Atlantic Ave Magazine Feature

by Diane Feen, Photos by Melissa Korman

When it comes to real estate Tom Heller is the total package. He is a member of two elite commercial real estate organizations – The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors and the Certified Commercial Investment Member.

What this really means is that Heller, who owns Heller USA Industrial and Commercial Realtors, is an expert in all phases of the commercial and industrial real estate industry. This isn’t something he decided to do on a whim when the market took off a while back. He has been in the industry for the past 28 years and has worked in every phase of the business from the group up, literally.

“My expertise is in investment and industrial leasing and sales. I turn properties around that are under-performing and help them generate cash flow. I also make them attractive so they generate maximum revenue,” said this Baltimore native.

That may be part of the Heller story, but there is a lot more to his knowledge and expertise. He is a general contractor who knows the construction industry from the inside out. He advises clients how to retro-fit commercial and industrial space and understand the importance of evaluating zoning codes and electrical requirements.

You could call him a know-it-all, but that would not cover the extent of this introspective businessman’s expertise. “I understand credit reports, proforma projections and how to coordinate different aspects of construction projects.”

Heller is also adept at advising clients on when to sell their property or when to buy one. “Tom is the only broker I ever used. He helped me buy and sell property, and when he saw a building he thought was perfect for us he contacted me right away. We bought the building for our headquarters and he leased out the old one for us. Tom has helped facilitate our growth. He is a professional, reliable, and a man of his word,” said Frank Sequin, treasurer and co-owner of Associated Aircraft Manufacturing and Sales Inc.

There is another reason that clients hail Heller as the best in the trade – his honesty and directness. “When I talk to people they feel they can trust me. I don’t spin anything, I lay the cards on the table and if they ask my opinion I don’t sugar coat it. I’ve told people not to sell property and to wait, but if it’s a good time I tell them to sell. I am very client-centric; I put clients’ needs first and foremost.”

Currently one of his clients is the owner of a 60,000 square-foot multi-tenant industrial building in Delray Beach called GULFSTREAM COMMERCIAL CENTER. Heller was called in to lease space that ranges from 5,600 square feet to 21,000 square feet, and has 24-foot ceilings and dock and street level loading. His client roster also includes Suntrust, Bank of America, ABC Supply, Lord Corporation and Pumpco.

He also has a creative and romantic side that trumps the average guy mentality. In 1885 he rode up to his then girlfriend’s apartment building (in Cooper City) on a white horse wearing a knight in shining armor costume. Heller had dueling lance in one hand and an engagement ring in the other. The event was a success (Mary Frances Gualtieri said yes) and the story made the headlines of the Sun Sentinel the next day.

“He rides up on this horse, in shining armor and says, ‘Mary, will your marry me?’ I was shocked. It’s about the best way a woman can be asked to be married,” said Marry Frances Gualtieri, who has been married to Heller for the past 27 years. As a matter of fact, Mary Frances in in property management and accounting at Heller USA Industrial and Commercial Realtors.

As an avid boater he enjoys fishing trips and takes his boat around the blue waters of Florida and the Bahamas. He knows how to maintain diesel engines and generators, and how to navigate the sea.

You may not be able to quantify his IQ, but it seems that Heller is pretty good at a lot of things. He plays basketball three times a week and is the commissioner of a league at the Parkland YMCA. He’s also a doting dad to daughter Alexa (an aspiring actress and performer) and son Jordan, who is a musician, avid skim-boarder and student at FAU.

If you’re looking for someone in commercial and industrial real estate who understand property management, leasing, sales, construction and investment opportunities in North Broward or South Palm Beach County you might want to call on Tom Heller. He has an open ear and a mouth full of wisdom fro his years of success in the industry.