154: 7 Steps of A Development Deal, with Alex Sanders

Welcome to the CRE Clarity Podcast with Jeremy Goodrich. Our guest today is developer extraordinaire, Alex Sanders. This conversation dives deep into the 7 essential steps of CRE development, guiding you through each stage from finding the perfect location to exiting the project successfully. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, this episode is packed with valuable insights to help you navigate the world of CRE development!

Learn more about Alex and his story at creclarity.com!

“Being a mentor doesn’t mean that they’re geniuses or professionals in their fields. The big part is that they can help you to build up your confidence.”


Alex’s parents were residential real estate agents, but he knew from an early age that he wanted to do something different. He started his career as a CRE broker and eventually chose development as his career. According to Alex, the biggest help in his career were his mentors and he recommends working with one to everyone.

“Always be open to learning. Listen to everybody, but choose what advice you actually want to implement.”


Alex dives into the 7 key steps of CRE development and how to do them right.

  1. Site search. The first step is crucial – identifying the right asset class for the specific site. This is a great starting point for new developers, as it sets the stage for the entire project.
  2. Entitlement. The key to overcoming common zoning hurdles is thorough research and building strong relationships with local authorities.
  3. Designing. Work with local architects and design teams as they have market knowledge and local connections.
  4. Financing. Align yourself with an equity partner who shares your vision for the project.
  5. Final approvals. This stage involves securing site plan approvals, project approvals, and permit approvals from the city.
  6. Construction. Ensure everything runs smoothly by working closely with the construction team and clearly outlining the project timeline in the contract. Having a solid insurance plan helps mitigate unexpected delays.
  7. Exit. Many options exist for exiting the deal, including presales, waiting a few years for the property to stabilize, or long-term hold. They are increasingly more risky.

“Good developers are able to be a visionary, be persistent, and know the market.”


Toward the end of the conversation, Alex shares what he’s most excited about in the CRE world right now. He’s looking forward to the future of the Nashville market and highlights its stability due to steady population growth. However, he is concerned that deals might get harder to do requiring greater creativity from investors.

Finally, Alex shares one point of clarity with the listeners – If development is something that you feel passionate about then surround yourself with a good team that can help you succeed.

About our Guest, Alex Sanders

As a Development Executive at Mortenson, Alex Sanders leverages his extensive knowledge and experience in real estate, investment, and development to create exceptional projects that embody financial prudence, long-term sustainability, and an enhanced quality of life for individuals. He has been involved in the development and sale of real estate across various sectors and markets, including life science, healthcare, industrial, manufacturing, multi-family, student housing, hospitality, sports-anchored mixed-use developments, and developer-led public-private partnerships.

His ultimate goal is to drive transformative change within communities by spearheading initiatives that foster lasting positive impacts. Alex is dedicated to delivering exceptional customer experiences and generating innovative solutions that positively shape neighborhoods and communities. He brings expertise, leadership, and collaboration to the table, ensuring that each project demonstrates financial responsibility, long-lasting durability, and adds significant value to the lives of people. He is proud to be part of Mortenson, a top-20 builder, developer, and provider of energy and engineering services that is committed to helping organizations move their strategies forward.

Mentioned in the show:

  1. His LinkedIn
  2. His Email
  3. www.shineinsurance.com/reiclarity
  4. The REI Clarity Framework

Need an instant insurance ballpark for your next Multifamily deal?! Answer 9 simple questions and we’ll give you a sense of what insurance should be. Visit us here for everything you need to know: https://www.shineinsurance.com/ballpark/ 

Special thanks to Alex Sanders for taking the time to share so many great insights with us

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Until the next time, We truly appreciate you listening.

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Show produced by Eni Horvath