EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story appeared in the Oct. 30 issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a past member of the Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class.
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Steven Lane says the most enjoyable part of his job is that it’s never the same from one day to the next.
That could also accurately describe the evolution of Northwest Arkansas, and Lane has enjoyed a front-row seat to the progress for the past 25 years. As a long-tenured commercial real estate broker in the market, he is constantly selling the region to investors, both in and out of Arkansas. He said one of the most difficult things to impart to them is the area’s full potential.
“We are a growth market, fast-moving and with constant announcements of new projects and a lot of great things happening,” Lane says. “We try to cut through the clutter and give clients a clear-headed view of the market and where it’s headed.”
Lane, who will turn 52 in November, works for Little Rock-based Colliers International Arkansas, the state’s largest commercial real estate and property management firm. He is managing director of the company’s Northwest Arkansas office on South Pinnacle Hills Parkway in Rogers.
In 2004, when he was recognized by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal as a Forty Under 40 honoree, Lane was a principal of Lane Real Estate Services Inc., a brokerage he founded in 2002 with business partner Ramsay Ball.
In 2005, the firm merged with Colliers Dickson Flake Partners (now Colliers International Arkansas) in Little Rock, bringing a statewide presence to the firm.
“[Colliers] recognized they needed a Northwest Arkansas branch office and Ramsay and I always had the idea that we would merge with a larger, national commercial firm,” Lane recalled. “That was always our intention, so it was a natural fit.”
Today, Lane — who began his career in Northwest Arkansas working in the real estate department for Wal-Mart Stores — oversees an office with 20 employees including property managers, maintenance personnel and 10 brokers. He says the firm has experts in office leasing, development, investment properties and property management, and “the strongest retail team in the state.”
“In commercial real estate, it’s never the same day twice, and that’s about ten-fold in Northwest Arkansas,” Lane said. “We’re very blessed in this market with so much opportunity. There’s a lot of brokers across the country, but a lot of them don’t have this kind of opportunity that we do.”
Lane has led a number of notable Colliers projects in the region. The firm leased the Fountain Plaza development in Bentonville for property owner Dynamic Development (Jeannie Fleeman Sooter), and has leased and managed Northwest Arkansas’ largest office park (Beau Terre) for more than a decade. The 35-building, 383,000-SF office park is just off Interstate 49 in Bentonville, intersected by Arkansas Highway 72.
Lane also points to the firm’s current office near the Pauline Whitaker Parkway roundabout in Rogers as a development highlight of his tenure. It’s part of a development called Country Club Plaza, and includes an 85,000-square-foot office building (fully leased to multiple tenants) and a 22,000-square-foot retail center (90% leased to multiple tenants).
Lane said his focus at this point of his career is less of being a production broker and more of an administrator. His job, he says, is to make sure brokers have an environment where they can be successful. He said at least two brokers work on every listing.
“We are fully bought in to the company’s core values, which are a focus on the client’s needs, a focus on the firm and individual personal growth,” he said. “And of course we want to have an enjoyable work environment.”
Colliers also recently added to its bench by acquiring Irwin Partners, a Little Rock-based firm with an office in Fayetteville.
“In Northwest Arkansas, we’re bringing over Tom Reed, Katie Hampton and Matt Brown, and they are all a great fit and bring great relationships to the firm,” he said.
Lane and his wife Kim have two children attending Bentonville High School, and he is serving a second term as a board member for the Endeavor Foundation in Springdale.