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Dealmaker: Kimberly Kendall helps Bissell tempt tenants

Before Kimberly Kendall came to work for The Bissell Cos. in 2010, she was a broker for Jones Lang LaSalle in Charlotte.

During her time at JLL, she said, she worked mainly on the client side of real estate deals, looking for the perfect space for the companies she was representing.

Now that she’s with Bissell, one of the biggest landlords in the region, she’s getting to see what life is like on the other side of the table as senior associate of leasing.

So how is it to have more than 30 buildings to offer to potential tenants?

Kendall said it’s easier — now that she’s finally able to find her way around the massive Ballantyne Corporate Park.


Kimberly Kendall. Photo by Scott Baughman

When you started working for Bissell, did you get lost in Ballantyne? Yes. It was an adjustment getting to know all the different buildings and getting the names down. I walked every single available space. I remember my first week panicking, making sure I was driving up to the correct building when I would go to meet clients and give them a tour. Bissell has 34 office/medical buildings and also owns the five hotels — The Ballantyne Hotel, The Lodge, The Aloft, Courtyard by Marriott and Staybridge Suites — in the park.

Bissell is such a large company. Do clients ever react negatively to having to deal with such a big firm? Sometimes they do. Clients seem to know and have heard about Ballantyne, and what really impresses them is we have over 4 million square feet under ownership of one family. They know that if they want to jump around to different buildings as they grow — or, as has been the case some recently, contract — they just have one owner to work with. They have one landlord to worry about.

Bissell also owns space in SouthPark. Do you try to shuffle clients between there and Ballantyne? The clients usually come to us with a preference. Often, SouthPark tenants want to be there and they don’t want to be in Ballantyne and vice versa. So we never try to push them one way or the other. And some are open to both properties. But we are limited in space at SouthPark. It isn’t as large. In Ballantyne, we could do a 250,000-square-foot space for a tenant. But in SouthPark, the largest contiguous space is 15,000 square feet.

Last year, Bissell made headlines by starting construction on the Woodward building as a 500,000-square-foot commercial space on spec. How’s that working out? People come and ask me about space in the building. We have had showings for users for the entire building, but we don’t have anyone that is far along in negotiations. But we have definitely had showings. What blows me away about that project is times are tough, but the company is looking for that future growth. And they are already talking about the next building.

Have you worked with any interesting clients while at Bissell? We were in the running for Chiquita, so that was fun. We didn’t get it, but we are thrilled that they chose Charlotte. I’ve worked with SPX and Bank of America and ESPNU broadcasts out at Ballantyne. I have also worked with an Apple supplier, Dynacast, and they make all kinds of products including a mold for Gillette razors and parts for iPads and iPhones.

Age: 42

Lives in: Weddington

Family: husband, Brian; children, Ryan, 16, Austin, 14, Carter, 12

Education: bachelor’s degree in business administration, University of Georgia


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