Tommy Molin grew up in and around real estate, starting with his father, Oscar, a custom homebuilder at Lake Keowee. Working alongside the guys who built the homes, the youngster would, for instance, go pick up some sheetrock. He also picked up a steadfast work ethic.
“Understanding the details is important,” says Molin, who hung out his own shingle in June.
His commercial real estate firm, Anchor Retail Advisors, operates in a realm far beyond the industry’s typical location-cubed model.
“We’re truly an advisor where, although you’re working real estate transactions, you’re almost basically a part of your client’s business,” Molin explains, offering a checklist of the work he does for primarily retail-tenant buyers, users and investors throughout the Carolinas and Georgia.
Anchor assesses client needs; studies a company’s demographics and sales data; learns about its previous location and whether that site worked; determines if the business wants to expand and examines square-footage needs; and seeks an optimal tenant mix in a given location, among other tasks, he says.
“I really want to be a part of my client’s business — meaning, I want to see their success. When they open up, I want people to hear about how good the location is,” he says.
He keeps his sights on sites and knows their availability in and around Greenville. At 43 years old, the native South Carolinian draws on his experience in commercial real estate since 2001. From 2006 until opening Anchor, he worked as vice president of CBRE’s retail group and for its predecessor firm.
Today, Anchor’s clients sell everything from dollars to doughnuts — from BB&T to Dunkin’, from AFC Urgent Care to Zoës Kitchen, and from Planet Fitness to Plato’s Closet, to name just a few of more than three dozen marquee companies.
At the same time, he says he finds the most joy working on new-to-market concepts, “where they come in fresh and there’s an excitement level.”
“The excitement that you get is finding a business concept that would not only complement and encourage and create success for that concept,” he says, “but also really contribute to the value of the community.”
Among his favorite projects: The Poe West development in the Village of West Greenville, which started leasing around 2019. The 60,000-square-foot campus houses Greenville Tech’s Center for Culinary and Hospitality Innovation and now boasts a coffee shop, a chocolate shop, restaurants and cafés, fitness centers, a distillery and, most recently, a gallery for local artist Joseph Bradley, whose other studio recently burned down in a fire — a list as diverse as Anchor’s expansive roster.
He says he especially enjoyed working with Poe West’s developer, The Furman Co., because he got to be involved in architectural and branding meetings.
While still at CBRE, he teamed with Blaine Hart on leasing — work that, as the Greenville Journal noted in January 2019, echoes Molin’s MO: “To find the right tenant mix for the neighborhood.”
Hart, senior vice president at CBRE, says he has known Molin for 15 years and has lost count of the number of their collaborations.
“Tommy’s a kind of above-the-norm personality,” Hart says. “He’s a very likable, relatable guy, so when he gets into business, people gravitate to that.”
And that’s why Molin ultimately opened Anchor: “Going out and starting my own company really allows me the opportunity to kind of slow down and work with laser focus with select clientele.”
- Tenant and buyer representation
- Landlord and seller representation
- Lease and contract negotiation
- Site selection
- Project consulting
- Broker opinion of value
- Financial modeling
- Void analysis
Source: Anchor Retail Advisors
Tommy Molin has worked some 480 sale and lease transactions totaling $283 million across 35 markets in the U.S.; completed 94 restaurant transactions totaling $60 million; and represented 39 corporate and franchise clients in expansion, relocation and disposition initiatives.
In addition to those listed above, clients, past and present, include:
Fifth Third Bank
Ryan’s (where he managed a portfolio of 300-plus restaurant group properties in 23 states from 2004 to 2006, before joining CBRE)
In Greenville, he has been involved in leasing urban and mixed-use projects including Poe West and, among others:
Cornerstone at Main
Drayton Mills Marketplace
Main + Stone