The Life of a Property Manager
Launching a new property management biz takes more than just sweeping, as Patrick Glynn, who’s doing just that for Transwestern/ RBJ, knows. Here's a glimpse into what a property manager deals with each day—and you'd need a pretty powerful, well-schooled broom to do it all.
Transwestern, based in Houston and expanding nationally, has targeted Boston as a market where it wants to establish a major presence. Last fall, it acquired RBJ, and this week, it brought on managing SVP Patrick to run its newly launched local property management division. (Ryan Dempster didn't feel like doing it.) Patrick runs offices, labs, and life science properties in Boston, Cambridge, and the ‘burbs, and way back, started his career working in the HVAC biz for 12 years.
Vintage buildings are distinguished by fine details (like 50 Congress St, above, which Transwestern/RBJ is already managing) and call for special expertise to re-fit with modern systems. A more current but still seasoned building, the John Hancock Tower—which Patrick managed for another firm—has many custom systems, like an elevator that travels up to 1,600 feet/minute. It requires extensive, careful upkeep and there are only a few suppliers that can provide the service required, he says.
Colleagues Nora Capraro and Alyse Garner know that taking on a new building usually means no major capital projects for the first 10 years. So during development, the property manager must participate in the design and commissioning of all systems so they get to know every aspect of the structure, Patrick says, especially as building systems have become increasingly complex. But as construction costs rise and developers lower floor-to-ceiling heights to produce more rentable space (and make it easier to retrieve lost balloons), there’s less room in ceilings to fit the growing number of pipes and ducts. If not installed with maintenance in mind, a repair team may have to remove an entire ceiling to reach one piece of equipment.
Complying with Boston’s new environmental report card (instituted last month) is good for the planet and for business, so property management team member Caitlin Smith may work with VP of marketing Mark Roberts to spread the word about a super green property. But managing labs presents a whole different challenge since they use huge amounts of energy for air handling and waste water management. Beyond the buildings, there's are also the financial reporting and tenant relationships to manage, he says.