With a career that’s spanned over 50 years and two continents, it’s clear that Nat Bosa’s professional life has reached a level of success that many can only dream of. But like any entrepreneur navigating an ever-changing market, there have been a few challenges along the way.
“This is a thrilling ride. The thrill is to survive the close calls and come back on top,” he said at the NAIOP Annual Icon Lunch earlier this month. And given what he says were the hardest times in the business, it’s no wonder he’s earned the reputation as a resilient visionary that’s had a major impact on communities across North America.
Admitting he was too impatient and anxious to buy something, Bosa purchased 240 units in Seattle for $6.1 million dollars in 1976. However, what he didn’t realize is that he needed takeout financing from a U.S. bank, which at the time was incredibly difficult to receive. Bank after bank, they continued to deny him of an account. He was growing more worried as time was quickly running out. It wasn’t until his accountant called one bank’s head office, who said all they had to do was open an account and put $50,000 in it in order to receive the loan. Bosa did it that day, and was able to receive the loan – just in the nick of time.
“We used to be very well off, and very quickly we were not well-off.”
In the early 80s, the Canadian government was waging a war on inflation. In an effort to counter it, the central bank drove interest rates higher. As a result, interest rates reached record highs of 24%. Bosa admits pleading with banks not to pull the plug on him as he struggled to make payments on his current projects. He notes that it was through constant communication and staying true to his word that they never did close him down. Many developers were not so lucky.
San Diego: 2008
When Lehman Brothers announced they were declaring bankruptcy in 2008, it affected millions people across the globe, and real estate was no exception. With a strong presence in San Diego, Bosa said that during The Great Recession they went without a sale for a very long time, having to stop all projects. While these were eventually re-launched, they lost hundreds of millions of dollars during this economic downturn.
Though he faced professional challenges throughout his career, Nat Bosa always trusted his instincts. When asked what it takes to succeed in business, he listed the following attributes: courage, vision, integrity, the ability to move quickly, and flexibility. However, he said the most important thing is that every decision “has to feel good”.