CBM’s Retail Shopping Center Management & Leasing Blog

Retail Real Estate News & Trends in Southern California

Centers Business Management (CBM) property manager, Rose White, recently completed a lease transaction representing landlord and tenant, Fast Auto Loan, on a 2,400 SQFT retail space. The unit is in 7-Eleven anchored corner strip center at the intersection of Torrance and Prospect in prime Redondo Beach.

A New Year, A New Venue, But Still the Same ICSC Western Division Conference…

After a decade in San Diego, the ICSC Western Division Conference — the Western State’s premier shopping center industry event — relocated to sunny Los Angeles… Welcome to LA, friends!

As a result, countless vendors, municipalities, development firms, retail tenants, and commercial real estate’s best and brightest brokers descended upon the LA Convention Center for two and half days of prime networking + deal making.


CBM’s leasing and management team was at the show in FULL FORCE. Operating from Booth 1003, our leasing agents and property managers conducted nearly a dozen meetings, unifying eager landlords and active tenants. Certainly a productive affair for the top CRE pros of CBM!

Deal Making Action on the Convention Hall Floor…

In addition to the activity at our booth, the Tenant Midway, situated behind the front section of exhibitor booths was, in a word, hoppin’ during the height of Tuesday’s deal-making session. And while vendors, municipalities, and development firms are an integral part of the ICSC convention experience, tenants are the lifeblood of the event from a brokerage perspective.

Here’s Hoping ICSC Brings in Even MORE Tenants

ICSC has certainly done a great deal to promote tenant participation. But CBM, and the rest of the brokerage community hopes the organization can bring even more tenants. Specifically, we’d like to see a broader base of tenant representation, including office-retail users and medical users, among others.

A Word Event Timing…

In the transition from Palm Springs to San Diego, ICSC saw fit to expand the event. What was once two days, with a single day deal-making session, became three days, with a day and a half deal-making session.

But here’s the reality of how the dealing making sessions plays out… Nobody shows up on the first day until about 11am. And everybody who doesn’t have to staff a booth is gone by 4pm. Meanwhile, on the second day 90% of the attendees are only there because they’re staffing a booth.

It’s understandable that ICSC wants to justify their pricing and “pack as much into the conference as possible!” but it’s really a waste for exhibitors.

Why not a single day 10am to 4pm deal-making session? And if ICSC REALLY feels the need to justify their pricing, a 9am to 5pm deal making session wouldn’t be outrageous. But anything short of that is just a pointless waste of time for most attendees.

A Word on the New Location…

San Diego, and Palm Springs before it, were destination locations. And unfortunately, Downtown LA is no match for Palm Springs’ resort atmosphere or San Diego’s Gaslamp district charm.

ICSC has already committed to three years at the LA Convention Center, with next year’s date formally annoanced. But hopefully, after that run, the organization will rethink its current location choice.

A Show Highlight: Ervin “Magic” Johnson’s Keynote Speech

This year’s keynote speaker was one of the most exciting in the event’s history. A highly successful retail landlord, property investors, and developer, Ervin “Magic” Johnson is a true Los Angeles luminary.

And his Keynote speech lived up to his reputation as not only one of the NBA’s all-time greats, but as one of the Los Angeles’ business communities best and brightest.

Magic related how his tenacity and competitive drive to be the best on the basketball court translated to his career after the game. A mindset that has established Magic as a preeminent entrepreneur, real estate tycoon, and sports team ownership mogul.

Additionally, throughout his speech, Magic continually praised the work of the landlords, investors, and brokers present in transforming Los Angeles, particular Downtown LA, into the retail real estate powerhouse it is today.

Want to See More Pix of CBM’s booth? Visit our Facebook photo gallery!

Centers Business Management (CBM) leasing agents, Geoff Grossman and Jason Ehrenpreis, recently completed a lease transaction representing the landlord in a deal with a martial arts studio, on a 2,300 SQFT retail space. The unit is in a newer, multi-story Chase bank anchored community center. The property is situated at the intersection of Lake and Mendocino in prime Altadena.

Centers Business Management (CBM) leasing agents, Geoff Grossman and Jason Ehrenpreis, recently completed a lease transaction representing the landlord and tenant, US Military Recruitment Services, on a 5,498 SQFT retail space. The unit is situated in a newer center, anchored by Wells Fargo bank and Walgreens drug store. The property is at the busy intersection of Peck and Ramona in prime El Monte.

Centers Business Management (CBM) leasing agents, Brett Mero, Dave O’Connell, and David Guardado, recently completed a lease transaction representing the landlord in a deal with Farmers Insurance, on a 1,025 SQFT retail office space. The unit is situated in on busy Roscoe Boulevard in prime West Hills. The center’s diverse tenant mix includes Kumon Learning Center, Carousel Dance Studio, Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, and more.

Centers Business Management (CBM) leasing agents, Brett Mero and David Guardado, recently completed a lease transaction representing landlord and tenant, Dominos Pizza, on a 1,054 SQFT retail space. The unit is in a corner strip center at the intersection of Burbank and Whitsett in prime Valley Village. Situated amid a thriving retail district, the property is surrounded be countless successful regional and national retailers, including a busy drive-thru El Pollo Loco.

ICSC Western Division Conference

Tuesday, October 3rd, 8am-5pm + Wednesday, October 4th, 8am-12pm

CBM’s shopping industry-leading leasing and property management team will be on hand, meeting, greeting, and answering all of your retail real estate-related questions.

Stop by booth 1003 @ the Los Angeles Convention Center and say hi! We’re looking forward to seeing you there :—)


Owning a shopping center is different than other “traditional” investments…

Unlike stocks and bonds, and even investing in business startups, shopping centers involve a “human element” – also known as tenants – which is HIGHLY unpredictable. And dealing with this inscrutable human element is referred to as “Tenant Relations Management.”

Now, if you’re like lots of other retail landlords, you’ve likely found yourself, at one time or another, wrapped up in tenant drama. And rather than making sound business decisions (like enforcing the terms of a legally binding lease agreement), you’re making concessions to pacify a tenant’s emotional pleas.

So, how do you avoid this beyond frustrating predicament? Hire a property manager to handle Tenant Relations Management for you.

How does Tenant Relations Management work? Well, chiefly…

A Property Manager Creates a Buffer Between You + Your Tenants

Your manager handles all direct communication with tenants, including email, phone and face-to-face meetings. All tenant requests are relayed to you by your manager. This relay allows you to make considered and sensible decisions without being put on the spot by an anxious, overtly emotional tenant.

In essence, your manager removes you from equation, and in turn takes you off the firing line of emotionally overwrought tenants.
Manager Buffer Benefits Include…

Managers play the “Bad Guy” For You – Truthfully, nobody likes to be the “bad guy.” But in the end, you’re running a business. Not a charity. So, rather than absorb the dramatic onslaught many tenants unleash when their requests are denied, your manager can be the “bad guy,” say “No” for you, and cope with the fallout.

Lease Enforcement – By and large, playing the “bad guy” boils down to enforcing the terms of a tenant’s lease. A lease, however, is a legally binding agreement to which tenants have a duty to adhere. Of course, this doesn’t prevent tenants from making requests for rent reductions or abatement, reductions in or exceptions to CAM charges, exceptions to exclusive use limitations, and laundry list of other petitions all in direct contradiction to their lease. But here again, your manager can field these request, and act as your “Lease ENFORCER.” CBM is “firm but fair.”

Validating Tenant Requests – In some cases, tenants have legitimate issues. And if a tenant you want to keep claims a hardship and asks for a concession or expectation, it may be worth acquiescing to their appeal. But navigating such requests necessitates walking a fine line. Even generally upstanding tenants have been known to take advantage of a landlord if the opportunity arises. To protect your interests, your manager will gather the necessary backup to either validate or disprove a tenant’s claims. Additionally, if you chose to grant a tenant’s request, your manager will craft an action plan that accommodates the tenant’s needs, while protecting your financial interests. Managing thousands of tenants gives CBM a clear understanding of which tenants are sincerely struggling, and which tenants are simply asking increase their profits at the landlord’s expense.

Need Help Managing Your Tenant Relations?

Visit our Services page to find out more about CBM property management services. If you have questions, or would like to meet with a property manager to discuss your property, contact CBM President, Rick Rivera directly at: 310.575.1517 Ext. 201 or rickr@cbm1.com.

The question we’re asked most often by prospective landlords? (And as a leading Southern California retail property management firm, we talk to LOTS of landlords!)

“How much does property management cost?”

It’s a perfectly natural question. And it’s not necessarily and issue of affordability. It’s a matter of value.

Unfortunately, the “short answer” is wholly unsatisfying: “Well, it all depends…”

In fact, this is one of the most difficult questions for us to answer about our services.

How come?

Largely because every property, not to mention every landlord, is unique. And each comes with their own set of needs and requirements. Which, understandably, makes it difficult to quantify management fees without specific details.

So what details are necessary for us to calculate management fees? Well, here are the four key factors we consider in determining… How Much Property Management Costs

Current Rents

The FIRST thing we ask to see is a rent roll. This tells how many tenants are in place and their monthly rent.

Rental rates are critical because base management fees are calculated either as percentage of total monthly rent, or as a flat monthly fee.

If tenants are paying high monthly rents, a percentage management fee doesn’t make sense. Essentially, the fee would be greater than the value of services rendered.

Conversely, if tenants are paying low rents, a percentage fee doesn’t make sense, either. The fee wouldn’t justify the amount of time and effort required to manage the property.

Type of Tenant

Secondly, we need to the know the type of tenants occupying the center. Are they corporate tenants or “mom & pop” shops?

Corporate tenants don’t necessarily require as much one-on-one attention. Most corporate tenants, however, insist landlords enter complicated leases agreements, which often demand specific accommodations. Dealing with these types of leases requires expert knowledge. Especially when it comes to justifying CAM charges and conducting periodic CAM audits, which are required in many corporate leases.

On the other hand, independent, “mom & pop” tenants need much more hand-holding and one-on-one interaction. This is critical to ensure such tenants consistently pay rent and CAMs in a timely manner.

But regardless, every tenant is a party (and personality) a property manager has to deal with. And the greater the weight of individual tenant demands, the higher the management fee.

Property Age + Condition

Next, we always insist upon a site visit. This gives us an idea of the property’s age and overall condition, which is critical because a brand-new building requires MUCH less oversight than a 40+ year old structure in need of TLC.

A newer building not only has little wear and tear, it’s also constructed in accordance with current building + safety codes.

Older structures, on the other hand, often suffer from deferred maintenance. But even well-maintained properties will eventually require roof and HVAC replacement, parking lot slurry and the like. Sizable projects that will demand a great of a manager’s time and attention.

Moreover, older buildings usually aren’t up-to-date with current building and safety codes. And with ADA lawsuits running rampant throughout Southern California, compliance with present-day codes is major concern. It’s also a complicated and laborious matter that can absorb a significant amount of a manager’s time.

In short, an older building demands far more time and effort, not to mention expertise, from the property manager. And in turn warrants a higher fee.

Landlord Expectations

Finally, we need a CLEAR picture of the landlord’s expectations. This is why always request a face-to-face meeting.

Some landlords are content to turn over their property and the let the manager handle everything. Their only major concern is that their monthly check arrives on time ;—)

But other landlords want to discuss their property at length on a regular (sometimes even daily) basis. This included consulting with their manager in detail on all manner of property related issues and decisions. Additionally, they want to review monthly reports and financial statements with the manager, in person.

Additionally, some properties are owned by several people in partnership. This often compels a manager to generate and distribute multiple, highly detailed reports and financial statements to satisfy the various partners. And while one partner may act as the primary representative, other partners will at times also demand the manager’s attention, too.

And the more demands landlord’s make on the manager’s time, the higher the management fee.

Clearly, Calculating Management Fees is No Simple Task…

As you can see, calculating a management fee is not an easy proposition. Several critical issues must be factored in to arrive at a fair and equitable price.

Want to Know How Much it Costs to Manage Your Shopping Center?

Get in touch with CBM President, Rick Rivera, to discuss your property. He’ll walk you through the fee calculation process and provide a quote the accurately reflects the effort required to manage your property.

You can contact Rick at 310.575.1517 or rickr@cbm1.com.