Interview with Developer Jennifer Taylor, USA
How did you get involved in real estate?
I started my career as a receptionist for an executive suites building, owned by Aetna. I knew nothing about real estate at the time, but could sense the potential power of operating the type of building I worked in.
I transitioned into property management, and worked in the field for nearly a decade. While there, I wanted to grow into the investment side of the business. I’ve always been a self-starter and have spent a lot of time learning about real estate from others, including the institutional asset managers that visited my management company’s to check on their properties.
How did you grow your investment and operating business?
In 2002, I started an investment group called Arroyo Realty Partners with two partners. We invested in office building in Honolulu and expanded to other properties in Hawaii. We were fortunate with our exit from that business, as we sold the assets to an institutional investor in August 2007, right before the downturn.
I then rode out the downturn, before putting a new business plan together for a similar platform, now called Atalanta Realty Investments. We focus on operating and enhancing the value of commercial properties in markets with significant Asian populations, particularly parts of California and all of Hawaii. We aim to acquire retail, industrial and office assets. The first thing we did was to buy back the portfolio of Hawaiian assets we had sold to Morgan Stanley in 2007. Now, we just closed on our first acquisition: two offices buildings in Honolulu.
What’s next for you and your business?
My partners and I are excited about Atalanta’s prospects, based on team chemistry and our understanding of Hawaii, California and other west coast markets with Asian populations. The focus suits us well. We will evaluate deals in the $5 – $30 million range. We’re also excited to be under contract to develop The Gathering Place, a 55,000 sq. foot open-air retail center on Oahu. Each acquisition and a growing operating history is building on our track record. That demonstrates to potential equity partners that we know our markets well.