Jim Jacobsen has spent most of his career catering to companies with a creative bent, but in the last decade that’s meant more and more Westside companies in tech. Among those are online content producer Demand Media Inc.; video game company Activision Blizzard Inc.; and Yahoo Inc. and its predecessor Launch Interactive. Today, the 41-year-old founder of brokerage Industry Partners is expanding his geographic scope to downtown Los Angeles, where an office landlord has retained him to find tech and creative tenants.
How did you begin your career?
I started my real estate career as a licensed California real estate agent while I was still in high school. I later joined Lee & Associates as a commercial broker after graduation from UCLA in 1992.
How did you start working with tech companies?
I’ve always worked with entertainment companies and it was a natural evolution. They both want the same things in office space – simply stated: an authentic experience.
What’s the best part of working with these companies?
We both identify with and understand each other. We share the same lifestyle, and approaches to business and quality of life.
What’s the most challenging?
No matter the type of tenant, the most challenging thing in business is keeping everyone on point with the goal. I think a lot of people fail to understand that making something work takes a lot of work. The hardest thing is dealing with real estate people who don’t care about the underlying real estate, but view it only as a financial instrument. That’s when projects fail.
What makes them different from other tenants?
Bottom line, people in tech and entertainment work in very dense environments with long hours and demand a better quality of life because of it. Their spaces are very important to them. It’s not just a place to go to work.
How long will the industry rapidly grow?
The short answer is “forever.” What we’re seeing today is a generational and economic shift to the point where technology is no longer a category. It is pervasive and is beginning to touch everything we do.
Current deal I am working on …
Most notable are the PacMutual Building in downtown Los Angeles and the Annex in Marina del Rey. You can’t pick two buildings that are more different, but it is a great example that there is no cookie-cutter approach to creative office space.
Not to be flippant or cliché, but it’s the project I’m working on that day.
Anything that has character. I hate working on anonymous buildings. And I’m happy to say we don’t have any of those.
Most embarrassing career moment?
I was with producer J.J. Abrams looking at buildings when we came upon a window display of characters from his TV show “Lost.” I made the mistake of questioning him about how the character Hurley, a large overweight man, could be on a deserted island and not lose any weight.
My colleagues don’t know this about me …
Candidly, I’m an oversharer. Unfortunately, everyone knows too much about me.
– Jacquelyn Ryan
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