GRS Group has announced several exciting new hires lately, and one of them is Timothy Van Zant, who came on as zoning operations manager, and is based in Oklahoma City. He took some time to discuss with us how he got involved in this sector of commercial real estate, his duties for the firm and trends he sees in the industry.

GRS Group: How did you get involved in CRE zoning?

Timothy Van Zant: I was in the process of building up a client base to provide contracted zoning reports. I submitted an email to GRS Group in the process of reaching out to prospective clients when I was contacted by them.  GRS Group shared what they were contemplating relative to zoning and survey services, which ultimately led to my accepting a job offer with the company.

GRS Group: What is your main focus/job duty right now at GRS? 

Van Zant: I provide client/company support for technical issues relative to zoning. I also provide a quality review of zoning reports given by our zoning vendor, as well as recruiting additional contracted vendors to bring onboard to assist in the preparation of zoning reports. Additionally, I research the municipal information for specific properties that I have been assigned to prepare a zoning report. Finally, I provide operating procedures for aspects of zoning relative to municipal research, quality review, and report preparation training for new vendors.

GRS Group: How are different CRE assets impacted by the zoning process? Are some property types more complicated than others? 

Van Zant: The exciting thing about zoning is that the types of properties vary on a regular basis, which makes each site interesting. Every property has its own set of challenges, and although some are more complicated than others, most of the complications arise from the municipalities themselves. The jurisdictions throughout the country are for the most part similar in terms of restrictions placed on development of the properties, however, some ordinances/development requirements are much more detailed and time-consuming to apply to a specific site.

GRS Group: What are GRS zoning clients asking for right now and how are you assisting them?

Van Zant: The concerns associated with zoning are essentially the same with each client, as the focus is on conformance and any violation issues with the property, and its impact on the transaction, as well as the parties involved.

GRS Group: How do you think the health of the CRE industry will play out over the next 12 months? More good news or a slowdown?

Van Zant: From my own perspective, it appears the commercial real estate industry is strong and will continue for the foreseeable future. Zoning is one aspect of the industry that should remain a necessary component, which I do not see changing anytime.

About GRS Group:  
GRS Group is a leading provider of commercial real estate (“CRE”) services worldwide. With offices across the United States, Europe, and affiliates around the globe, GRS Group provides local market knowledge with a global perspective for institutional real estate investors, occupiers and lenders worldwide. The GRS Group team has evaluated and advised on over $1 trillion in CRE transactions.