Skip to main content
TDS&Co News

Spotlight On: T. Dallas Smith, Founder & CEO, T. Dallas Smith & Company

By May 23, 2023June 13th, 2024No Comments

SOURCE: Capital Analytics Associates

In an interview with Focus:, Founder and CEO of T. Dallas Smith & Company, T. Dallas Smith, talked about the highlights for his company over the last year, which included the start of a new company focused on transformative developments in marginalized communities. He also relayed that his outlook is optimistic, with the goal of turning the company into a billion dollar business.

What have been some key highlights for your company over the last year? 

One of the first things that comes to mind is the leadership transfer. I was originally the president as well as CEO but have always planned to one day hand over the role of President to Leonte Benton, who began as an intern with me back in 2007. We had an official baton passing in August 2022.

I have a few pillars that I am building for this year, and one of them is to help marginalized communities through our new real estate development company. I was blessed to be named as President of the Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS® this year. It is the largest commercial board in the country with close to 2,500 members. Of that 2,500, 576 brokers did $47.6 billion worth of transactions. People really don’t know how deals are made, but nine out of ten times the driving force behind location selection is the broker. The conversations I have had with ACBR members are around looking at other opportunities. For example, with the Microsoft transaction, they purchased 90 acres of land near Bankhead Highway. In all my 60 years, I have never witnessed a development in that area. The Microsoft transaction led to more and more sites being activated. I believe Microsoft is coming from the position of helping the community first from housing to retail to healthcare. Microsoft wants to be part of the community beyond employment. It is one thing to sell a product, but it is another thing to provide something and have a holistic standpoint when it comes to the communities they occupy.

What role do partnerships play in the real estate scene of Atlanta? 

The commercial real estate industry is a very solo-oriented industry and goes from one deal to the next leaving very little room for partnerships. We’re creating this thing that we are calling Wisdom Circle and that is to benefit younger people trying to get into the business. It is my responsibility to give the knowledge that I’ve acquired over the years to the next generation so that when we look 20 years from now, commercial real estate should look very different.

Every other Friday I’ve been doing mentorship calls with people I don’t know who are interested in commercial real estate. The purpose is exposure. The only way we get more people of color into this industry is to expose them to it.

How do you strive to distinguish yourself from competition? 

I’m clear on my assignment. My assignment is to not focus on the competition but to go beyond doing deals. My goal is to impart what I know to the next generation, and what I know now is that I get more value out of seeing another generation come up behind me.

How would you describe the strength of the commercial real estate market in Atlanta? 

Atlanta is extremely strong. For the ninth year in a row it is the top place to do business in the US. We have a government that is very pro-business and is going to do a lot with electric vehicles. A new battery plant is opening up, so you are going to see more development here. From a diversity standpoint, we have had diverse leaders my whole life so that is normal to have that kind of representation.

How have interest rates impacted your profession? 

Large companies are not really worried. Small companies, of course, are going to have a harder time if they are not creative. It’s really about where they are on the scale.

Which asset classes are you seeing get the most attention right now? 

Multifamily will continue to be strong. When you have these larger corporations that are now buying houses in bulk and renting them out, there will continue to be a challenge but that is also an opportunity as companies can do it but so can individuals. The reality is you can start somewhere, and the earlier you start the better.

Where have you seen the greatest shifts in demand for your services? 

Because of the work we did with Microsoft, success kind of builds upon itself in similar ways. For instance, we’ve had more major corporations reach out to us based on our work with Microsoft. These days it is more like business comes to us.

Are mentorships challenging now that many people are in a work from home environment? 

This new environment is very challenging for the youth and younger employees just joining the workforce. They can’t really get a sense of a company’s culture or have organic conversation. The education and knowledge gap is going to be huge compared to those that are in office and engaging more often. I believe there is likely going to be a return to office with an expectation of being in the office more.

What is your outlook for your company and the commercial real estate sector? 

I believe Leonte Benton can turn this company into a billion dollar company. When I started this firm in 2007, there was no backup plan or even a second option because of the mindset I had to succeed. You have to be able to hear what is for you and what you can do that is unique.

Click here to view the original article