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Beyond The Bio: 16 Questions With The Boulder Group Founder And President Randy Blankstein

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This series profiles men and women in commercial real estate who have profoundly transformed our neighborhoods and reshaped our cities, businesses and lifestyles.  

Randy Blankstein was 27 when he founded The Boulder Group in 1997. More than two decades later, his Illinois-based real estate firm is one of the 10 largest brokers of single-tenant net lease deals in the U.S., according to Real Capital Analytics.

The Boulder Group CEO Randy Blankstein
The Boulder Group CEO Randy Blankstein

The Boulder Group has closed over $4B worth of deals, and it is marketing properties in at least 15 states. It also has a research arm that puts out reports on the net lease market. 

An Illinois native, Blankstein received his bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder's Leeds School of Business in 1991. In addition to leading his company, Blankstein also serves as the chair of the Net Lease Summit Conference and co-chair of the IREI Triple Net Investor Strategies Conference. 

Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?

Blankstein: We provide advisory services to developers, high net worth individuals, family offices and institutions in the single tenant net lease property sector.

Bisnow: If you weren’t in commercial real estate, what would you do?

Blankstein: I would be running a mobile and web applications company as [I have] several ideas in the sales and productivity sectors that I would like to develop.

Bisnow: What is the worst job you ever had?

Blankstein: I spent a summer in high school doing maintenance for the city public works department. It’s not that the job was that bad; my skill set was below average.

Bisnow: What was your first big deal?

Blankstein: In 2001, I sold a $170M portfolio of three Cargill cold storage assets, located in Atlanta, Montreal and Toronto.

The Boulder Group CEO Randy Blankstein
The Boulder Group CEO Randy Blankstein with his family

Bisnow: What deal do you consider to be your biggest failure?

Blankstein: Any deal where one of our client’s investments underperforms is a failure.

Bisnow: If you could change one thing about the commercial real estate industry, what would it be?

Blankstein: More focus on data-driven decision-making as the industry remains behind the times in certain areas.

Bisnow: What is your biggest pet peeve?

Blankstein: There really are two major pet peeves: lack of hard work by individuals and people who lack integrity.

Bisnow: Who is your greatest mentor?

Blankstein: I don’t have just one specific mentor in mind, instead there are a number of them. But to anyone who has ever helped me out along the way, I appreciate it.

The Boulder Group CEO Randy Blankstein
The Boulder Group CEO Randy Blankstein

Bisnow: What is the best and worst professional advice you've ever gotten?

Blankstein: I love Warren Buffett’s quote, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it." It is something to remember, both in business and in personal dealings.

Bisnow: What is your greatest extravagance?

Blanstein: I like to stay in high-end hotels.

Bisnow: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?

Blankstein: Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami. One of my favorite things to order is the grilled seafood platter.

Bisnow: If you could sit down with President Donald Trump, what would you say?

Blankstein: Is that hair real?

The Boulder Group CEO Randy Blankstein
The Boulder Group CEO Randy Blankstein

Bisnow: What's the biggest risk you have ever taken?

Blankstein: Starting my own net lease advisory company at the age of 27.

Bisnow: What is your favorite place to visit in your hometown?

Blankstein: My favorite place to visit in my hometown of Glencoe, Illinois, is the beach.

Bisnow: What keeps you up at night?

Blankstein: A good nonfiction book that I just have to finish. Some of my latest reads have been "Am I Being Too Subtle" and "Poor Charlie’s Almanack."

Bisnow: Outside of your work, what are you most passionate about?

Blankstein: I have strong interests in family, reading, tennis, paddle, skiing, cycling, politics, finance and technology.

CORRECTION, SEPT. 25, 9 A.M. ET: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of The Boulder Group CEO Randy Blankstein. The story has been updated.