International conference inspires business owner

By Teresa Warren

Monday, August 24, 2015


The editor of CREW Corner recently sat down with Jill Winchell, CEO of Jill Winchell Design, a San Diego-based commercial real estate interior design firm. Winchell has more than 25 years of design expertise and works with clients in biotech, technology, corporate, mixed use and health care. She is also an adjunct professor at SDSU.

Editor: You attended an international design conference in Milan, Italy. Tell us about it.


JW: The Milan Furniture Fair is held annually in Milan. It is the largest trade fair of its kind in the world. The exhibition showcases the latest in furniture and design from countries around the world.


Editor: With conference participants from around the world, what similarities do you see in approaches to design? What differences?


JW: I attend Neocon in Chicago and have also attended the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) in New York City. The shows are always inspiring. However, traveling to a show with global presence brings a very large perspective being among so many international designers.


It was absolutely amazing being a participant among languages from all over the world, housed in an industrial city known for fashion and exquisite design definitely added a huge impact to the conference. Being immersed internationally with experiences even in airports and local transportation are part of the journey as to how people connect in daily living situations. The impact of awareness in design was apparent in Italy.


Editor: How did meeting other design professionals from other parts of the world give you a new or different perspective on your work?


JW: Networking was amazing! The trip consisted of meeting designers from other countries, in addition to a U.S. presence, including San Francisco architecture and design firm CEOs and principals, the design director from a California carpet manufacturer and the owner of a furniture dealership in New York City.  Read More



July CREW Corner: Property Insurance for Landlords and Tenants

By: Holly McGlinn

Monday, July 20, 2015


When searching for the perfect space, a tenant might consider herself lucky to find one in which the previous tenant has invested significantly in building out the space.


Take, for example, a restaurant with newer upgraded floors, custom wall coverings, high-end countertops on all bars — the works. The landlord is happy because the space rents quickly because of all the upgrades.

The new restaurant tenant provides the landlord with an insurance certificate naming the landlord as “additional insured” on the general liability policy and provides proof of workers’ compensation and property insurance (generally business personal property and contents, and business income).


The landlord’s lease also requires that the tenant insure her tenant improvement work — in the insurance world known as TIB (tenant’s improvements and betterments), which means the new restaurant tenant must insure the total value of the improvements made to the space including anything permanently attached, such as fixtures, paint and flooring.


In this example, suppose the tenant did not add TIBs to the policy, since everything was put in place by the prior tenant. The landlord is, of course, responsible for insuring the value of the building. Everyone is happy and the deal is done.


Fast-forward six months. A kitchen fire spreads and results in total damage to the restaurant and the building. Both the landlord and the tenant call their insurance carriers.


The landlord has a property insurance policy for the value of his building of $1 million He came up with this value when he bought the building, before the prior restaurant tenant added $200,000 in upgrades.


The landlord never increased his building limit since he did not view the prior tenant improvement work as his responsibility. The new restaurant tenant similarly did not view the prior tenant improvements as her responsibility as they were part of the space when she moved in.


So what happens next? Everybody loses.


Frequently, a commercial lease will read that the TIB work installed by a tenant becomes the landlord’s property when the lease expires. Landlords often forget to re-evaluate the value of their building to factor in this work.

So in this case, the landlord should have increased his building coverage to $1.2 million when the prior lease ended. Since this did not occur, the landlord will suffer two financial hits. Read More


McGlinn is a commercial lines producer with San Diego-based Alcott Insurance and an active member of CREW San Diego. She can be reached at



June CREW Corner: Enclave Sorrento provides fine example of renovating office property

By: Teresa Warren

Monday, June 29, 2015


Repositioning and renovations continue to outpace new construction starts for office space in San Diego. CREW San Diego members and guests experienced first-hand Sorrento Mesa’s largest office technology property renovation to date, Enclave Sorrento, when CREW hosted an educational forum and tour at the newly completed campus, 9808 and 9868 Scranton Road.


Enclave Sorrento is a perfect example of aging office space being repurposed to meet the wants and needs of today’s companies and employees.


Brian Harnetiaux, vice president of asset management at McCarthy Cook, which owns the campus, said his company had been interested in the property for two years, in part due to its “phenomenal” location in one of San Diego’s technology cluster hot spots.


However, the project didn’t come without challenges. One of the greatest challenges of the building was its limited parking, which McCarthy Cook solved by adding a five-story parking structure.


Another issue, said Mary Bubacz of DPR Construction, general contractor for the project, was that one of the two buildings on the campus was occupied at the time construction started. McCarthy Cook worked to accommodate the tenant during the 10-month construction window, including catering lunches for them.

Charged with creating a design to completely transforming the outdated property, Darrel Fullbright of Gensler, the architect on the project, said that the outdoor spaces and lobbies held the potential to create an extra wow factor.


Wanting to approach the project by “doing everything in a slightly different way,” Gensler’s renovations included two-story, glass-enclosed lobbies, new hotel-grade restrooms, a café and tenant lounge with a foldaway glass wall system, large screen televisions and a fitness and yoga center with locker rooms. In all, the campus makeover cost $38 million.


With extremely limited developable land in urban business areas and rents in most submarkets not supporting the cost of new construction, repurposing existing buildings is a common-sense trend that is taking the San Diego region by storm.


In downtown San Diego, where several buildings are considered “aging,” many redo projects. For example, said Bess Wakeman, executive vice president of JLL, when the former downtown Central Library building on E Street is repurposed, it “will be pivotal in attracting the universities, start-up companies, life sciences firms and nonprofits who have all expressed an interest in the location.” The city of San Diego is collecting responses to its Request for Ideas as to what to do with the site.


“We chose Enclave Sorrento as the venue for an educational program to highlight the early collaboration of all of the team members to successfully repurpose this unique and outdated property,” said Allison Simpson, director of business development and a long-time CREW San Diego volunteer.


“The fact that all of the team members are corporate sponsors of CREW created a great synergy for our members to learn firsthand what it takes to tackle such a project, the obstacles to completion and the beneficial outcomes.”


An important aspect from an owner’s point of view of repurposing is the ability to command higher rents. Before it was transformed, Enclave Sorrento was considered a Class B real estate asset with rents at about $1.50 per square foot, much less than the $2.60 average asking rent for all asset classes in Sorrento Mesa, as reported by JLL for the first quarter of 2015.


Chad Urie, executive vice president with JLL, the marketing firm for Enclave Sorrento, said amenities are also an important aspect in the repositioning of a property. With a theme of “connected living,” tenants at Enclave Sorrento will have access to a shuttle service from the Coaster and a free shared bicycle program to get to the retail and restaurants nearby.


Connected living is also a nod to the outdoor bridges that connect each floor of the two, four-story buildings. The bridges, which are paved with turf, are wide enough to accommodate outdoor furniture.

With 213,000 square feet of space, more than one-half of the campus is already leased to a Fortune 20 company, soon to be announced. Interestingly, the company is not taking one complete building. Urie, who brokered the lease deal, said the company was attracted to the connectivity the bridges give to the building and chose to go horizontal by leasing the first and second floors of each building.


The 110,000 square feet the company has secured will consolidate more than 600 employees from three different San Diego locations.


Warren is president of TW2 Marketing, which provides public relations services to CREW San Diego.



May CREW Corner: Interviewing in the Commercial Real Estate World Today

By: Carly Glova

May 11, 2015


The commercial real estate industry is booming again. Many employees who hunkered down in their uninspiring positions during the recession are finally feeling comfortable enough to look for the next meaningful step in their career. Yes, this even applies to the more mature, set in their ways, approaching retirement talent. This “do what you love” movement is making even the most conservative commercial real estate industry veterans step back and ask themselves “what do I want to be when I grow up?”

If it has been awhile since you last interacted with the job market, I offer you my top five tips for navigating the current interview and job search scene.


 1. Invest Time Into Discovering Your Dream Career

Whether it be dedicating an hour a week to perusing job sites and job descriptions, setting up a career-focused lunch with a trusted colleague, or taking a three-month break from the real world to live your own version of Eat, Pray, Love at a meditation retreat in a foreign country, make time to focus on figuring out where you would ultimately like to be in your career.


Once you have decided what career would motivate you to jump out of bed everyday, set incremental short-term goals to achieve that desired career. These goals might include taking graduate classes, attending a specific CREW event on a relevant topic, or meeting someone currently working in your desired position who can point you in the right direction. Setting aside time for career soul searching and subsequently setting measurable goals to get to your ideal career will be exponentially more rewarding for you, your family, and your future company and colleagues.


2. Worry Less about Work Gaps

Employers in this day and age realize that even the best employees may have been affected by economic factors outside of their control. Also, candidates who take the time to try to start their own venture or discover the world show tremendous initiative and curiosity that employers respect and admire, even if it means periods of unemployment on a resume.


3. Research (Your Ideal Companies and Yourself)

Google yourself and see what comes up because you can be sure employers are doing the same thing. In order to promote positive pieces as the first things employers see when they search your name, try creating your own content through articles and blogs, customizing your LinkedIn domain name or creating a personal page to showcase your talents. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and up to date. This includes asking former co-workers and/or clients for public feedback on your performance. The Society for Human Resource Management indicated that the cost of hiring the wrong candidate can be anywhere from 50 – 60 percent of that employee’s annual salary. To avoid making this costly mistake, companies are turning more and more to references and LinkedIn recommendations to validate their hiring choices.


In that same vein, research the person you are going to meet before you meet them. This will give you clues as to what causes the person is passionate about and what they like doing in their spare time. Find some common ground to start the conversation off on the right foot. LinkedIn is also a wealth of information, but you may want to make your searches private so your interviewers don’t see you habitually checking their profiles. I do not suggest requesting to connect with your interviewers on social media platforms until after you accept the job with their company.


4. Dress Professionally

Whether your dream job interview takes place in a coffee shop or in a corner office in a downtown high-rise, always present your best self. I cannot tell you how many candidates I have dealt with who are extremely qualified, but carry themselves in a way that causes future employers to see them as someone who would be detrimental to the hiring company’s image as a whole. It is always better to be overdressed. Peruse company material and photos of their executive team on their website to determine the appropriate attire. If the company you are interested in being a part of is a construction company and the website is full of casual pictures, then you are probably safe with dress pants and a jacket or a nice professional dress. In most cases, the old conventions of wearing a suit or professional outfit to an interview still apply.


5. Send a Written Thank You Note

The art of the thank you note seems to have gotten lost over the past10-15 years with the rise of the internet. Regardless of the context of the meeting, the person on the other side of the table consciously took time out of their day to spend with you, so express your appreciation with a thank you message within 24 hours. If you are very interested in the position or gleaned incredibly valuable information from the discussion, go one step further and send a written note to really stand out.


The most important part of getting your dream job is conveying your passion for the position in a consistent message through your personal brand and value proposition. This can be done online, through social media, or most importantly in-person through your interviews and other meetings.


Carly Glova is President and Executive Recruiter of Building Careers, LLC, a San Diego based, commercial real estate focused, recruiting solution. Glova has been in the commercial real estate industry throughout her entire career and is actively involved with organizations including CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women), where she has served on various committees and is a former Board Member.  She can be reached at



March CREW Corner: CREW San Diego Hosts 2015 UCREW Ultimate Experience

By: Toni McMahon

Monday, March 30, 2015


Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) San Diego hosted the 2015 UCREW Ultimate Experience this month to rave reviews.


UCREW is an interactive session that introduces college students to opportunities in commercial real estate. The year’s event, held March 7, was attended by 25 university students from San Diego State University, University of San Diego, California State University San Marcos and a law school. Qualcomm hosted the event at the company’s brand-new Pacific Center Campus AY Office and Laboratory in Sorrento Valley.

The 357,000-square-foot facility was designed for LEED gold certification and incorporates sophisticated design, engineering and material choices to achieve a high level of sustainability and occupant comfort. The students toured the sustainable workplace environment while making stops to listen to industry leaders talk about their path to success and how their discipline fits in the overall development process.  Read more



Susan Couch, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Friday, March 27, 2015


Susan Couch, senior vice president and senior client manager for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is responsible for developing and maintaining business relationships in San Diego, focusing on companies with revenues from $5 million to $50 million. She has also worked on growing and expanding the defense and government contracting industry focus for San Diego. Couch joined Bank of America 24 years ago and her experience allows her to be a comprehensive advisor, enabling her to provide tailored credit and treasury solutions to help meet each client’s goals.


She is a graduate of University of Washington Pacific Coast Banking School, Phoenix Community College with an associate degree in banking and finance, and a LEAD San Diego Honor graduate. She serves on the board of Rancho YMCA, PsychArmor Institute and is active with Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) San Diego, National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), La Jolla Country Day School, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center and Teen Volunteers in Action


Couch has made countless professional, charitable and volunteer connections throughout the years. Her clients and strategic partners are quick to praise her skills and dedication.


Marjorie Morrison is CEO of PsychArmor Institute, a nonprofit that helps employers understand the psychology of military veterans they hire who have PTSD and other service-related conditions.


“Susan was one of my very first board invitees,” Morrison said. “I knew without a doubt that she’d be instrumental in helping us get off the ground. Her community influence, coupled with her ability to effectively network, is absolutely top-notch. She not only uses her connections to introduce us to the top influencers at BofA, but also to executives she knows around San Diego who can benefit from our services.  Read More...



February CREW Corner: Balancing Your Information Technology

By: Rebecca Bodemann

February 11, 2015


I love information technology!  The impact it has had on our personal and professional lives over the last few decades is undeniable.  Never have we had such a plethora of information available to us at any given moment.  Sometimes it still amazes me that I can search any subject on the Internet and within a second have page after page of information at my fingertips.    We can trade stocks, pay bills and file taxes online.  Online education has added a new dimension to professional development.  For commercial real estate professionals, vast amounts of information regarding research, listings and much more from around the world are available with a few clicks of a keyboard.


As much as technology has changed our personal lives, the business world in general, and commercial real estate in particular, have been revolutionized in incredible ways.  As Internet and infrastructure allows information to travel faster and faster, the world has become smaller and smaller allowing even the smallest real estate-related business to operate on a global level.   Most businesses today store information on computers and in the infamous cloud vs yesteryear’s file drawers and bankers boxes.  Email provides the instant transfer of files anywhere in the world.  Wireless internet makes it possible to work from home, a hotel, your local coffee shop or the beach. We are all tethered to cell phones, iPads, laptops, etc.  Some may argue that the lines between our personal lives and professional lives have been forever blurred.


Though each of our job requirements are different, those in the commercial real estate field can all relate to “technology overload” on some level.  Following are a few tips I’ve adopted to manage the abundance of emails and texts I receive to work smarter in the noisy world of sales to the real estate sector.


1.  Create New Habits – Do you habitually check your cell phone looking for the latest text, email or social update?  Do you sleep with your cell phone by your bed or reach for your phone the second the alarm clock goes off?   Do you feel the need to respond to every email/text the second it comes in?  Is your inbox your To Do List?


Try having a cup of coffee or breakfast before checking email.  Allow yourself to set your intentions for the day without being thrown into a tailspin before you’re out of your pajamas!  Try keeping your phone in another room at night.  If you phone is your alarm clock (like mine was) buy a real alarm clock.  Yes, they still make them!


2. Stay Focused on People – As great as email and text are, nothing trumps face-to-face communication.  We all understand this, but it’s easy to fall into the habit of hiding behind email or text. Whenever possible, take the extra time to pick up the phone to make a call or schedule a meeting.  This will add value to your relationships.  When in meetings, refrain from checking messages and be sure to maintain eye contact.  We all bring laptops to meetings.  Be careful not to position yourself to where you’re hidden behind a laptop screen.


3. Establish “No Technology” Time – Statistics show that 51 percent of professionals check their phones continuously during vacation, 75 percent check within an hour of waking up and 48 percent  check on the weekends.  Email is a necessity for business and the truth is sometimes it is the best way to communicate.  However, email can also be a huge distraction.   Statistics show it can take as much as four minutes to re-focus on a task after checking email.  Checking email constantly throughout the day may be an effective way to manage your inbox, but it can dramatically lower your productivity.


Try establishing a “focus hour” preferably in the morning or when you feel your energy and creativity are at their best.  Use this time to focus on high priority tasks without interruption.  Turn off email and text audible and visual notifications.  Put the phone on do not disturb.  Another useful tip is to check email at only certain times of day.  If you’re worried about the delayed response, you can put an auto responder on your email letting people know that you don’t check your email constantly and provide an alternate way to get service if it  is an emergency.


4.  Power Down Daily – This tip may cause you to panic! It may not be realistic for some of us to completely shut down. While business may require you to stay connected 24/7, it is important to set limits as much as possible.  When we are connected 24/7, it is hard to get the time we need to unwind and reset.  If you absolutely can’t shut down, try keeping your phone on a charging station or in another room after hours and check messages at set times only.  If you’re unable to set time to disconnect during the week, consider disconnecting at least one day on the weekend.  Technology enhances our personal and professional lives.  The key is finding the right balance and never forget the value of the human connection.


Rebecca Bodemann is sales manager at Xpedient Communications.  She is a seasoned sales engineer with over 15 years of experience in the communications industry, specializing in voice/data infrastructure and consulting and engineering of technology solutions including voice, data, video, and security. She can be reached at

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