80.3 F
San Fernando
Friday, Oct 7, 2022
-Advertisement-

Brokers Who Lead the Way in Valley-Area Transactions

Office Sales Leader Thomas P. Bohlinger Senior Vice President/Investment Properties CB Richard Ellis In just over 10 years since Tom Bohlinger joined CB Richard Ellis he has represented a roster of clients that reads like a who’s who of real estate investment. For such clients as Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance and Prudential Realty Group, Bohlinger has transacted such deals as the sale of Glendale Plaza for $136.5 million. Last year, Bohlinger handled $575 million worth of office sale transactions, with 80 percent of those deals, or $480 million, coming out of the San Fernando Valley. Bohlinger did not begin his professional career in real estate. When he received his MBA from the University of Southern California in 1975, the job market was tight. And Bohlinger took a job as a mortgage banker. The job provided a front row seat to the workings of the real estate industry and Bohlinger recalls that he could not help but contrast his narrowly defined role with the entrepreneurial nature of the real estate professionals he dealt with. “I was really intrigued with the entrepreneurship of real estate and I wanted to be involved in and build and create Los Angeles,” Bohlinger said. A specialist in institutional investment since he joined CB, last year Bohlinger represented CB Richard Ellis Investors in the $109 million sale of the 320,000-square foot office building at 505 North Brand Boulevard to LaSalle Investment Management, and he represented Tishman Speyer Properties Inc. in the disposition of the 350,000-square-foot office building at 101 N. Brand Boulevard to Principal Global Investors LLC for $104.3 million. He also represented the buyers, M. David Paul & Associates, in the purchase of NBC’s Catalina site in Burbank, a premier property that was said to fetch about $55 million. Ask Bohlinger what keeps him in real estate and he will rattle off a long list of reasons, everything from the people he meets and works with to the marketing of a property and even the glitches that come up in a transaction. Under it all, one perhaps more simple reason stands out: Bohlinger thinks its fun. “It’s like a game. You get some of the same thrills as if you’re competing on the athletic field,” he said. “You’re always out there competing for the business and you are competing against other brokers, and if you get the deal, you have the challenge of, are you going to be able to achieve your objective. There’s a bit of suspense to it because sometimes you are wondering if you are going to come through. Then you throw that last minute ‘Hail Mary’ pass, and it’s done.” Industrial Sales Leader Barbara L. Emmons Executive Vice President Institutional Group CB Richard Ellis Barbara Emmons’s biggest problem is an enviable one. “The hardest part of my job is managing so many different transactions at one time,” she said. “At any time we’re working on 15 to 20 deals. Sometimes they all come down at once.” Last year, Emmons transacted some $1.4 billion in deals with $93.9 million of that total coming from San Fernando Valley properties. She also brokered the largest industrial deal in the greater Valley in 2005, the sale of 3935-3949, 3990 Heritage Oak Court in Simi Valley to The Prudential Insurance Co. The 331,574-square-foot property fetched $38.2 million. Last year she also became the top producing broker in the company’s history. And in 2004, she won CB Richard Ellis’s Endurance of Spirit award, given for mentoring and philanthropy. Among her volunteer efforts, Emmons serves on the board of directors for the brokerage’s women’s network, where she helps to recruit women into the company and the field. A 17-year real estate veteran, Emmons followed her older sister into the field at a time when very few women entered commercial real estate. “When she first started, she had to put up with a lot of stuff,” said Emmons. “Fortunately, when I got into it, it was a lot more progressive.” Emmons and her sister both had a little encouragement from their dad. “He would always tell us women can do exactly what men can do,” Emmons recalled. “And he’d say that you can never rely on your husband to be your provider.” Emmons figures she transacted more than 60 deals last year, but surprisingly, negotiating is not one of her strong suits, she said. “My favorite thing to do is, I’m the peacemaker,” said Emmons. “But my partner loves negotiating. My skill set is I’m tremendously organized.” She began her real estate career as an in-house broker for Prudential recruiting tenants for a business center the company owned. Once the property was fully occupied, the company sold it and Emmons found herself out on the street. “I had to reinvent myself,” she recalled, “and once I did that, I went from making X to making five and 10 times X. It was a very positive thing.” Emmons’s business has increased 20 percent to 25 percent each year for many years now with many large institutional transactions now on her resume. Her secret? “You always do the right thing and because you do the right thing business begets business,” she said. Retail Sales Leader Ron Feder Principal Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura Inc. Ron Feder has spent most of his career as a broker transacting industrial sales and leases, but he can’t resist a good deal. So with several clients flush with cash and looking for retail properties to invest it in, Feder went to work. In 2005, he transacted more than $29.7 million worth of retail property sales in the San Fernando Valley. The largest was a 77,000-square-foot shopping center at 19450 Rinaldi St. for $16.5 million. Feder works mostly with family trusts and private investors, a market that’s been flush with opportunity of late. “The last couple of years I’ve been selling quite a few (retail properties),” Feder said. “It’s come about through relationships and them deciding to sell tons of real estate downtown and having tons of cash and wanting to spend it. You don’t say no to that kind of work.” Feder’s been selling since he was 15 and the 1980s skin-tight denim craze was in full swing. “I had every 15-year-old boys dream job,” he said. “I was selling Sergio Valente jeans when all the girls would lie down on the ground and you had to take a pair of pliers to zip up the pants. That was my first job. It was very motivational.” Motivational perhaps, but when Feder found himself married and starting a family it was time to put a little reality into the dream. He went to work as an industrial property broker. After working at what is now GVA Daum, Feder moved on to Lee. Several years later, he decided to strike out on his own, forming RJ Feder & Associates Inc. “I did it at the time because I felt empowered through my experience at Lee to do my own thing,” Feder recalled. But he ultimately felt stifled by some of the administrative tasks of running his own operation. “I thought I’d have an easy time recruiting and that was one of the headaches,” Feder said. “Recruiting at a boutique firm is more difficult, and if you can find the talent you have to give them an 85 percent split.” Feder decided to return to Lee. His clients have included many owner-users, from Gold’s Gym to Pipedream Products Inc., along with the private investors he represents. “I love the people, the hours, the opportunities,” he said. “It’s all good.” Land Sales Leader Michael D. Foxworthy Sr. Executive Vice President/Principal GVA DAUM Westlake Village is likely to be among the hottest commercial real estate markets in the coming year, and Mike Foxworthy Sr. is right in the thick of it. Last year, Foxworthy transacted the sale of Westlake Park Place, a 1.2-million-square-foot parcel of land, for $27 million, among the largest sales in the area. Foxworthy, who also manages Daum’s Conejo Valley branch office, began his professional career as a cost accountant in the aerospace industry, but he had a hankering for the entrepreneurial bent of real estate. “I wasn’t happy crunching numbers and being in an environment where seniority was the only reason you were promoted,” Foxworthy said. “I liked the tangible nature of real estate and the creativity and earning potential.” When he decided to make the switch, Foxworthy had a mortgage and three kids, but he forged ahead anyway, joining Charles Dunn Co. and rising to president of the brokerage’s commercial brokerage division before joining Daum in 1998. A Conejo Valley resident for the past 28 years, Foxworthy specializes in development, acquisition and disposition strategies for office product in the Ventura County area. “I just like the whole process of creating something from nothing,” he said, “communicating a vision to a potential developer, then getting a project approved and having it constructed and leasing it.” He has been involved with the Westlake Plaza Centre site since the late 1980s when he handled leasing on behalf of the previous owners. Most recently, the third phase was acquired by Steadfast Business Properties and Amstar Group. The new owners plan to build Westlake Plaza: Steadfast Signature Collection, a complex with 482,215-square-feet of offices in eight buildings. Foxworthy will market the properties as well. Retail Sales Leader Chris Jackson Vice President Industrial Group and Investment Services Grubb & Ellis Shangri-La, a 53,692-square-foot shopping center in Santa Clarita, is a strip center like many others in the community. But when Chris Jackson sold it last year, it fetched a price in excess of $300 a square foot. Jackson takes investment sales personally, literally. About four years ago he began making property investments himself. The decision was motivated by more than the promise of additional income. “I and my partner, Todd Lorber, own stuff as well,” said Jackson. “So we understand what things are worth, and consequently we understand how to do things.” His own investment experience helps Jackson to identify properties that may be undervalued such as the Shangri La center. At the time of the sale the tenants were paying about $1 a square foot under market rates, and the leases were all due to be renegotiated in the next couple of years. The upside persuaded the buyers, a local investor out of Woodland Hills, to buy the property for $16.5 million. Jackson was attending law school when he decided to pursue a career in real estate brokerage. He left about seven years ago and joined Grubb & Ellis. “My family was in the development side of real estate back in Chicago,” said Jackson. “I decided law wasn’t what I wanted to do so I came straight into real estate.” At first, he primarily handled leasing, but Jackson soon realized that the same companies he was representing as a leasing broker were going to another agent when they decided to buy or sell property. He wanted to capitalize on his existing relationships and transact the investment side as well. “It’s worked well,” he said. “We’ve been getting business from our clients that we do leasing with, and we’ve been getting the investment side. And it’s kept the money here with us.” Jackson figures his business has grown by about 50 percent each year for the past three years. “We get a lot of respect from the investors,” he said. “They even call us and ask us our opinion on deals we’re not involved with.” Land Sales Leader Craig R. Peters Executive Vice President Industrial Specialist CB Richard Ellis Craig Peters figures that in the course of any given year he is involved in something like 80 different transactions. “And none of them are boring,” he said. With his partner, Doug Sonderegger, Peters represents the massive Valencia Gateway for its owners LNR/Newhall Land and Farming and other clients. The continually evolving master-planned development keeps delivering something fresh to sink his teeth into. “If you think about our practice, we’re involved in a lot of ground up development work,” said Peters, “so it gets down to the very early stages of the land planning process and then planning buildings and seeing those go from concepts to all of a sudden the crane is out and you’re seeing the finished product we envisioned taking shape.” Last year, Peters and Sonderegger sold some $49.8 million worth of land, transactions that will start that process over yet again. He has earned the brokerage company’s honor of No. 1 sales professional in the San Fernando Valley for eight of the last 11 years. Peters entered the brokerage business after he graduated from Princeton University in 1985, and he has never looked back. He’s also never changed companies, starting in what was then the Coldwell Banker Commercial training program and remaining with the brokerage through the acquisitions and mergers that created today’s CB Richard Ellis. Peters moved up to the Santa Clarita region in 1986, working as a runner for Sonderegger. Back then, the pricing in the Santa Clarita Valley was well below what buyers and tenants were finding in the San Fernando Valley, but companies were reluctant to make the move north in spite of the price advantage. “Back in the late ’80s, maybe one out of 10 companies would consider Valencia. Today somewhere between eight and nine will consider Valencia,” Peters said. “Somehow Valencia feels a lot closer today than it did 20 years ago.” One thing, he notes, that has helped to encourage businesses to make the move is the addition of luxury housing in the Santa Clarita area. The senior executives now residing in the area are anxious to locate their companies closer to their homes. Although rival brokerage companies have increasingly added offices in the area, Peters notes that the market has continued to grow, and he and Sonderegger still command the lion’s share of the business. “We still exclusively represent (LNR/Newhall),” he said. “We took the Lockheed property (Rye Canyon Business Park) to market. We sold it all out. The only other significant project in the area besides those two is Centre Point. But keep in mind that we’re the ones that sold that years ago. So I would say our market share is as strong as it’s ever been, and the level of activity and number of transactions we’re involved in continues to grow.” Land Sales Leader Douglas R. Sonderegger Executive Vice President Industrial Specialist CB Richard Ellis A lot of his peers scratched their heads when Doug Sonderegger made the move to the Santa Clarita Valley in 1983. “Back then it was considered quite a ways away, and with very limited activity going on,” Sonderegger said. “A lot of the senior brokers didn’t have the vision that it would become what it’s become.” As it turned Sonderegger’s decision has helped to make him CB Richard Ellis’s No. 1 selling broker in the San Fernando Valley division for eight of the last 11 years. Last year, with partner Craig Peters, Sonderegger transacted $49.8 million worth of land sales in Santa Clarita, deals that will result in new businesses relocating to the area bringing jobs and residents. That is just the type of scenario that got Sonderegger interested in the field. “You have information that you’ve gathered and you can see that idea turn into a development project,” Sonderegger said. “People move in; jobs are created. Your ideas and creativity and hard work bring prosperity. That’s where a lot of satisfaction comes out of doing what we do.” Sonderegger was working in finance when he met up with a broker from Cushman & Wakefield who had just closed a very large transaction. It was the first time he realized that the real estate field included more than residential sales. He entered the training program run by what was then Coldwell Banker Commercial, considered the best training ground in the business at the time, and stayed with the brokerage through the many incarnations that ultimately created CB Richard Ellis. Sonderegger was working in the San Fernando Valley when he realized that the region’s future growth would be to the north. At the same time, Newhall Land and Farming was moving forward with its master-planned community, and Sonderegger saw considerable opportunity in the development. “I thought the opportunity to work with a master planned business park and a major land holder was beneficial,” Sonderegger said. “I was just starting the business and my dad told me you can’t hurt yourself falling out of a basement window.” In those early days Sonderegger recalls, there was little to show a potential tenant market data was hard to come by and there were virtually no comparables. But he figured that if he could convince people to take a look at the area, he could make a sale. Today, some 1,500 companies call Valencia home, and Sonderegger continues to be the dominant broker in the area. “Once we got companies up there, they never called and said can we go back,” said Sonderegger. “It’s definitely a widely accepted, desirable market.”

-Advertisement-

Featured Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

Related Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-