First, let's look at this from the investor side of things. Every market has investors, large and small, who are interested specifically in commercial caliber real estate. David Lindahl says that Some of these are what I call Tier One investors, who look for small to medium-sized commercial buildings. Tier Two investors look for even larger buildings (exclusively so) and Tier Three investors are perhaps the biggest players of all, responsible for developing new properties.
While this player breakdown is pretty loose and definitely unofficial, I think you get the general idea. Some investors are finders of properties and some are creators or developers of properties. Any and all of them may build funding for their projects through collaboration with others but all are people you would benefit from knowing in your area as you start building your own business. These players may have deals to offer and some may be interested in collaboration so these contacts are essential.