From becoming a self-made commercial real estate investor, to a sought-after international speaker and trainer, and a frequent contributor on Fox Business Varney & Co. advising on global finance and investing, to feature film producer, real estate developer & serial entrepreneur J. Scott Scheel has achieved staggering success and now strives to inspire others to achieve their dreams and impact communities. He is widely known as a “thought leader” in the Commercial Real Estate industry, who kicked open the doors and made investing accessible to the everyday man and woman.
An obvious Type A self-starter, J. Scott still considers himself as an “everyday man” who got his own start in commercial real estate when he purchased one 24-unit multi-family apartment complex in a small Cleveland suburb almost a quarter century ago. Since those humble beginnings, J Scott and his companies have gone on to invest in all 50 states with current activity in over 30. His career trajectory has afforded him the unique opportunity to invest and lead in all major CRE categories, including Class A Apartments, Boutique hospitality, Championship golf course development, Residential housing subdivision, Retail shopping centers, Outlet malls, Industrial-manufacturing facilities and his latest project, a State-of-the-Art Hospital and Assisted-living lifestyle development.
J. Scott, who is also Founder and CEO of the Commercial Academy, which teaches others how to achieve their development goals and financial dreams, loves investing in his clients as much as in commercial real estate. The Commercial Academy has produced their own events for the past 17 years. “I started sharing my ideas and people were intrigued with my strategies. They encouraged me to develop systems that support individuals from all walks of life wanting to achieve similar success.”
J. Scott has sold millions of books, recordings and other products designed for people discovering paths to their own success. “We broke down many of our commercial real estate projects into actual living case studies, and developed programs and videos to explain the unique strategies we use ourselves. We created our own proprietary software, a complete Learning Management System and built a robust network which allows our clients to plug into a culture and environment that significantly advances their career aspirations. We cannot do it all on our own, which is why we are passionate about empowering others to use the models we have created to be successful in their own desired markets.”
As a true “American Dream Success Story”, J. Scott is especially proud of the diversity of his clients, who originate from 27 countries, and how many of them have gone on to attain life changing goals through his mentorship programs. More importantly, many have become his personal friends. “Commercial real estate investment was a ‘good old boys’ network for too many generations; we’re creating a network that is accessible and beneficial to all regardless of ethnicity, religion, prior education or previous career challenges.”
In addition to hosting generalized events, the Commercial Academy also coordinates a premier mastermind group called the Diamond Inner Circle, which meets quarterly in boardroom sessions throughout the world. This private group allows its members to present detailed analysis on dozens of varied real estate investment opportunities for evaluation and possible collaboration. Often these projects become possible after these sessions, when they would not have been otherwise. “It’s so very humbling to receive so many success stories and testimonials from people that have been able to dramatically improve their lives from my teachings. It’s always a gift and a blessing to know I have impacted them and their families, sometimes for generations to come.”
By empowering others and enabling them to tap into a unique networking environment in the commercial real estate sector, an industry where contacts aren’t readily shared, J. Scott has created his own community. He says that he has personally benefitted just as much as those who he brought together. “By sharing my passion, knowledge and ideas, I’ve received back a hundredfold beyond anything I’ve ever expected. I’ve been exposed to so many amazing people, projects and opportunities that simply would have never come my way had I taken a more conventional path. I want to continue to empower everyone I meet personally, as well as those whom I will never meet, but can impact through the principles we share, and developments that serve their communities. It’s all very fulfilling.”
When his father became ill at a young age, J. Scott couldn’t grow up in the type of home he now shares with this wife, Christine, and their four young children Bianca Seraphina, 4, Angelina Renee, 3, J. Scott Jr., 1 and Theodore Edwin, 4 months. This is why he remains full of gratitude and faith, and why he wants more than ever to give back to communities. “I love the community outreach that we do. A lot of the greatest value that we add is way beyond the actual real estate development. We share our strategies, help revitalize buildings and centers, and create new job opportunities. We help re-establish lost values and enthusiasm that have been frittered away over the years through mismanagement, by empowering people to take action with strategies that are best for these markets.”
“A huge part of what we do is rebuilding communities, and we take a long view of how markets are currently, and how they’re likely to shift. Having been involved in both market expansion and extreme market contraction, we understand what needs to be done so communities are not crushed under the weight of all that can happen on either a macro economic or global basis. This experience allows us to make game-changing impacts in communities. When we come into a market, we know how to work with municipal government and provide infrastructure, and we understand that it’s ultimately about how to improve quality of life.”
J. Scott’s visionary thinking has always allowed him to discover trending opportunities before most others. Over the last three years alone, he pivoted to defaulted Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities assets, acquiring over 6 million square feet. He has also become highly creative in utilizing State & Municipal incentives, tax credits and federal opportunity zone programs to facilitate job creation and economic expansion.
“We are branching out into new and challenging projects to expand our impact, opportunities and portfolio diversity. These new horizons include exploring a new project with over 12,000 acres of abandoned coal mines to eliminate waste management problems on the east coast, with new environmentally responsible trash management methodologies. Another exciting project involves one of the country’s largest natural gas reserves with tens of thousands of acres of mineral rights and almost 50 miles of pipeline and rights of way. We want to responsibly solve problems in a manner that is environmentally-friendly and won’t harm people or animals.”
As passionate as J. Scott is about his own investments and training others in commercial real estate investing, his goal in his youth was becoming a film producer. He continues to direct, write and star in films which convey meaningful messages, including a film which he just distributed through Sony Pictures Entertainment throughout 6 continents. This multi-talented real estate titan, who says he didn’t want to wind up as a starving artist, admits that “the initial reason I went into real estate was to finance a film career” and he now can do just that. J. Scott, who also wants to change lives with the messaging in his films, is very enthusiastic about an upcoming film project currently in pre-production, which profiles an underappreciated historical African-American motivational speaker.
As he has done with his films – and his commercial real estate endeavors – J. Scott aims to illustrate that if you treat people with dignity and respect, it will come back to you ten-fold. He is exemplifying this with his new hospital project, and his recent donation of one of his buildings as a police station to enhance an area’s safety and economic development. He always keeps it real and credits his wife and the birth of his children for grounding him and reminding him why he wants to strive for more, despite already achieving unparalleled success. “When I turned 50 a couple years ago, I found myself in a position where I was questioning what I wanted for my future. We just had our second child and I already accomplished much more than I ever would need. My family caused me to take a longer view on what I was doing. I can understand how people may really struggle with the second and third acts of life. There needs to be more positive voices out there in the business world and in life. That’s what we continuously double down on and strive to provide. If it weren’t for my wife Christine and my kids, I don’t know where I’d be. They inspire me to be and do so much more. I want to leave a multi-generational legacy that reverberates well beyond my lifetime.”
Displaying natural poise and charisma on stage, J. Scott has shared stages with world business and economic leaders like former Federal Reserve Chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, U.S. Presidents Trump, Bush and Clinton, and billionaires such as Musk, Branson, Balmer and Buffet He considers it a privilege to have spoken to millions of people over the years, educating, entertaining and inspiring them. Through speaking at events worldwide, from economic forums to personal empowerment conferences, J. Scott inspires others to realize their full potential. He is looking forward to the upcoming Real Estate Wealth Expo in New York/New Jersey. Over 15,000 people are expected at the Expo, on August 17-18, when he will speak alongside other self-made millionaires and megastars, including Tony Robbins, Grant Cardone, Robert Herjavec, music icon Pitbull, and others.
J. Scott Scheel, a self-educated entrepreneur, is a two-time Congressional Businessman of the Year, as recognized by the Wall Street Journal. Over the last 17 years, he has spoken to millions, trained hundreds of thousands, and served tens of thousands of clients. “As diverse as this all may seem, it all works because each of the structural beams of this enterprise fit together as the foundation for one cohesive strategy,” explained J. Scott. And with this foundation, everything he is accomplishing today, and his well-planned vision for the future, he feels he’s just getting started. Yet he hasn’t lost sight of where he started from and the reasons why he continues to work as hard as he does. As a Role Model for Possibility, he knows that his own life validates the motto that he has proclaimed for nearly two decades: “It only takes one deal, one time to change your life forever.TM”