The 30 Minute Interview - Marisa Manley

The 30 Minute Interview - Marisa Manley

Article originally published by The New York Times (Jan 24, 2012)

Ms. Manley is the president and founder of Commercial Tenant Real Estate Representation and Healthcare Real Estate Advisors. The companies, based in New York, help businesses find and set up commercial space. The businesses include the medical companies LabCorp, Quest and AmeriPath.

Interview conducted and condensed by Vivian Marino

Q. How do your services differ from those at brokerage firms?
A. We go far beyond brokerage services. We’ll help with strategy: do they lease or buy; how do they expand and where do they expand; do they have to dispose of an asset. So that means going out to the marketplace and finding space, or negotiating for purchase, hiring an architect and general contractor and managing them, and staying with the client through every step of the process.

Q. Are you fee- or commission-based?
A. We work on a fee basis. It depends on the scope of the work. It might be several hundred thousand dollars; if it’s a small scope it’ll be a smaller

Q. So how has business been?
A. Our revenue in 2011 was up over 2010 by about 15 percent.
We would certainly like to see more business coming in. We’re still seeing that tenants are reluctant in some cases to make decisions and there’s a
great deal of uncertainty in the business environment.

Q. How many projects are you working on at Commercial Tenant Real Estate Representation?
A. We have about 30 projects in-house — we’re about 50 percent in New York. We’re also handling projects in Florida, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Q. Can you talk about some of them?
A. We recently finished a project for a hedge fund in New York — I can’t name them — on an 11,000-square -foot renewal on Park Avenue. We’re working on a 90,000-square-foot project in Florida, and we recently had a 120,000-square-foot headquarters project in Connecticut.

Q. Let’s move on to Healthcare Real Estate.
A. We’ve got about 10 projects. We work with community health centers, so those are a mix of for-profit and not-for-profit entities; we work with medical diagnostic labs, in vitro fertilization providers. Here in New York we’re working with Advanced Fertility Services. They’ve asked us to help them decide whether they should stay where they are and how should they grow.

Q. Are you seeing much demand for medical space in the New York area?
A. Some of the clients we’re working with are certainly growing. For instance, a dentist that’s three generations — they just bought another practice. The question is how do we help them grow. We’re working with the not-for-profit Settlement Health; they’re also growing. The demand for health care services certainly is driving growth, depending on the sector you’re in. We all know that hospitals are closing down. We’re seeing an increased demand for ambulatory services. A hospital in Connecticut asked us to look into helping them build a new 20,000- to 25,000-square-foot ambulatory service center. And we have had folks who based their practices in hospitals move out of hospitals.

Q. Finding space for them, particularly in a city like New York, is probably a lot harder than with other clients.
A. If you’re a landlord on Fifth Avenue, you probably don’t want someone drilling through your floors for sinks and adding traffic in the elevators. Medical space is more technically complex. You’ve got a lot more plumbing to start with; you may need special air-conditioning if you have procedures; you may need more electricity to run certain equipment; you may need special drainage if you’re a lab and working with certain types of chemicals. So it gets to be pretty granular pretty quickly in terms of what the differences are. We have a high concentration of tenants with complex space needs, including technology companies that have lab or production needs.

Q. Speaking of technology, there have been a number of companies looking for space in New York. Are you working with any of them?
A. Our tech firms are often looking at a different price point, and we may be looking in places like North Carolina and sometimes in
Massachusetts on the Route 128 corridor or in Albany. If they’re doing any kind of production, it’s not interesting for them to be in New York.

Q. You have an architecture degree from Cornell and a law degree from Harvard. Did you ever practice in either profession?
A. I did not practice as an architect. I did practice law at I.B.M., in their real estate department. I was doing joint ventures with some of the major developers in the country. That was a very nice jumping-off point for me.

Q. Your bio also says you have a black belt in karate.
A. I am actually a fourth-degree black belt in kenpo. I practice almost every day.

Originally published by the New York Times online here.

A version of this interview appears in print on January 25, 2012, on Page B9 of the New York edition with the headline: Marisa Manley.

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