Sansone Group expands nationwide amid industrial real estate boom
April 21, 2022…

By Gloria Lloyd – Reporter, St. Louis Business JournalFeb 11, 2022 Updated Feb 24, 2022, 10:33am CST

Sansone Group is expanding in new markets across the country, having opened new offices in nine cities with the goal of developing more square feet of industrial real estate than any other company nationwide.

To reach that goal, the company has ramped up industrial acquisitions over the last two years while opening most of those new offices.

The Clayton-based real estate firm, founded 65 years ago by the late family patriarch Anthony Sansone Sr., who died in April 2020 at age 93, is run by four of Sansone Sr.’s eight children, all principals: Jim, Doug, Tim and Nick Sansone.

Over the years, the company has transitioned from a small brokerage firm to a real estate investment, development and management company with 330 employees and more than 40 million square feet of commercial space in 19 states. The company manages 150 properties totaling around 15 million square feet with an asset value of $1.5 billion, and has a brokerage team that brings in over $210 million in annual transactions. The multifamily division oversees 8,200 residential units.

But the company’s new strategy of growing its strategic alliances to source deals nationwide has led Sansone opening new offices first in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and then over the last two years in Kansas City; Indianapolis; Seattle; Denver; Cincinnati; Paducah, Kentucky; Gladstone, New Jersey; and Albuquerque, New Mexico. The company has hired 133 employees since January 2021, including 35 new positions.

The growth in the company’s offices has been primarily spurred by the boom in industrial development and construction. The Sansone Group ranked ninth among the top 20 commercial development firms in 2021 according to trade journal Commercial Property Executive. The company has more than 9 million commercial square feet completed between 2018 and 2020, with more than 14 million square feet under construction. The company has set a lofty goal of challenging some of the other firms for the most industrial real estate under development by Anthony Sansone Sr.’s birthday in July, as another way of honoring the leader whose company values still rule how the Sansones make business decisions today.

“Dad was always looking ahead, and when one space was doing really well, he was already looking to the future on where is the next sector that’s going to be doing well,” said Nick Sansone. “The idea was to expand across the country and take advantage of e-commerce.”

A partnership with industrial industry veteran Jeff Greenwell in Indianapolis went so well that Sansone continued acquiring land and warehouses across the country by finding other industrial veteran brokers who knew each area’s market and the best ways to expand, especially near port cities where there is greater demand for distribution sites. That started in New Jersey and Salt Lake City, which has become a distribution hub for California, and has continued over the last year with the acquisition and development of a new speculative industrial park, Legacy Park at Tradition, about two hours away from Miami.

The company currently has 39 industrial projects in the pipeline that amount to about 40 million square feet of warehouses to be built on 3,600 acres in 16 states. Six million square feet of that is currently under construction, with a large percentage starting in the first quarter of this year.

But even as the company continues to expand its industrial footprint, the brothers are taking their late father’s advice to seek out the next hot sector. That could be retail build-to-suit, where the company has seen increased demand for banks and fast-food restaurants, striking deals with two New Mexico-based developers for projects across the country.

In choosing where to build, Sansone has followed institutional capital and real estate trends, which don’t always align with building in St. Louis. But the company and its family business tradition is still firmly rooted in St. Louis, where the brothers and most of the company’s employees live.

“We don’t plan on going anywhere,” said Jim Sansone.

The company’s multifamily division, led by Tim Sansone and based in Missouri and Illinois, has been a growth area for the company. With a focus on affordable housing, the division can add thousands more units without expanding its infrastructure, he said.

The principals all credit the company’s veteran team of a dozen brokers for creativity in landing deals and finding new avenues for growth in St. Louis.

“These guys do all kinds of things to source deals, very entrepreneurial. That’s what separates us from others in the industry, is that we’re very entrepreneurial by nature. And that came from our dad, who always said don’t put yourself in a box where this is all you do,” said Doug Sansone. “We try to drive that mentality down throughout the organization. You might be a retail broker or you could be an office broker or an industrial broker, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go do a residential land deal.”

More about Sansone

What: A commercial real estate firm specializing in development, facility management, and brokerage services in commercial and residential sectors

Top executives: Principals Jim, Doug, Tim and Nick Sansone.

Real estate transactions volume in 2021: $180 million

Employees: 330

Headquarters: 120 S. Central Ave., Clayton

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