Contemporary Commercial Real Estate Management

By Alexander, Alan A.; Muhlebach, Richard F. | Journal of Property Management, November 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Contemporary Commercial Real Estate Management


Alexander, Alan A., Muhlebach, Richard F., Journal of Property Management


Real estate managers of the 21st century learned from the experiences of real estate managers during the 1980s and 1990s that they must be able to manage through change. One cannot manage change that is occurring in the market and in society, but one can develop strategies and tactics to manage through it. This requires a broad range of business and people skills. Real estate managers must be able to adapt to an industry that experiences cycles within cycles, and they must be able to change their management focus to meet the needs of different property owners. The primary responsibility of the real estate manager is to achieve and hopefully exceed the property owner's goals and objectives.

Real estate managers do not manage buildings they manage businesses. Each property is the owner's business. When managing a mega mixed-use development (MXD) or a successful super regional mall, the real estate manager is es- sentially managing a business worth in excess of one billion dollars. When a real estate manager is managing a small 10,000-square-foot office building, he or she is managing a small business for its owner. The small office building is just as important to its owner as the mega MXD is to its owner.

For years, real estate managers were employed primarily by third-party real estate management firms. Today, there are opportunities to work for several different types of real estate and other types of firms. Almost all of the real estate investment trusts (REITs) manage their own properties; they have hired real estate managers and promoted many of their staff to real estate management positions. Many private investors and developers have created in-house real estate management departments or subsidiary real estate management companies. National, regional, and local brokerage firms have added real estate management services to the portfolio of services they offer their clients. Major corporations and retailers have real estate departments to manage and lease their sites. Government agencies at all levels have real estate managers who are responsible for millions of square feet of commercial space ranging from small office buildings to airports. …

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