Cathie Anderson: Ethan Conrad’s building an empire

By Cathie Anderson
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Ethan Conrad owns roughly 100 commercial properties, but most of his 100 employees work in construction.

“If you’d told me, ‘Ethan, you’re going to have 65 guys in construction. Basically, you’ll own a construction company,’ I’d have said, ‘That’s crazy. I’ll never do that,’ you know, but I would have been wrong about that,” Conrad said.

Conrad, who calls himself a property redeveloper, has more than 4 million square feet that he’s either improved or is preparing to remodel: “Most property that I buy is distressed property, so it’s property that has a high vacancy rate and maybe some deferred maintenance. … I remodel them and make them better, and then as part of that, I’ll be fairly successful at leasing the vacant space.”

Conrad, owner of Sacramento-based Ethan Conrad Propertiessaid he still owns the first building he ever purchased, bought in 1995: 3123 Fite Circle, off Highway 50 near Bradshaw Road. He typically doesn’t sell, unless he finds someone who wants to be an owner-tenant for a building with vacancies of 50 percent or higher. The owner-tenant pays a premium for that extra space because it’s room to grow, he explained.