In this executive Q&A, Kent Elliott, principal at RETS Associates, a leading national real estate recruiting firm, sits down with Greg Galusha, partner at Kearny Real Estate, a boutique real estate firm that has managed and developed more than 200 assets valued at over $4.5 billion. Kearny recently purchased an iconic office building in San Diego and is expanding its team with a unique offering to attract and retain top talent. Read more about Kearny and its growing San Diego team.
Kent Elliott (KE): Describe Kearny’s current activity and need to grow the team.
Greg Galusha (GG): We recently purchased Emerald Plaza, a Class-A 30-story, office complex in San Diego’s CBD for $91 million. Although Kearny doesn’t typically buy Class A properties, we believe there is an attractive opportunity to reposition this underperforming asset within the submarket. Emerald Plaza is widely recognized and our purchase of it raises the visibility of Kearny as an owner in the region. We anticipate this acquisition will lead to more investment opportunities in San Diego and recently hired a director of property management to oversee building operations and aid in future growth.
KE: How did Kearny position itself attractively to secure a top candidate?
GG: We were moving swiftly with the building purchase and needed to move just as efficiently in our talent search for a director of property management. Like most CRE firms, we’re busy and do not have the internal manpower to source top talent within our timeline. We recognized the need for a recruitment partner.
It’s hard to find talent that is willing to make a move this late in the cycle. We enlisted RETS, armed them with all of our offerings and must-haves, and were presented a panel of four highly qualified candidates in a matter of days.
There are two factors we believe led to the success of the search: first, we armed RETS with a unique offering to sell in to candidates – profit sharing to all employees, not just the investment team or senior management. We’ve been offering this for 20 years and have recognized that it is a bonus that makes a positive impact on each employee. Second, RETS applied a team to the assignment rather than one person; two or three people collaborated to quickly to source top candidates in the region. In the end, the woman we hired had historic knowledge from previously working on Emerald Plaza and was a natural culture fit.
KE: What does the future look like for Kearny?
GG: This purchase and hire provides us more opportunity to expand our asset base in San Diego. We are strong believers of what’s happening in Downtown San Diego and are looking for more opportunities to own and manage, or manage as a third party. As we grow our San Diego portfolio, we will grow our local team. In fact, we’re already looking for an associate-level candidate to meet our immediate needs.