A Year in Commercial Real Estate

Liz Holloway joined the Sloss Real Estate team last February as our Marketing Manager. Today, she weighs in on what she has learned in role and in the industry over the past year.  

A little over a year ago, I entered into the world of Commercial Real Estate. Before joining the Sloss Real Estate team, I was closely following the Magic City’s growth and upward trajectory out of personal interest. Sloss Real Estate provided me an opportunity to step inside the realm of commercial real estate and play a part not just in growing our properties, but also in bettering Birmingham as a whole. In my role as Marketing Manager, I’ve been given a platform to share not only the story of Sloss, but also the stories of each of our tenants.

Needless to say, over the past year I’ve learned a lot. From studying leasing terms and rates to pursuing tenants we think would be a good fit for our properties, it is safe to say that no day is the same. Overall, commercial real estate has taught me a few guiding principles that have helped me grow in other areas of my life:


The average company in today’s business landscape has a life span of 18 years, while Sloss Real Estate is celebrating 100 years of business this year. The company didn’t get to this milestone by chance – it took intention and it took vision. When Cathy first purchased the Dr Pepper building in the late 1980s, she knew where she wanted to take the area, and her idea ultimately became a catalyst for Birmingham’s urban core. Even while other developers were looking to the suburbs, she had a vision for reviving downtown.

The company’s vision for creating walkable neighborhoods was also very forward-thinking during a season of strip malls and shopping centers. Pepper Place was designed to be a place where you can park your car on one end of the district and walk with ease to the other end. While this creates a fluid community, not many developers were seeking to create this at the time.

Similar to Sloss Real Estate, we need vision for the different facets of our lives. What is our end game for our personal lives, our jobs, our health? Commercial Real Estate has taught me to not only dream big, but to also fight for your vision and persevere until you get there.


Let’s face it – we live in a world of instant gratification. With two-day shipping, food delivery and technology at our fingertips, it seems as if life moves faster than ever. However, working in commercial real estate has taught me that patience is indeed a virtue. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Pepper Place.

When a lease is signed for an exciting new tenant, it takes months for them to open their doors. In some circumstances, it takes months just to negotiate a lease. While it’s not an overnight process, commercial real estate has taught me that the time period between inception to execution is valuable and it’s a season that should be embraced. It’s during these times that plans shift (often for the better) and lessons are learned. Practicing patience has allowed me to see the seasons of my personal life differently as well.


Lastly, to thrive and find success in commercial real estate, you must have courage. While this looks different for everyone on the Sloss Real Estate team, it essential that we have it to move forward with our vision. In the last year, we’ve secured tenants that some would have deemed out of reach. But, with courage and tenacity, we were able to show them that Pepper Place is the right place for them in Birmingham.

Courage is also imperative as our team seeks to do things differently. It’s not common that you find a commercial real estate company that has a farmers’ market, but we know this contributes to our vision and it benefits our surrounding community. The bold example that Sloss Real Estate has set has empowered me to pursue things for myself that feel out of reach or seem daunting.

In the past year I have learned a lot of valuable lessons – and some were learned the hard way. Ultimately, these three guiding principles of vision, patience and courage are important to embody in all areas of our lives. It’s when we embrace them that we are able to propel ourselves and our organizations to the next level.