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VOL. 127 | NO. 82 | Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pera, Lightman, Rainer V Take Top Pinnacle Awards

By Sarah Baker

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The Memphis Area Association of Realtors Commercial Council honored the top performers in commercial real estate for 2011 at the 11th annual Pinnacle Awards gala, held Tuesday, April 24, at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis.

Michael Lightman Sr. was inducted into the Commercial Hall of Fame April 24.

(Photo: Nathan W. Berry Photography)

With the theme, “More Than a Decade of Excellence, a Society of Top Producers and a Huge Community Impact,” the city’s CRE brokers proved that perseverance is critical amid the long, slow grind of economic recovery.

Coming away with one of the evening’s highest honors was Commercial Hall of Fame inductee Michael Lightman Sr. of Michael Lightman Realty Co. In his 40 years as a developer, Lightman has participated in – just to name a few – the land sales for FedEx Corp. for its world headquarters at Winchester and Hacks Cross roads, Walmart and its outparcel on Germantown Parkway, and some 18 sites for Malco Theaters Inc. in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.

Lightman developed Cross Creek at Riverdale Road, and sold the property about 10 years ago at the highest value it’s ever been before or since. In the Hacks Cross area, he’s been involved in the development of about 1 million square feet of retail properties for Costco, Lowe’s, Target and J.C. Penny, not to mention more than 1,000 apartment units in the area.

His portfolio now has about 2.5 million square feet of investment property and more than 500 acres of land that’s pending development.

“It’s wonderful to receive an award for work that you enjoy so much,” Lightman said. “In the real estate business, the sky is truly the limit. Location is extremely important in this business, it truly is. But I have to admit that being in the right place at the right time, and having a little luck certainly doesn’t hurt.”

Another top honoree was Blake Pera of CB Richard Ellis Memphis, who made Pinnacle Awards history by snagging both Commercial Broker of the Year and Multifamily Sales Broker of the Year. In nearly two decades in business, he has sold $2.3 billion worth of apartment communities and has brought in tens of millions of dollars of investor equity into Memphis CRE, much of it new to the market.

“Blake often says that his first job is to sell Memphis, and if he does that well, selling the real estate will take care of itself,” said Steve Rudesill of CBRE, who hired Pera in 1998 and presented the award. “I’ve had great fortune in my career to have Blake as a business partner – he balances life, he’s a superstar in his profession, and he sets a great example for everyone around him. Blake is one of the people I’ve admired most in professional life.”

James Rainer V of Grubb & Ellis was named Newcomer of the Year – the highest producing broker with no more than two years of experience in the industry.

And the second annual Community Impact Award was presented to Nike Inc. in recognition of the company’s substantial investment in Memphis. Locally, it uses approximately 4.2 million square feet of industrial space, making Memphis the core of its supply chain network.

Just this month, Nike was awarded the licensing and contract for the NFL that will require even more space in Memphis and additional employees to handle the business.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” said Willie Gregory, Nike director of community and business investment. “It’s a great time to be in Memphis, Tenn. I love that this is my home and it’s a great time to be a part of the Nike team.”

MAAR presented 24 Pinnacle Elite awards, given to the highest-producing commercial brokers based on sales and leasing activities in 2011. Collectively, their transactions produced more than $913.5 million – $70 million more revenue than last year.

Broker of the Year awards were presented to the top producers in eight categories: industrial leasing (landlord), Brad Murchison of CBRE; industrial leasing (tenant), Andy Cates of Colliers International; investment sales, Rosemarie Fair of One Source Commercial; office leasing (landlord), Ron Riley of Colliers International; office leasing (tenant), Patrick Gamble of CBRE; multifamily, Pera of CBRE; retail, John Elkington of Elkington Real Estate Group; and land sales, Jim Rainer of Grubb & Ellis Memphis.

In addition to receiving Broker of the Year in industrial leasing, Murchison was added to the Pinnacle Producer’s Club Life Members.

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916