BLANCA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE ADDS DAVID VALDEZ AS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CHIEF OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT:

Kris Conesa
Roar Media
kris@roarmedia.com
(305) 403-2080, Ext. 115


BLANCA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE ADDS DAVID VALDEZ AS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CHIEF OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

MIAMI – January 15, 2019Blanca Commercial Real Estate, Florida’s leading independently owned commercial real estate brokerage firm, today announced its rehiring of David M. Valdez who rejoins the firm as a Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Director for the firm’s tenant advisory and brokerage services practice. This is the latest in an ongoing series of high-level hires for Blanca Commercial Real Estate as it continues with its expansion plans to provide strategic real estate advisory and brokerage services across the region.

Previously, Mr. Valdez served in served in senior real estate management and brokerage positions at leading global corporations and brokerage firms, including as Vice President of Corporate Services and Real Estate, Real Estate Transactions at Goldman Sachs in New York, where he co-managed  real estate transactions and strategy for all leased and firm-owned properties in the Americas – a portfolio of over 110 leases for 14 million square feet of office and special-use space, and where he also co-led a team in managing the purchase, repositioning and asset management of the Embassy Suites (now Conrad) Hotel and a retail complex in Manhattan’s Battery Park City. Valdez also served for nine years as Managing Director at commercial brokerage firm CBRE in New York and was a broker for six years with the Codina-Bush Group in Miami.

In his new role at Blanca Commercial Real Estate, Valdez will work closely with companies to manage their total occupancy expense, secure optimal commercial real estate solutions, while also managing Blanca’s tenant representation operations, mentoring emerging brokers, developing best-in-class processes and providing strategy and oversight to all lease negotiations and financial analyses on behalf of the firm’s clients.

“We are thrilled to once again welcome David to our team, a real estate executive of the highest caliber who comes with an unsurpassed reputation for professional excellence,” said Tere Blanca, CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate. “He brings with him a tremendous depth of knowledge and experience that we look forward to leveraging on behalf of our clients.”

Added Valdez: “It is an honor to be rejoining a team of professionals known throughout the industry for their teamwork, client-first philosophy, exceptional work ethic and track record of successful outcomes. Collaborating with the growing Blanca team, my commitment is to continue to add to a tradition of excellence and be an added value when advising our clients.”

Valdez, who has worked nearly 30 years in the commercial real estate industry, has extensive experience in strategic and capital planning, site selection, comprehensive financial analysis, build-to-suit advisory services and complex lease negotiations focused on each client’s individual business objectives. He has been involved in managing some of the largest office and special-use lease transactions within South Florida and New York City office markets.

He received a Bachelor of Arts from Whitman College and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. At Harvard Business School, he attended the Goldman Sachs Nonprofit Leadership Program. He is also a graduate of the Leadership Miami program.

About Blanca Commercial Real Estate

Blanca Commercial Real Estate, the leading independently owned commercial real estate brokerage firm in Florida, provides a complete range of brokerage and advisory services to owners and users of commercial real estate. Established in 2009, the firm is noted for delivering distinct client value through a personalized approach, unique methodology, data-driven insight, vast network and deep community engagement. Practice areas include landlord representation, tenant representation, build-to-suit advisory services, and land/investment property acquisition and disposition. For more information, visit www.blancacre.com

###

UNITED DATA TECHNOLOGIES MOVES HEADQUARTERS TO NEWLY CONSTRUCTED MIRAMAR TECH CENTER, TWO NEW TENANTS COMPLETE LEASE TRANSACTIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT:

Michelle Ayala
Roar Media
mayala@roarmedia.com
(305) 403-2080, Ext. 128


UNITED DATA TECHNOLOGIES MOVES HEADQUARTERS TO NEWLY CONSTRUCTED MIRAMAR TECH CENTER, TWO NEW TENANTS COMPLETE LEASE TRANSACTIONS

MIAMI December 12, 2018 – Blanca Commercial Real Estate, Florida’s leading independently owned commercial real estate brokerage firm, today announced its completion of two lease transactions totaling 13,536 square feet at the Miramar Tech Center, located at 2900 Monarch Lakes Blvd., Miramar, FL 33027. The news follows the recent occupancy of United Data Technologies into the three-story Class A office building offering approximately 56,710 rentable square feet.

The leases include new tenant 03b Networks (7,011 sf), a subsidiary of SES Networks and the world-leading satellite operator with over 50 satellites in geostationary Earth orbit and 16 in medium Earth orbit, which was represented by Juan Jaramillo of FGI Realty; and the University of Florida’s Warrington’s College of Business (6,525 sf) represented by Franklin Street Tom Farmer. They join recent occupant and building owner UDT (21,155 sf), a technology enabler that helps clients in major industries evaluate, architect, secure and manage technology in mobile, on premise and in the cloud.

“We are thrilled to have facilitated the completion of these lease deals with top organizations on the vanguard of technology and business who appreciate everything this new property has to offer,” said Juan Ruiz Executive Vice President of Blanca Commercial Real Estate. “Its central location and ability to attract top talent from the area makes this property an ideal choice for any company with its eye towards the future.”

Added Henry Fleches, CEO of UDT: “The Miramar Tech Center features some of the most advanced redundancy and backup systems in the area making it a perfect solution for any company with a robust need to provide continuous, noninterrupted service, or for any organization looking to ensure business continuity.”

The Tech Center is located in the heart of Miramar and boasts full generator backup power, wind-rated impact glass, electric car charging stations, dual HVAC chillers, heavy power and multiple telecommunication carriers and feeds to ensure redundancy and business continuity. The building is also hardened for hurricane resistance and offers high-end conferencing facilities and garage parking of 5.3 per 1,000 square feet.

More information and office leasing opportunities at the Miramar Tech Center are available by contacting Juan Ruiz or Mike Nathanson with Blanca Commercial Real Estate at (305) 577-8850.

About Blanca Commercial Real Estate

Blanca Commercial Real Estate, the leading independently owned commercial real estate brokerage firm in South Florida, provides a complete range of brokerage and advisory services to owners and users of commercial real estate. Established in 2009, the firm is noted for delivering distinct client value through a unique methodology, data-driven insight, vast network and deep community roots. Practice areas include landlord representation, tenant representation, build-to-suit advisory services, and land/investment property acquisition and disposition. For more information, visit www.blancacre.com

###

BLANCA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE NAMED EXCLUSIVE LISTING BROKER FOR OFFICE SPACE AT DANIA POINTE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT:
Kris Conesa
Roar Media
kris@roarmedia.com
(305) 403-2080, Ext. 115

BLANCA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE NAMED
EXCLUSIVE LISTING BROKER FOR OFFICE SPACE AT DANIA POINTE

MIAMI – October 23, 2018Blanca Commercial Real Estate, South Florida’s leading independently owned commercial real estate brokerage firm, today announced it has been named by Integra Investments as the exclusive listing broker for up to 500,000 square feet of Class A office space at Dania Pointe, located just east of I-95 at Stirling and Bryan Roads.

Dania Pointe, led by Kimco Realty as the master developer, is an $800 million, 102-acre mixed-use development currently under construction. At completion, it will be comprised of 800,000 square feet of open-air retail space, more than 1000 apartment and condominium units and two Marriott hotels, in addition to Integra’s office development. Integra is a Miami-based private equity and full-service real estate development company. As part of its services, Integra performs acquisitions, development, construction and asset management of real estate ventures in Florida.

“Dania Pointe will be the destination of choice for companies looking to headquarter their operations at a central location in close proximity to Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, that offers ample parking and embodies the live, work, play ethos that is sought after by companies today,” said Tere Blanca, founder and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate.

The Blanca leasing team includes managing director and vice chairman John Guitar and executive vice president Phil Marchese. Both have extensive experience with the leasing of new office developments and working with top-tier corporate brands.

For office leasing information at Dania Pointe contact Blanca Commercial Real Estate at (305) 577-8850.

About Blanca Commercial Real Estate

Blanca Commercial Real Estate, the leading independently owned commercial real estate brokerage firm in Florida, provides a complete range of brokerage and advisory services to owners and users of commercial real estate. Established in 2009, the firm is noted for delivering distinct client value through a personalized approach, unique methodology, data-driven insight, vast network and deep community engagement. Practice areas include landlord representation, tenant representation, build-to-suit advisory services, and land/investment property acquisition and disposition. For more information, visit www.blancacre.com

###

BLANCA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE NAMED EXCLUSIVE LEASING AGENT FOR WATERFORD AT BLUE LAGOON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT:
Kris Conesa
Roar Media
kris@roarmedia.com
(305) 403-2080, Ext. 115

BLANCA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE NAMED
EXCLUSIVE LEASING AGENT FOR WATERFORD AT BLUE LAGOON

MIAMI – August 29, 2018Blanca Commercial Real Estate, South Florida’s leading independently owned commercial real estate brokerage firm, has been named exclusive leasing agent for the TH Real Estate and Allianz portfolio in Waterford at Blue Lagoon. The property consists of 1.7 million square feet of Class A office space.

The portfolio, owned in a joint venture between TH Real Estate, an affiliate of Nuveen (the investment management arm of TIAA) and Allianz Real Estate, is the largest commercial office park under one ownership group in Florida. Located just south of Miami International Airport and the Dolphin Expressway (SR836) at NW 57th Avenue, Waterford at Blue Lagoon is home to more than 100 multinational corporations doing business across industries that include manufacturing, technology, transportation, healthcare, insurance and finance. Fortune 500 companies operating their regional or Latin American headquarters also leverage the property’s central location and top-quality office environment to draw from a multicultural and multilingual regional workforce.

“We are delighted to have been selected to work on behalf of both TH Real Estate and Allianz Real Estate to realize their Waterford portfolio’s full potential,” said Tere Blanca, founder and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate. “Waterford is a premier office park that is representative of Miami’s global appeal as an ideal business destination. We look forward to further positioning the park to attract additional major brands and large corporate users.”

Added Charles Russo, Director at TH Real Estate: “We look forward to working with the Blanca team to further enhance the strong position of the Waterford portfolio within Miami’s commercial real estate marketplace. Waterford caters to an impressive global tenant roster of multinational corporations and has a strong track record of tenant retention. The team is poised to offer a myriad of corporate real estate solutions in response to the dynamic needs of today’s office users.”

An integral part of the vision for this portfolio is to capitalize on its prime location, its unique setting and its flexibility to accommodate build-to-suit opportunities for office tenants in a tight office market across the state. Waterford is noted for its unique opportunity to accommodate up to 800,000 square feet of new build to suit office space.

In addition to Blanca, the leasing team includes managing director and vice chairman John Guitar and executive vice presidents Phil Marchese and Juan Ruiz. The team has extensive experience working with owners and developers, plus a strong track record of successfully leasing office parks throughout the state. A support team of experienced marketing, research and branding professionals will be led by Blanca CMO Diana Pubchara. The Hogan Group provides property management services.

The addition of this asset to Blanca’s office leasing portfolio makes Blanca the largest commercial real estate brokerage by market share in agency leasing in Miami-Dade County. Since launching the firm in 2009, the Blanca team has grown to nearly 30 top industry professionals.

More information and lease opportunities at Waterford at Blue Lagoon are available by contacting Blanca Commercial Real Estate at (305) 577-8850.

About Blanca Commercial Real Estate

Blanca Commercial Real Estate, the leading independently owned commercial real estate brokerage firm in South Florida, provides a complete range of brokerage and advisory services to owners and users of commercial real estate. Established in 2009, the firm is noted for delivering distinct client value through a personalized approach, unique methodology, data-driven insight, vast network and deep community engagement. Practice areas include landlord representation, tenant representation, build-to-suit advisory services, and land/investment property acquisition and disposition. For more information, visit www.blancacre.com.

About TH Real Estate

TH Real Estate, an affiliate of Nuveen (the investment management arm of TIAA), is one of the largest real estate investment managers in the world with $114bn in AUM as at 31 March 2018. Managing a suite of funds and mandates spanning both debt and equity across diverse geographies, sectors, investment styles and vehicle types, we provide access to every aspect of real estate investing, visit www.threalestate.com.

About Allianz Real Estate

Allianz Real Estate is the strategic real estate organization within the Allianz Group and a leading international real estate investment and asset manager. Allianz Real Estate develops and executes worldwide tailored portfolio and investment strategies on behalf of the Allianz companies, considering direct as well as indirect investments and real estate loans. The operational management of investments and assets is currently performed in 5 regions, West Europe (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxemburg, Portugal, Spain), North & Central Europe (Austria, CEE, Germany, Ireland, Nordics), Switzerland, USA and Asia Pacific. The headquarters of Allianz Real Estate are located in Munich and Paris. Allianz Real Estate has approximately 56 billion euros assets under management. For more information, visit www.allianz-realestate.com.

###

Blanca Commercial Real Estate Adds Sharon Ellis as Vice President

As Vice President, Ellis, who has more than 16 years of experience as an attorney and commercial real estate professional, will assist in the firm’s plan to expand its tenant representation services and footprint statewide.

Blanca Commercial Real Estate hires new VP for tenant rep

Sharon Ellis worked for Chariff Realty and owned Palmer Property Group

By Katherine Kallergis

Sharon Ellis joined Blanca Commercial Real Estate as a vice president to focus on tenant representation.
Ellis, previously with Chariff Realty Group, will join the company’s team of four tenant advisory brokers, Blanca CEO Tere Blanca said. She will also be involved in business development to expand the firm’s tenant representation business.

Ellis, a licensed attorney, has more than 16 years of experience that includes working with a number of law firms. She helped launch Howard Ecker + Company, a Chicago-based national commercial real estate firm, in Florida, and ran her own company, Palmer Property Group, after that.
She represented Zarco Einhorn Salkowski & Brito for its $18 million,15-year lease at One Biscayne Tower in downtown Miami in 2016.
Blanca has been expanding with the recent hires of John Guitar, managing director and vice chair, and Peter Romero, who’s leading a new property management division. The brokerage has two offices in Miami and Fort Lauderdale and plans to “ continue to grow with the right talent and right strategy,” Blanca said.

Brickell’s Sabadell Financial Center Sells for Reported $250M to KKR, Parkway Properties

This is the latest Miami office tower to trade for a top-dollar price.

By Lidia Dinkova

A New York-based global investment firm and an office real estate owner and operator have bought the Sabadell Financial Center office tower in Miami for a reported $250 million.
The partnership between KKR, the investment firm, and Parkway Properties Inc., the office investor, bought the 30-story building at 1111 Brickell Ave. from PGIM Real Estate. The sale price wasn’t disclosed, but The Real Deal reported the price as $250 million.

The Sabadell Financial Center, also referred to as 1111 Brickell, is a 522,892-square-foot office tower on about 1.78 acres on the southeast corner of Brickell Avenue and Southeast 11th Street adjacent to the JW Marriott Hotel.

KKR, founded by Henry Kravis, Jerome Kohlberg and George Roberts in 1976, doesn’t appear to have other significant South Florida real estate assets. The global investment firm with $148 billion in assets under management has widespread holdings and has invested in Plantation-based Magic Leap Inc., according to its website.

For its part, Parkway Properties owns the Courvoisier Centre, which is a two-building office complex at 501 and 601 Brickell Key Drive on Brickell Key. The complex includes a parking garage.

KKR and Parkway didn’t provide insight on their joint purchase.

A KKR media representative said the company was unable to arrange an interview, and Parkway representatives didn’t return requests for comment.

This much is known: The two plan to put in $10 million into renovations and new facilities, like a new gym and conference center, according to John Guitar, managing director and vice chairman of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, the exclusive leasing agent for the office tower.

The new owners will renovate the common areas including the lobby, entrance, corridors, restrooms and the 10th floor amenity deck, according to a CBRE Inc. news release.

A CBRE capital markets team facilitated the sale, and a CBRE debt and structured finance team arranged financing from New York-based Square Mile Capital Management.

PGIM Real Estate bought the property through its affiliate, PR 1111 Brickell LLC, for more than $184 million from 1111 Brickell Office LLC in 2013, according to the Miami-Dade County property appraiser’s office. That translated to a 36 percent gain in five years.

The latest sale, made public late last week, breaks down to $478.11 per square foot.

The property is 89 percent occupied with some of the tenants being the Hunton Andrews Kurth and the Kelley Kronenberg law firms, Louisiana-based Iberiabank and Guggenheim Partners Latin America Inc.

“The new owners have long history of showcasing their strength of ownership and ability to bring top-tier hospitality to their buildings and truly reposition them into iconic projects,” Blanca Commercial’s Guitar said in part in an emailed statement.

The deal reflects a healthy office market in Miami’s urban core with several notable towers trading for top-dollar prices in recent years.

The SunTrust International Center at 1 SE Third Ave. was sold for $127 million May 11. Real estate finance and investment management firm PCCP LLC bought the tower from Boca Raton-based real estate investment firm Crocker Partners LLC.

The Southeast Financial Center, the iconic 55-story office tower at 200 S. Biscayne Blvd., sold for $516 million in December 2016. A company tied to the family office of Spanish billionaire Amancio Ortega, founder of the Zara apparel and accessories chain, made the purchase from financial giant JPMorgan Chase & Co.

In 2017, Rockpoint Group LLC bought 1221 Brickell, the 27-story office tower at 1221 Brickell Ave., for $155 million.

Brickell Avenue office building sells to Parkway, KKR

Parkway Properties and KKR acquired the 30-story office tower at 1111 Brickell Ave. in Miami.

By Brian Bandell

Parkway Properties and KKR acquired the 30-story office tower at 1111 Brickell Ave. in Miami.

The parties declined to disclose the price of the transaction. However, it should be revealed once the deed is filed in county records.

PR 1111 Brickell LLC, an affiliate of Prudential, sold the 522,892-square-foot office building to private REIT Parkway and global investment firm KKR. CBRE’s Christian Lee and José Lobón brokered the deal in the off-market transaction, while CBRE’s Amy Julian and Andrew Chilgren helped the buyers secure financing from Square Mile Capital Management.

CBRE didn’t disclose the amount of the loan. The mortgage should soon be filed in county records.

CBRE said the building was 83 percent occupied. Banco Sabadell has its name on the building. Iberiabank, which acquired Sabadell’s U.S. subsidiary, is still a tenant, Lee said.

“Brickell and the Miami CBD are on radar screens for major investors around the world,” Lee said. “It’s not often they get the opportunity to buy one of the finest buildings in the market, and when they do, they are highly competitive about it.”

Shipley Hall, managing director of Florida for Parkway, said this was the company’s first institutional purchase since it went from a public company to a private REIT following a series of mergers and property sales. The company plans to enhance the building with a more active lobby, new food and beverage offerings, and an improved amenity deck with fitness facilities, Hall said.
“Our theme is office meets hospitality,” Hall said.

Blanca Commercial Real Estate will remain the leasing agent for 1111 Brickell, Lee said.

Built in 2000, the tower last traded for $184.33 million in 2013.

SoFla Lease Roundup: Dade Paper & Bag Leases at Flagler Station II & More

Leases also at Downtown Miami’s Courthouse Tower and in Fort Lauderdale

By Amanda Rabines

Flagler Station II gets 70,000-square-foot industrial lease

PriceSmart just terminated its lease for 122,000 square feet at Flagler Station II in Medley, and signed on a 70,424-square-foot sublease with Dade Paper & Bag. PriceSmart still has two 35,000-square-foot spaces available for sublease, according to a press release.

The deals chip away at a 262,898-square-foot block that PriceSmart listed for sublease upon moving a majority of its operations to another building in the industrial park. Last year, it paid $45.56 million for its new 19-acre site at 10800 Northwest 100th Street.

Transwestern’s Ben Eisenberg, Walter Byrd, Thomas Kresse and Carlos Gaviria represented PriceSmart in the sublease with Dade Paper & Bag, a North American distributor of disposable food service and janitorial supplies.  Dade Paper & Bag was represented by Steve Medwin at Newmark Knight Frank.

Downtown Miami’s Courthouse Tower secures 27,400 square feet of leases

Five companies leased a combined 27,400 square feet of space at Downtown Miami’s Courthouse Tower, bringing its occupancy to about 75 percent.
In 2016, New York-based Brickman paid $27.5 million for the 26-story, 163,160-square-foot Courthouse Tower building at 44 West Flagler Street. Originally built in 1974, the tower sits across the street from the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, near All Aboard Florida’s Brightline station. The Consulate General of Jamaica inked a 6,651-square-foot contract. The company was represented by Zenith Realty Group’s Barron Channer.

Law firm Roig, Tutan, Rosenberg, Martin, Stoller & Bellido, PA renewed its 6,525 square foot lease and was represented by JLL’s Matthew Goodman and Jeff Gordon. The firm joins Maurice Jay Kutner & Associates PA , First Choice Reporting and Florida Mediation Group which also renewed their leases at the property.

Blanca Commercial Real Estate represented the landlord. Tere Blanca, President and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, said rents in the building range from $31 per square foot to $34 per square foot.

Since acquiring the building, Brickman has renovated the tower to include new elevators, a conference facility and a fitness center. Upgrades to the building’s façade, lobby, and common areas are also underwayTeree

Auto companies expand into Fort Lauderdale warehouse/office facilities

Two auto companies are expanding their footprint in Fort Lauderdale.

Mennet Cars LLC and Auto Beast LLC just leased about 35,590-square-feet of space at 735 West Broward Boulevard. The landlord, Best Buy Repos, Inc., was represented by Jaime Sturgis of Native Realty. Auto Beast LLC was represented by Native Realty’s Amanda Roy.

A spokesperson said the auto facilities were previously occupied, but one of the tenants retired and the other downsized.

Bridging the Gender Divide in Commercial Real Estate

Women in the field find the deck is largely stacked against them, even as some top firms have been celebrated for their inclusionary policies

By Katherine Kallergis

Barbara Liberatore Black’s rise to managing director of JLL’s South Florida office was not an easy one. Currently the only female executive in her office, Black was also one of the first women in commercial real estate in Miami.

She got her start doing tenant representation for Julien J. Studley Inc., the precursor to Savills Studley, in 1981. “I was the only female tenant adviser for years,” Black said. Before securing that gig, she’d tried to get her foot in the door elsewhere, to no avail.

“If you were a man today, I would hire you,” an interviewer told her, reasoning that as a woman who was going to get married, she wouldn’t have the time for the job. Instead, he offered Black a secretarial position. She turned it down.

Times have clearly changed, but in the wake of the allegations of sexual harassment and assault by Harvey Weinstein — and the many similar charges against high-profile men that followed, including starchitect Richard Meier — several, if not all, industries are facing profound questions about company culture and fairness.

However, many women in South Florida’s commercial real estate industry are not seeing a major push to close the gender gap. They say the #MeToo movement hasn’t kicked off the kinds of productive conversations it was intended to inspire. Rather, many male colleagues are “now afraid to say hello” to women, Carol Brooks, co-founder of the brokerage Continental Real Estate Companies (CREC), said. “It’s coming more from a place of their own self-preservation. It’s interesting to see how men are reacting; it’s more fear than compassion or anything,” she said.

The Real Deal examined the male and female representation of agents working for South Florida’s top five commercial brokerages (determined by the dollar volume of sales and leases as reported by the South Florida Business Journal) by analyzing broker license data filed with the state as of Feb. 23. Marcus & Millichap had the lowest percentage of female agents in the tri-county region of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, with 18 percent.

Lori Schneider, senior managing director of investments at Marcus & Millichap, said she thinks the firm has fewer women than the others because the company focuses only on investment sales, which takes time and money “until you establish yourself.” Women typically have less of both than men, she said. Leasing, on the other hand, often provides agents with a crucial base salary.

CBRE had the highest percentage of women agents, with 39.8 percent, and JLL closely followed with the second highest representation of women, 38.6 percent, according to TRD’s analysis.

Both CBRE and JLL recently won industry awards for their gender inclusion. CBRE, where three of the firm’s board members are women, received the Diversity & Inclusion Award from the Mortgage Bankers Association in February. In March, JLL was named one of the National Association for Female Executives’ “Top Companies for Executive Women.”

CBRE and JLL’s numbers of female brokers in South Florida are better than national averages. The Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network Benchmark study conducted in 2015 — the most recent data set of its kind that’s available — showed that only 23 percent of leasing and sales brokers in the U.S. were women in 2015. But that number was up from 20 percent five years earlier. Between 2010 and 2015, women went from representing 32 percent of the total commercial real estate workforce to 36 percent nationwide. The subsector with the highest concentration of women was property management, with 51 percent of the asset, property and facilities management workforce female, up from 47 percent in 2010.

And while the CREW research found that women made 23.3 percent less than men in the field in 2015, all of the women contacted for this story had a different experience. Female brokers said that because most positions are commission-based, the wage gap isn’t much of an issue. “The good news about that is a woman who is driven can be equal or better [than a man], and she will get paid,” Black said. “I think this is one of the few careers where women get equal pay.”

The achievement gap

Although there’s been progress in overall male-to-female ratios, the gender gap is still quite vast when it comes to women in leadership positions. CREW’s 2015 study found that only 9 percent of the women who were surveyed held
executive roles, compared to 17 percent of the men who participated in the study.

The industry is also facing an aspirational gap between men and women. Forty percent of men surveyed by CREW said they wanted C-suite positions compared to only 28 percent of women. And once men had between six and 10 years of experience, they rose through the ranks at a faster pace than women, the report found.

“Men are much more vocal than women. When you don’t speak up and you don’t ask for the job, you don’t get it,” said Sara Hernandez, president of CREW-Miami.

Women developers are also lacking in the industry because the field requires a track record and capital, said Avra Jain, a commercial developer in Miami’s MiMo, Little Haiti, Miami River and Overtown neighborhoods.

“When I first came down to Miami [17 years ago] and I walked into a meeting to buy a piece of property, the broker kept talking to the man next to me,” Jain said.

The perils of after-hour events

“‘Welcome to the company. I Googled you hoping to find some bikini shots online,’” Pauldine France, vice president of strategic investments at FIP Commercial, recalled a man saying on her first day at a new job. “I once had a COO I ran into at a party who was trying to get me drunk to take me home. His wife was at the same party,” she added.

Most women in the industry who were contacted for this story agreed that there’s been some progress in hiring more women, but the presence of some bad actors remains a big issue.
France got her start in 2003 as a brand ambassador for Tony Cho when he launched Metro 1 Properties. She was later a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley, then worked for Shawmut Design and Construction in New York, Thor Equities in Miami and, more recently, spent a year working for RKF, also in Miami.

France is, as she describes herself, a “six-foot-tall black chick with green eyes.” She’s faced more than her share of unwanted attention, she told TRD. “I’m used to people looking at me. In commercial real estate, I am a unicorn of a unicorn,” she said. “I’ve had inappropriate, ‘let me take you home’ comments.”

The necessity of after-hours networking doesn’t help things. Going to nightclubs, strip clubs and bars is still a way to get deals done in Miami, sources said. There’s also still a lot of golfing.

“Half of these guys just want to party, and the business facilitates partying” said Mika Mattingly,
executive vice president of Colliers International South Florida.

Some women push themselves to head to the golf course or boozy networking events even when it’s uncomfortable. CBRE’s Carol Ellis-Cutler, first vice president of advisory and tenant services in Miami, attended a conference earlier this year where she was one of a handful of women out of a crowd of 800. She later attended the golfing event, where she was the only woman — alongside 32 men.

However, Ellis-Cutler and Arden Karson, senior managing director of CBRE South Florida, both said they also use their gender to their advantage. “Being the only woman at the table, they love that,” Karson said, referencing her male colleagues. She squeezed her way into a dinner during a CRE Finance Council event because she wanted to do business with the group.

“I was the only woman out of 20 people, and they all wanted to sit with me,” Karson said, noting that the extra attention she received was not inappropriate. The men, she said, just wanted to speak to a woman because it was “a refreshing change.”

Men can be more inclined to share information with women, some female brokers said. But that too can have its downside. There’s a fine line between being “approachable and nice” and being “firm,” France said. “You have to deliver this coolness while still keeping that meter stick in front of them,” she said. “Nine out of 10 times, ‘super cool’ can become ‘I can make comments about your new push-up bra.’”

Mentoring the next generation

When considering ways to resolve some of these murky issues, many women said that mentoring a new generation of female brokers is the most important work that needs to be done. And South Florida’s a good place for that: A number of women in leadership roles in commercial real estate own their own companies or work for women who do.

Brooks, of CREC, got her start working in the corporate real estate lending department at Southeast Bank and moved on to the Continental Companies, where she was director of the commercial office leasing department. In the
late ‘80s, she considered working at other brokerages and said, “Screw that, I’ll start my own company.”

At that company, a boutique commercial firm she co-founded with Warren Weiser, 51 percent of its 120 employees are female. Two of its six partners are women, and half of its department heads are women. More than 60 percent of CREC’s property managers are women, and 26 percent of the company’s brokers are women. “There are just such high barriers to entry otherwise, so we’ve created our own system,” Brooks said.

Her approach to nurturing female talent development has paid off in the eyes of Sabrina Stimming. Brooks mentored Stimming, who started as an executive assistant and was promoted to marketing assistant, then marketing director. An opening appeared in retail leasing, and now Stimming is director of retail leasing and a partner at CREC. She believes that had she started her career at a traditional brokerage like a CBRE, “it’s probably not likely I would be a head of a department there.”

“If you look around at other firms in our industry, the only women you see in any sort of leadership positions are women who form their own companies,” Stimming added.

Without a mentor, Collier’s Mattingly developed her own strategy for success that many women in the industry adopt: Be the best at the job. She’d pick a neighborhood or area and become an expert on it. “I picked Sunset Harbour, which I liked at the time, and I farmed the fuck out of it,” she said.

From Metro 1, where Mattingly started in 2006 as a commercial associate, she went to Sterling Equity Commercial, where she’d “transact all day off-market, but no one would trust me with big listings.” She eventually represented Moishe Mana in nearly all of his acquisitions in downtown Miami’s Flagler District, which to date has totaled $267 million on 1 million square feet of building space and eight acres of land.

In 2016, Mattingly joined Colliers and is building her team out of an office in downtown Miami. Although it’s not her own company, it’s clear that she’s running her own operation out of the ground-floor retail space on Flagler Street. She said she’s teaching her team to become neighborhood experts, as she did, by learning every property and zoning before they start selling.

Tere Blanca, founder, chairman and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, also wants to nurture female talent. She left Cushman & Wakefield to start her own firm in 2008 and is responsible for mentoring everyone in the 22-person office, including a few female agents. In her view, the lack of women in the field may stem from them just not knowing about it. “I don’t think a lot of young women understand the opportunities that exist in the industry,” she said.

Ellis-Cutler and some of her colleagues at CREW-Miami introduced themselves to a group of high school girls by telling them, “We don’t sell single-family homes. We can sell the entire multifamily building.”

CBRE created its Women’s Network in 2000; it now has 3,500 members nationwide and hosts quarterly events. The gender gap at CBRE and other major commercial brokerage persists, but Karson acknowledged that the firm’s numbers are going up.

Forging ahead

While women in commercial real estate today see some struggles and disparities, JLL’s Black said the industry has grown to include more women since she got her start in the early ‘80s. “The one thing I’ve noticed is that
women feel more empowered to say to their peers or their managers, ‘Hey, that was an off-color joke’ or ‘I didn’t really like the way you said that about me.’ Women are using their voice now to explain that it’s not right,” she said.

However, Black sees two areas where female representation is lacking: tenant advisory and capital markets, both of which are especially profitable sectors of the business. “That’s predominantly still occupied by men, but in time that will change,” she said.

Jain is also optimistic about closing the gender gap in development.

“We’re starting to see more women take on those roles within their families and more women who want to be developers,” Jain said.