricks provides practical information, strategies, and examples that demonstrate how to reduce energy use in new and existing commercial buildings. Additionally, our staff makes every effort to provide our tenants and neighboring communities with energy-efficient, sustainable properties. To us, this means seeking out LEED certification for all of our buildings and creating a clean and sustainable working environment. We take pride in the opportunity to give our customers a comfortable place to work while also lowering tenant costs.
Increasing the Henbart brand means more
than just providing our tenants with a place to conduct business. We believe in building a sense of community in our neighborhoods. We also are always keeping up on best practices—being sure that we’re up-to-date with sustainability issues and helping our team grow and learn. We’ve implemented a portfolio-wide energy-management and sustainability program. Our engineering team also goes to a range of training sessions throughout the year to maintain sustainability proficiency. We view acquisitions from an energy-management approach and use scorecards to assess the current energy efficiency of a property. We’re always looking at what we can do to improve in our sustainability efforts.