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January 29, 2016

Meet the rising stars in the Bay Area's commercial brokerage world

San Francisco Business Times

Roland Li

Meet the young brokers who are doing significant deals in the Bay Area's hot real estate market. With office costs soaring, they use shrewd strategy to help clients make the best decisions possible

Jaclyn Marshall became interested in the industry after interning at a real estate firm while attending Northeastern University in Boston. She also bought an apartment and learned the process of move-ins.

But for her next job, she was looking for a more business-oriented sector and settled on office and retail brokerage.

"I really wanted to get away from the emotional aspect of residential and really be involved in more cutthroat business transactions where you can negotiate harder," said Marshall.

In January 2008, she joined the boutique brokerage Commercial Partners after moving to San Francisco. Her partner and mentor was Bruce McLellan, about 25 years her senior, who taught her the fundamentals of brokerage. When the market collapsed, Marshall said she learned valuable lessons in staying focused and how landlords had to lure tenants with concessions. "I really had to self-motivate, because it took me a few years to really make any money," she said.

One of her first big wins was at a 40,000-square-foot building at 26 O'Farrell St., where she won the assignment by beating five other firms. She believes her attention to detail and commitment to work with the landlord helped her. "I always would take on a project and treat it like it was my own building," she said.

Over five years, she's completed leases on each of the 10 floors of the building, with tenants including Brilliant Earth Jewelry, Herco Jewelry Co., and the nonprofit EMPSI.

She's also done landlord representation at 360 Post St., a retail space near Union Square, and the Philippine Government's 447 Sutter St., and her tenant clients include Munchery and the law firm Phillips, Erlewine & Given.

For retailers like jewelry companies, rising rents have forced them to take sublease space, which is often discounted, but there's a chance that the landlord can take back the space and lease it for the market rent of around $70.

That's been a major challenge for finding economically viable deals, she said.

Real estate appeals to Marshall because of its entrepreneurial aspect. "The best part of a business like this is that you have the ability to define your own success," she said. I get bored quickly so the ability to really define your future and be in full control of your career is very attractive to me."

Although the commercial brokerage industry skews male, she doesn't see her gender as a hindrance.

"I look at myself like all these other men," she said. "Sometimes it helps me and sometimes it doesn't. What I pride myself on is my skillset and how I'm able to help a client, and it's just as good as any man could."

For the full story, go to San Francisco Business Times.

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