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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Former San Francisco Secretary Goes Against Type

The Business Journal salutes industry standouts for bringing welcome relief to the hospitality sector.


Lynda Boyer

Vice President, CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.

Had Lynda Boyer typed more slowly, she might never have gone into real estate.

Because she could tap those keys quickly, however, a San Francisco brokerage firm kept her in the secretarial pool instead of promoting her to stockbroker. This was despite the fact that Boyer had a degree in finance from University of California, Berkeley.

Eventually she got mad and quit, spending 15 years as a professional fundraiser at UCLA, before one of the donors lured her away to CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.

There, she has made a big name for herself as a restaurant specialist representing both tenants and landlords out of the company’s office in Beverly Hills.

In 2009, Boyer said that the value of her lease transactions totaled more than $25 million, even as other brokers struggled.

“It’s a very difficult market. The thing that makes me successful is my relationships,” said the 27-year veteran broker. “If you can find a strong tenant who can perform, most of your landlords are thrilled to have them.”

Indeed, Boyer’s biggest client is L.A. Live developer AEG, for which she negotiated leases with Lawry’s Carvery, Trader Vic’s and Rock’n Fish. Other clients include General Growth Properties, the large mall owner, and Shea Properties, the commercial property unit of builder J.F. Shea Co.

Restaurant clients include Wolfgang Puck Worldwide and Real Mex Restaurants, the operator of El Torito and other Mexican chains. Boyer estimates about 60 percent of her clients are restaurant chains, which helps given how much an art there is to brokering.

“If you’re dealing with something like LA Live, you’ve already got a certain number of concepts and you can’t compete with them,” she said. “Dealing with a major shopping center, on the other hand, is really pretty easy; they say they want a Mexican restaurant and it can’t be pizza. (But) I lost a major deal once because there were too many margueritas on the menu. You have to look at the demographics – the entire day, night and weekend thing – to see what you think would fit best.”

What makes Boyer so good, according to M. Michelle Armstrong, for whom the broker has found numerous L.A. restaurant locations in the past, is her intimate knowledge of the market and the industry.

“Working with her was great,” said Armstrong, now director of restaurant development for Insite Real Estate in Oak Brook, Ill. “Her knowledge of the restaurant community and what was going on in Los Angeles really made my job easier. Lynda’s level of knowledge really helped place us in markets where we would be successful. She understands what the customer wants.”

What the broker herself wants, when she isn’t working, is lots of hiking, taking pictures and traveling.

“I once went to Tokyo for a football game and spent two weeks on a sailboat in Tahiti,” she said. “Oh, and I play with my grandkids a lot.”

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