Art Makris: Experience and Determination Make the Difference in Logistics Real Estate

Art Makris, Senior Vice President, Northeast Region

Ask senior vice president of the Northeast region Art Makris what makes Duke Realty stand out among logistics real estate companies and you won’t get just one answer—more like seven. 

“We do what we say we’re going to do; we don’t overpromise. We’ve got a very transparent, very team-oriented approach,” Makris said. “We’ve got specialists in environmental brownfields, we’ve got construction and pre-construction specialists, a tremendous development services group, a tremendous leasing team. And then we’ve got a tenant roster that we do a lot of repeat business for, not only in a single market but across the country. We are dedicated long-term owners and dedicated to being good corporate citizens in the communities we serve.”

His enthusiasm stems partly from Makris’s length of experience with the company, but it’s also just a side effect of his infectious passion for the work.

“I’ve always been competitive,” Makris said. “Whether it was grades or sports—I wasn’t a great athlete, but I always played sports. My philosophy is, put your all into it. If you’re going to do something, be good at it.”

It’s a philosophy he applies to meeting the challenges of his job every day. 

“Industrial real estate, logistics, warehouse development—whatever you want to call it, right now that’s where everybody wants to be,” Makris said. “But, because it’s the darling sector of Wall Street, we’ve got new entrants into the market who may not know as much, and sometimes they may make mistakes.”

Makris, in contrast, knows this market and the right approach for every season quite well. 

“We’ve got material cost escalation on our construction, so that’s a challenge right now,” Makris said, “but it’s also a positive for our existing property portfolio because rents are up all over.”

 

There is opportunity along with the challenge. “Real estate is cyclical, so you have to be careful in terms of how much you have invested speculatively. You don’t want to go too slow and miss an opportunity, but you don’t want to be overexposed when the market changes. We try to be very well-balanced.”

The depth of Makris’s experience comes from decades in the business. After a start at an accounting firm, he worked as a broker in the mid-90s before joining Duke Realty in 1997. “I probably helped to build about 20 million square feet of development between the Cleveland and Columbus markets,” Makris said. 

In 2018, Makris took responsibility for leasing and development in the Cincinnati and Nashville markets, and in January 2020, he was named senior vice president for Duke Realty’s Northeast Region.

“I never looked back,” Makris said. “I accepted the job in October, bought the house in December. I moved my family during COVID. If you’re going to be a leader, you’ve got to show everybody it’s going to be okay. It’s a blip on the radar.”

What’s kept Makris at Duke Realty for nearly 25 years has been the opportunity to work with other associates with so much depth and experience. “We have one of the youngest portfolios, but one of the most tenured work groups. It’s the kind of environment and culture where you feel comfortable, and you look forward to coming to work every day. I’m at the point in my career where I’m doing more leading and teaching. The bosses I’m trying to emulate are the ones that gave me room but always stood behind me.”

What sort of wisdom does Makris impart to his team? 

“There’s no one right way to do a deal. If you put 10 real estate people in a room and give them a transaction, seven or eight of them, on average, are going to find a way to close the deal. Out of those who do close it, you’re going to have that many different pathways of how the deal worked.”

Confidence and determination help get deals done. “Every deal has a lot of obstacles,” Makris said. “You’ve just got to understand what your real obstacles are, tackle them one by one, and keep moving forward. Don’t back up. One of the things I keep telling my guys is: Do not back up.”

For forward-thinking logistics real estate solutions you can count on for the long-term, the nation’s largest companies put their trust in us and our team. We won’t rest until the deal is done and the tenant is happy.