RHODE ISLAND BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Mike Leshinsky of Leshinsky Finance
Nexus Property Management™ is excited to share its first episode of RHODE ISLAND BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT, a long-form video interview series with local business leaders that we’ve personally worked with who go above and beyond in adding value for their clients. In our effort to solidify our reputation as the Real Estate Investment Authority, we want to ensure that those investors who have their eyes on any ambitious projects or want to know more about the potential of making a big move get to know Leshinsky Finance and what they can offer.
Our General Manager, Greg Rice, sat down this week with CEO Mike Leshinsky. Mike was our unanimous choice for the first interview because so much of what he does and stands for matches the principles that we’ve built our own business around. He is down to earth, built his company from the ground up, and is always looking to create win-win situations for his investors and communities alike. Mike is an expert in strategic and financial planning for large scale business projects where a full understanding of ever-changing tax credits, federal and local incentives, and experience as both an investor and a financial analyst are paramount. He has a “love of numbers and a passion for financial modeling, creating projections, and calculating valuations”. If you want to manage your own property without hiring a professional like Nexus, that’s your prerogative; but to dive into a major development without the guidance of a professional like Leshinsky Finance is a risk not worth taking. Let’s face it, so many of us who have been successful have certain strengths and abilities that we’ve fine tuned and we’re rarely short on confidence. But, as Mike puts it, so many otherwise successful owners lack financial literacy and hiring a professional for guidance, advice, and to maintain proper bookkeeping and to review performance is invaluable.
LONG ON EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:
Mike hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota but attended Providence College and Boston University for Masters Degrees after moving to the East Side of Providence, so he’s established firm New England roots since 2005. Although much of his early life, and that of his family, revolved around education, Mike coupled that with first hand experience in the business field by buying a couple Subway franchises. With locations sprinkled around Massachusetts in Plainville, Norwood, Weymouth, and the plans for one in Dedham at the time, Mike was applying his degrees in Modern Portfolio Theory Investment Analysis and Applied Business Analytics to his slice of the largest restaurant franchise in the world. In fact, it was that education that helped him win big: during the Great Recession, while the $5 Footlong was attracting investors from around the world, Mike was able to figure out that the offers to sell his stores were 100 to 150% above their actual value. So he sold them all and made a killing. Because of his confidence in his numbers, his willingness to swim against the tide, and the financial success that came with it, Subway Corporate works with Mike and Leshinsky Finance to this day.
From there, Mike reinvested by exploring and buying into the local real estate market. With six properties comfortably under his belt, Mike estimates that they’ve likely increased in value to the tune of 100-80% since purchase. He dabbled more directly working in taxes in Boston, but quickly realized he wanted to take what he’d learned along the way to help others get ahead. Just over five years ago he started his boutique business consulting firm in Cranston, Rhode Island, expanded into two additional offices (one here in RI, the other in Manhattan), and has collaborated on projects across New England, Upstate New York, and around the globe.
LOCAL PROJECTS AND REPUTATION DEVELOPMENT:
It was about 5 years ago, just after opening their Cranston office, that Leshinsky Finance was contacted by two partners who were interested in opening a brewery in Downtown Pawtucket, Rhode Island. If you’re not in the beer loop, craft breweries have been taking off across the country and in Rhode Island in recent years. The Ocean State boasts its own “Rhode Island Brewery Trail” and a documentary on the evolution of local beer was also released this summer. Just like his foresight in selling his Subway franchises, Mike was ahead of this curve and ready to jump in when the opportunity to work on and help create The Guild came his way. The eight figure project that led to the creation of the Isle Brewers Guild at 461 Main Street was a huge success. Leshinsky Finance created a comprehensive and dynamic model for the project. This included valuation for raising capital along with projections that were essential to debt financing. Mike, who continues to serve as the Finance Director for The Guild, points to this experience as pivotal in his becoming the expert he is today:
The Brewery opened me up to understanding government incentives...new market tax credits, federal historic, state historic, Rebuild Rhode Island...every state and city has their own [incentives] that they can offer...municipalities compete like small businesses.
In his discussion with Greg, Mike continues to elaborate on the importance of staying up to date on the ever evolving incentive landscape. He’s taken this valuable expertise and has helped transform other historic sites throughout the area, from the Pontiac Mills Development in Warwick, RI, to a comprehensive feasibility analysis for a $43 million multi-use complex in downtown Pawtucket. Leshinsky Finance has built its reputation throughout Rhode Island and it’s no surprise that they were at the top of the list when Nexus had their own project in mind.
CROSSING PATHS WITH NEXUS:
According to Leshinsky, there are two types of clients in his line of business: those that are experienced and want support in their project, and those who have no experience and need a lot of guidance. Nexus Property Management™ CEO Nick D’Agnillo was the latter. Someone like Nick is as good as it gets when it comes to fine tuning business practices and analyzing data and professional circumstances, but as alluded to above, that doesn’t translate to useful experience in high end projects like loft development in a two-hundred year old mill. Hired in August, 2019, Leshinsky was the perfect fit for Nexus’ project and he wasted no time in advocating for a tax stabilization agreement with the city and in exploring other incentives. In 2020, Nexus’ 60,000 square foot home, nostalgically remembered as the Feldman Furniture building, was recognized on the Rhode Island State Register of Historic Places. In addition to the 20% reimbursement on the project now that it is a Historic Building, state credits are expected through Rebuild Rhode Island (delayed due to COVID-19) and the previously mentioned 10 year tax treaty from the city was received. Leshinsky is also pursuing a 2% EPA load to do the environmental work needed. Although Nick bought the property up front without Leshinksy’s guidance, once the financer was brought in for the loft project, the vision and reality of the project became clear. As Mike described it, this is “one of the most exciting projects because it’s a win-win for everyone including the city, developer, tenants, and Nick.” What was once a good investment because it gave Nexus a new office under loads of potential elsewhere in the building, has been transformed into a major asset and cog in the reformation of Downtown Pawtucket thanks to the guidance of Mike Leshinsky and Leshinsky Finance.
LESHINSKY FINANCE FOR YOUR PROJECT:
At Nexus we believe in hiring professionals when the job requires it and while we consider ourselves expert in so much of real estate investment, we are partnering with Leshinsky Finance because of the overwhelming value we’ll gain and are gaining from the relationship. On top of sniffing out tax credits and incentives that are often nebulous and constantly evolving, hiring Leshinsky is essential in the all important task of mitigating risk. With so many moving parts it is essential to have someone with experience in aligning the interests of all parties. In Mike’s words, “you have to have a good story” to explain to local residents why a project is a net positive. You need someone to devise and sell that story who is trusted by and experienced in working with municipalities. You need someone who can see through all the noise to construct and evaluate optimal solutions so that your project can meet its full potential.
Leshinsky Finance is experienced in creating and delivering on comprehensive business plans in Rhode Island, throughout New England, in New York, and overseas. Contact them directly (or at [email protected]) with further questions or for a consultation. You can also contact Nick D’Agnillo at Nexus Property Management for more background on our experience with Mike and his team.
Mick Lefort is the Vice President of Operations for Nexus Property Management™. A National Property Management Franchise that manages all types of rental property from single family homes or condos to large apartment buildings and complexes.
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