CB Richard Ellis Memphis’ Mary Sharp never has a dull day as the chief operating officer and head of the company’s Asset Services division.
She leads a team of 15 real estate professionals that manages and/or leases 24 million square feet (and growing) of commercial real estate space throughout the Mid-South.
“We have the player-coach model here at CBRE, so our leaders also have a line of business they support,” said Sharp, whose duties overseeing the Asset Services division encompass all industrial, office and retail property management and leasing assignments within the company’s portfolio, including oversight of owner and tenant relations.
Sharp’s division also handles project management, including capital projects at buildings, and tenant improvements, and is currently working with Finard Properties LLC on the rehabilitation of the Poplar Plaza.
Sharp first became involved with commercial real estate in the mid-1990s. She wanted to take on a new challenge after being a stay-at-home mom for many years, so she went back to school at the University of Memphis, and earned her master’s degree in real estate. After completing school, she joined CBRE in 1994 as an assistant property manager.
Over the past 19 years, her titles at the company have included senior vice president in charge of property management, director of operations and on-site property manager for several properties with direct responsibility for budget development, fiscal reporting and vendor contracts.
Sharp said she sees the local CRE market improving right now, as activity seems to be picking up across all sectors.
“The market is definitely improving. We are seeing a lot of activity in all segments: office, retail and industrial. It is definitely more active than it was a year ago,” said Sharp, who also handles the business operations of the Memphis office, including business planning, human resources and marketing. “We are also seeing more investor interest in Memphis, especially on the industrial side.”
Sharp noted that there seems to be more confidence today to get deals done, where in the past there might have been reluctance due to uncertainty with the economy.
“Class A office space has been very active, with a high occupancy rate. There are not many large blocks available, so there is beginning to be more interest in Class B space,” said Sharp, who sees the same thing happening with industrial space, with not many large blocks on the market and new spec buildings going up. And there are new retailers looking at Memphis, which is a good sign.”
This year Sharp is the president of Memphis Commercial Real Estate Women, which is part of a national organization dedicated to advancing the achievements of women in commercial real estate.
“I like to be involved with projects that benefit the community that I am a part of,” said
Sharp, who has been involved with Memphis CREW for nearly six years. “One of the main things we do is mentoring of young women who are trying to enter the commercial real estate field. I think it is important for the industry to help other women achieve success in their careers.”
She also currently serves on the board for the Red Cross Mid-South chapter.
“I really believe in the work they are doing every day for our community,” she said. “Everyone thinks of the Red Cross in terms of major disasters, but every day they are assisting fire victims in Memphis. They respond to every house fire to assist families who are burned out of their homes, at an average of three fires per day.
“If we do have a major disaster here in Memphis, we have a lot of buildings we could be working with. They will need help, and I know the Red Cross will be there to help.”
Away from work, Sharp enjoys practicing yoga and spending time with her family at their house on the Tennessee River.