As 30-somethings, Block + Lot Real Estate owners hope to leverage youthful energy with growing experience in the commercial real-estate market
Greg Leveridge, Clay Angelucci and Peter Barr of Block + Lot
Late last year, Clay Angelucci began talking with two of his friends in the commercial real estate industry about forming a new group, to be headed by the three of them. Angelucci had been working on his own since 2010, running ACRE Commercial Real Estate, and began discussions with Peter Barr and Greg Leveridge, then both of Haymaker/Bean.
It’s not all that uncommon for real estate brokers and agents to leave one office and form another. Having a triumvirate, with the oldest owner being 33 years of age, is a different story — especially in an industry dependent on older, seasoned decision makers.
“Part of this company is our youth, but along with experience,” said Barr, 32. “We have quite a few years under our belt; it was just time for us. All three of us have an entrepreneurial spirit, and it’s just something that excited us — to put your own mark on something, to put your own brand on something.”
In mid-March, the three launched Block + Lot Real Estate, focusing mainly on commercial listings, and the company expects to have 100 properties marketed by the fourth quarter of 2013.
“I’ve been playing the youth card — you know, young and motivated — but [I’ve been doing this for] 10 years; in a lot of realms, you’re a veteran after 10 years,” said Leveridge, 33, who handled residential real estate in Manhattan before moving back to his hometown of Lexington.
The three said they have built the agency on a philosophy focused on the urban center, a mindset that guides their growth and could be an attribute of their generation.
“We like the downtown market because of how proud we are of Lexington,” Angelucci, 30, said. “We do brokerage all around Kentucky, and we certainly want to grow our database, but Lexington is important to us.”
Around Lexington, the group’s stark black-and-white signs are prominent, as are their family names, which were intentionally left off the company.
“All three of us were blessed to have great family names and were very fortunate with that,” said Leveridge, whose father, Glenn Leveridge, has spent years in the central Kentucky banking industry, including a time as the head of Chase for the market. Glenn Leveridge is now an executive with Central Bank. Barr’s father, Garland Barr, is a founder of Barr Anderson & Roberts PSC, a 37-year-old accounting firm in Lexington from which he is retired; his brother, Andy Barr, is in Congress. Angelucci’s father, Kenny Angelucci, has spent years in real estate and development, and his uncle, Steve Angelucci, is president of Lexington Catholic.
“Our families have been successful, and I think we have each learned different things from our parents and our families in regard to business,” Peter Barr said. “Most of all, from my side, is to conduct your business ethically, honestly, and to work hard. It’s as simple as that. If you treat it that way, then your business volume is going to compound.”
But tying their company to their respective lineages would be counter to their mission, Angelucci said.
“We don’t want it to be about us, we want it to be about the properties, about the clients,” he said.
One of those aspects is working with companies looking to come to town, either with a new office or restaurant concept.
“We want to help with bringing more businesses to Kentucky,” Angelucci said.
Leveridge said he and Angelucci seemed to be seeing a lot of each other when it came to urban infill properties in the Distillery District, along North Limestone and on National Avenue, before Block + Lot was formed.
“We realized we were either going to be competing with each other as brokers or we can join forces, and so we’ve teamed up with each other on all of those and we’ve seen traction on those too, which is real exciting,” he said.
But the group and their other agents are looking at much more than the inner core of Lexington.
“Though Lexington is the second largest market in Kentucky, it’s too small to specialize,” Barr said. “We really do need to focus on all different property types, because of the size of the market.”