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Friday, Aug 12, 2022

‘People are desperate for land’: Newmark’s Kevin Shannon on LA’s Office Landscape

Kevin Shannon
Co-head of capital markets Newmark Group Inc.
Sales: More than $65 billion
Lecturer: He is a guest lecturer and moderator at USC.
Philanthropy: Shannon is a board member of Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Newmark Group Inc.’s Kevin Shannon is one of the top investment sales brokers in the United States, with more than $65 billion in sales over a more than 35-year career.
He joined Newmark in 2015 where he leads a team of 33 in 16 markets in the Western United States.

He was previously with CBRE Group Inc. for roughly 10 years.

What got you interested in capital markets?

My passion for real estate came from a class at USC, and I knew when I took the class from Rocky Tarantello, I knew that I wanted to do real estate. I started as a leasing broker, and then in 1995, I decided I was sick of leasing, and I wanted to do sales. … I was at Colliers Seeley (now Colliers International Group Inc.) at the time and went to the president and said, ‘I’m going to leave the firm’ because I wanted to do sales and capital markets, and he said, ‘No, you stay here and start our investment sales division.’ I went into capital markets because I got bored with doing small leases, and I found sales more interesting and exciting.

What are buyers looking for in L.A. now?
Today investors are following their research, and the research is telling them to buy industrial and Sun Belt multifamily and medical office and life sciences, and then telling them to buy in certain office markets like Burbank and Culver City, markets where there’s job growth and rental rate growth. … Investors are following their research and looking for markets and sectors that have favorable growth prospects.

How big a player are media and entertainment companies in L.A.’s office market?
They are the primary driver, the primary engine of growth. The pandemic augmented the demand for content creation. When you’re home, you want to watch your Netflix or your Prime Plus or your Hulu. Those media channels need content, so the pandemic has augmented what was already a favorable growth product. Their prospects for continued growth are excellent. That’s the No. 1 driver in L.A … and (it’s) going to lead the office market recovery.

What will future office spaces look like?

Most of these content creation companies, the HBOs and the Disneys and the Amazons and the Netflixes, these are big tech companies, and the competition for talent among these companies is fierce. They gravitate toward the best-in-class environment to help with recruitment and branding. … (Class) A product has been doing the best and leading the recovery.
There is a dynamic going on in L.A., and a new trend is you are starting to see a lot of land plays. People are desperate for land. … You are seeing industrial developers buy Class B and C office buildings … with the intent to build new industrial product, and that is helping Class B and C offices. You are going to see a lot of office buildings where the new owner wants to move the tenants out and build new industrial. … Office projects are going to end up getting mothballed for industrial conversion, which is a new dynamic that started happening a few months ago.

For the office buildings that are remaining office properties, how are investors and developers working to meet changing office space needs?
You’ve got to keep up with the Joneses. If you have an older product, you need to renovate it; you need to create amenities and campus environments that are attractive to tenants. … You have to have the bells and whistles the A products incorporate into their campuses. You are seeing developers upgrade Class B product to be competitive and get higher rents.

— Hannah Madans

Keep reading the 2021 Who's Who in Real Estate special report.

Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans covers real estate for the Los Angeles Business Journal. A USC grad, Madans has done work with publications including The Orange County Register, The Real Deal and doityourself.com.

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