With over 18 years of real estate experience, Eric Speckman is the co-founding principal of Beauxwright. He focuses on sourcing and executing infill development and acquisitions of multi-family and commercial properties. Eric shares his insights about the field of real estate development, why he chose to be a part of it, and how he stays involved in his hometown city of Charlotte.
What drew you to the field of real estate development?
What drew me to commercial real estate was the opportunity to be entrepreneurial and have a work/life balance, as well as the dynamic nature of the industry. What drew me specifically to development was the ability to be involved in a real estate project from start to finish, that can positively impact your partners and the community. In many roles in the industry, you may play just a small part in the development process. It is incredibly fulfilling to take a site from concept, to design, through construction and operations, and ultimately to an exit. Every day is different, and that is hard to beat!
Beauxwright was built on the foundation of creating and cultivating long-term relationships. Why is this so important in what you do?
The importance of relationships is truly a foundational value of Beauxwright. Being collaborative is incredibly important to having a successful development from beginning to end. Whether we are rezoning a property and need to get support from the neighborhood/stakeholders, raising capital from our capital partners, or working with the many team members that help us design and build a project, we view creating win-win solutions as a must. Ultimately, our relationships provide us the best opportunity to have sustainable success while honoring our values.
In addition to a degree in economics, you have an MBA in finance. Do you think your background influences your decision-making and approach to real estate?
I had a great experience as an undergrad, but my time in business school was very influential in how I view risk and make decisions about real estate. It was beneficial to work on the brokerage side of CRE for several years, in a low risk position, before starting business school. I was also very fortunate to start in the late 2000s when there was such chaos in the economy and the real estate industry. I had this unique opportunity to learn from mistakes made, but in an academic setting. When I finished my MBA, I felt I was armed with a lot of valuable knowledge, and despite the fact the market was still recovering, I was excited and confident about the opportunities that I believed would be presented for the next several years.
You’re also a licensed real estate broker in North and South Carolina! What made you decide to pursue this and does it play a role in your day-to-day life?
I started my career on the brokerage side of commercial real estate. I haven’t used my license much in the last 10+ years, but I am grateful for the experience and everything I learned. As a broker, you work with many different types of owners in the real estate industry, and I learned a lot about myself and what was interesting to me while in that role. So while the license doesn’t play much of a day-to-day role, the experience is something that shaped how I problem-solve, working through every project we undertake. It is also what led me to become a developer.
What about your job do you find the most rewarding?
We are constantly challenged and always learning. Therefore, we have to be creative to solve the complex puzzle that is any development project. Working with our team at Beauxwright, as well as other partners to find solutions, makes our job incredibly rewarding and fun.
Like your Beauxwright partner, Chris Warren, you’re a Charlotte native. What has been most surprising to you about how the city has changed - or not changed - over the years?
I believed for a long time that Charlotte was on a great trajectory, but the amount of growth has been astounding and frankly, it gives me a sense of pride. I truly enjoyed my childhood growing up in the Queen City and considered living in some other cities out of college, but I’m so glad that I came back home to start my career. The city has been fortunate to have great business and civic leaders who have paved the way for the growth we have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy.
Do you feel that being “native” provides you with an advantage in your approach to the local real estate market?
I do believe there are benefits that come with growing up in Charlotte. Perhaps the biggest advantage for me is having seen so much of the growth happen over time and experiencing the evolution first-hand, of different neighborhoods over the decades. Seeing the public and private investments that have been good or bad for different areas is something that is certainly valuable to me as I look to identify good opportunities in the path of progress.
You’re very active in the community. Describe some of the organizations and causes that are most important to you and why.
I’ve been involved with a non-profit called The Corners Society for the last 12 years. Corners was founded by native Charlotteans who felt a strong sense of pride and gratitude for the Queen City, and wanted to give back in ways that directly impacted the local community. The organization supports local causes and local non-profits through hands-on volunteer work, as well as raising money for these causes. I have always felt fortunate to grow up in such a dynamic and thriving city, and Corners provides me a great opportunity to give back to the city I love.
Affordable housing is another cause that is important to me. It is a problem here in Charlotte and across the country. Roof Above is a local organization we have supported as a company and I have also personally. The organization is dedicated to ending homelessness and increasing access to affordable housing options. They focus on improving access to services and resources that provide stability to people in need. Achieving stability will provide a person the best opportunity to have sustainable improvement in their quality of life.
If you had to choose only five words to describe Beauxwright, what would they be?
Entrepreneurial, creative, authentic, humble, courageous.
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff or even the things that seem big at the time. Always know that if you stay true to your values, you will overcome stressful situations and those experiences will be more valuable than you can ever imagine. This may be cliché but true, nonetheless!
- Favorite restaurant: Supperland
- Beach or mountains: Beach
- Favorite day of the week: Saturday
- Call or text: Text
- Favorite hobby: Golf