Families in RE: Inspired by father, sons follow in Michael Treadwell’s path

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By Suzanne Heyn

Casey and Reed Treadwell grew up with their dad, Michael, toiling away in commercial real estate, driving slowly past properties he wanted to look at and taking certain routes on the way to baseball games to examine other projects.

While Reed always wanted to follow his dad’s career path, Casey had other ideas.

“I didn’t want to go into real estate growing up at all, not even when I graduated college,” he said. Instead, he sold outdoor advertising before moving to Austin, Texas. While living in Austin, Casey decided he wanted to try the family business. He signed on with the Bourn Partners in Tucson with the intention of one day working for his dad in Phoenix.

The Treadwell brothers.
The Treadwell brothers.

His dad encouraged him, said Casey, but didn’t push. “He wanted us to make our own decisions,” said Casey.

Reed, on the other had, always wanted to enter commercial real estate. In his early 20s, Reed recalls attending an International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Monterey with his dad. During the trip, he saw the relationship building part of the business, with dinners, golf and networking. “I really enjoyed that,” he said.

Reed briefly experimented with other careers, working in the restaurant and golf industries, but then settled into a position at CB Richard Ellis. Today, he works in mall leasing at The Mills, a Simon Company.

Michael started his real estate career in 1973, at Coldwell Banker. His early career goal was to become a college football coach, but after graduating college, he decided to pursue other opportunities. His wife’s brother had recently started work for Coldwell Banker, and Michael followed suit.

In 1988, he began working for Westcor, developing and leasing property around Westcor’s malls.

Westcor, with its pro-family culture, fit Michael’s family-first mentality. Whether he left the office early to coach one of the boy’s sport teams or attend a meeting at school, “they were always understanding,” Michael recalled.

Finally in 2010, Michael formed Vintage Partners with several partners. “I just felt like at this point in my life, I wanted to kind of control my own destiny.”

Today, Michael and Casey, who also works at Vintage, enjoy tackling new projects and dreaming up fresh challenges. Four or five years ago, they began driving to Flagstaff to look for projects and escape the Phoenix heat. “We came up with all these crazy ideas that most people had had before too, but they didn’t want to take on a lot of the challenges that they presented,” said Casey.

After much research and many meetings, the partners finally bought into the idea. The deals are still in the planning stages, but Casey mentions the project as one he’s proud of. “That felt good after all that time we spent going up and trying to figure it out.”

Each deal carries particular challenges.

“One thing he’s always said,” Casey said of his father, “is that he loves commercial real estate because no deal is the same, no project is the same. There’s always new challenges, something you never expected, and I found that to be completely true.”

Casey and Reed say they have learned a lot from their dad. “He’s well respected in the industry,” said Casey. During meetings, Michael sits back and listens carefully. “When he does speak, it holds more weight,” said Casey. “He doesn’t try to speak over people, so when he speaks up, people listen.” 

Michael says Casey inherited his mother’s outspokenness. “He’s not afraid to speak up and say what he thinks,” said Michael. One of Reed’s gifts, Michael added, is remembering people’s names — a huge bonus for networking. His sons are good people, said Michael. “They treat people with respect.”

The boys look up to their father.

“He is our influence,” said Reed. “It goes back to how other people view him, and that makes us very proud.”

Casey agreed. “I think we all want to be exactly where he is with his relationship with my mom, and with his kids and his business life and his success and how well respected he is, and I think all three of us would be perfectly happy if we ended up exactly like him.” 

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