Conley to Seven Oaks

Harry Conley has joined longtime Atlanta developer Bob Voyles’ Seven Oaks Co. as CEO of it property management division.

The move comes as Seven Oaks broadens its property management business from office buildings to include educational and government facilities. Seven Oaks, whose property management division contains about 1.8 million square feet, wants to expand that portfolio over the next three years to include up to 5 million square feet.

Conley is the former president and CEO of Fifth Street Management Co., which already had a strong relationship with Seven Oaks and where he led a shift five years ago toward sustainable real estate.

Conley saw owners and operators putting greater emphasis on sustainability, particularly energy and water conservation. He’ll take the same strategy at Seven Oaks.

“At that time the industry was locked in the old mind-set that these initiatives were counter to a property’s financial goals and would be cost-prohibitive,” Conley said in an e-mail to Atlanta Business Chronicle. “We have consistently demonstrated throughout our portfolio that not only could we implement these initiatives at little to no cost but in most cases … lower operating expenses in the process.”

Seven Oaks is anticipating owners of educational, corporate and government facilities will make cost reductions a priority and in response seek proven property management companies to help carry out those goals. Cutting costs related to owning and operating real estate is expected to become an even greater need for governments, as tax revenues continue to shrink.

Seven Oaks is also expanding its other key divisions, including asset management and build-to-suit development. It has also struck a partnership with real estate investment firm Orkin & Associates. Seven Oaks will help the firm master plan, develop and potentially sell numerous sites in key submarkets across metro Atlanta.