Interview with Developer Jennifer Taylor,US
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.
Turning to the impact of gender in the real estate business, where do women and men concentrate in the real estate business? Does that make a difference in their success?
Most asset managers are men, though women can clearly stand out results-wise in investing as well. There are both male and female agents in high numbers and some of these will migrate to the investment side.
In property management, the majority of people I’ve met are women. I think having property management experience is valuable with cash-flowing commercial properties, because you gain a strong sense of what aspects of the property can be improved, and where financial efficiencies can be gained. Atalanta has four principals, three of which are women: Robin Dean, Lourdes Canlas and myself. It’s not coincidence that we’ve all had property operations experience. Our fourth partner is a gentleman named Aden Kun with a background from the investment side of the industry.