PHOENIX—For ViaWest Group founding partnerSteven Schwarz, playing poker is more than ahobby. Combining statistics and psychology, poker prepares thePhoenix real estate veteran for successfully negotiatingcomplicated real estate transactions, analyzing market trends andpredicting the future growth of submarkets. Nicknamed the "czar"among his poker buddies, Schwarz keeps meticulous spreadsheetrecords of every game his friends have played for the last 10years.

Schwarz's meticulous nature has served him well during his 22years in real estate. ViaWest Group made headlines this summer forpurchasing the $163.1 million Biltmore FinancialCenter, three class-A office buildings at the northwestcorner of 24th Street and Camelback, the largestmulti-tenant office sale in the Phoenix area at the time since2007, according to CoStar. ViaWest Group manages more than 2million square feet and owns 1.5 million square feet in the Valleyranging from Nexus, a 120,000-square-foot officeproperty at the ASU Research Park, to the Chandler MidwayCorporate Center, a 139,800-square-foot mixed-use officeand office condominium project.

When Schwarz isn't making bets in the game of poker or realestate, he is heavily involved with the community including JewishFederation of Greater Phoenix (board chair, NAIOP (chairman in2005) and the Fiesta Bowl Committee, among others. Schwarz a little insight into the similarities between realestate and poker.

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Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown is an editor for the south and west regions of She has 25-plus years of real estate experience, with a regional PR role at Grubb & Ellis and a national communications position at MMI. Brown also spent 10 years as executive director at NAIOP San Francisco Bay Area chapter, where she led the organization to achieving its first national award honors and recognition on Capitol Hill. She has written extensively on commercial real estate topics and edited numerous pieces on the subject.