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Episode 6: Georgia with Les Callahan

Updated: Aug 28

It's all about leverage: You're only as good as your next deal.


Derek makes a quick trip to Atlanta, GA to meet with his friend of many years, Les Callahan. Les is the President of First Colony Financial, which develops retail projects throughout the country. Les has extensive commercial real estate experience including retail site selection, development and a foray into trading assets for European pension funds.


"The biggest challenge is understanding the client and their specific needs…attention to detail, understanding what the client wants, and trying to be on top of that and anticipate those things."

Les started out working with a single family home developer and quickly making the switch to commercial, selecting sites for Days Inn developments. He moved on with an opportunity to representing European Pension Funds, trading assets such as malls and office buildings. This invaluable international experience schooled him in global finance and led him to his next venture: ownership. He began developing pizza franchises, with the help of his first investor, his girlfriend- now his wife of 38 years.


Later, Les created his company First Colony Financial to develop retail giants such as Walmart, Home Depot and Hobby Lobby. Les talks to Derek about his most challenging deals as well as the ones that make him most proud. With his 40 years of experience, he explains the value of taking risks and focusing on the specific needs of the client.



About Les

Leslie G. Callahan, III is the President of First Colony Financial Corporation, a real estate leasing, property management, and development firm founded in 1982. First Colony operates in Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. First Colony and its affiliate partnerships have approximately 150 tenants including Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Publix, Hobby Lobby, Beall's, Ross, Dick's Sporting Goods, Olive Garden and Cracker Barrel. In addition to its retail portfolio, First Colony-affiliated partnerships have owned or developed two story office space and business/flex space. Les is the Tax Matters Partner for 31 entities.


Les graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science Cum Laude in 1972. He was the 2008 President of the Georgia CCIM Chapter.


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