Former MAA veteran wants to use expertise to build a better city

By Patrick Lantrip

James Maclin, former MAA senior vice president and director of corporate support, has started his own multifamily consulting firm. (Daily News/Houston Cofield)

After wrapping up a successful career spanning three decades with an empty nest on the horizon, most people are ready to ride off into the sunset and enjoy a relaxing retirement, but James Maclin was never like most people.

Which is why Maclin, with the blessing of his former employer, local real estate company MAA, decided to launch his own multifamily consulting business, M&M Enterprises, earlier this year.

“I learned a ton from George (Cates), Eric (Bolton), and Tom Grimes,” Maclin said. “I just want to put that to good use, be able to do something special in Memphis, and help as many people as I possibly can.”

The 20-year MAA vet decided this year to branch out on his own after helping the company grow through a pair of recent large mergers, with Atlanta-based Post Properties in 2016 and Colonial Properties in 2013.

While he did consider retirement, Maclin and his wife, Dr. Karol Maclin, eventually decided they would better serve their beloved hometown by starting his own business.

“At the end of the day, my wife and I really have a strong overall goal of being able to give back to the community in ways that we think are important,” he said. “We just think that Memphis is primed for opportunity from both a standpoint of business development and from a community development standpoint. We’re going to be looking at opportunities to expand neighborhoods, remove blight and increase the viability of neighborhoods where we see some opportunity to do so.”

While he and his wife are very active in the nonprofit sector, Maclin said the multifamily development projects he takes on will also have to make economic sense.

“We’re going to do some nonprofit work, but we’re trying to keep the two separate,” he said. “We’ll be volunteering and helping as many organizations as we possibly can, but from a development and possibility standpoint, we’re going to look at those economic opportunities.”

This won’t stop Maclin, who is a former University of Memphis football standout, from giving back to the city he loves the most.

“Coming from Covington, Tennessee, and choosing to go to college here in Memphis, then going to get my MBA from Christian Brothers (University), then working at a local real estate company for 20 years – I think that shows my commitment to Memphis.”

While at U of M, Maclin graduated with honors with an engineering degree, and a litany of athletic awards, all while playing at an elite level for all four years he attended.

“I’m a Memphian, and I think that Memphians just have a brand of working hard and achieving goals,” he said. “You can even see it in our Grizzlies, the grind aspect of it, so I think you’ll get that with me as well.”

Maclin’s mix of talent, hard-work and intelligence is exactly why George Cates, MAA’s founder and former chief executive officer, is enthusiastically recommending him to every prospective client who calls looking for background.

“He’s going to be hungry, that’s for sure, but even on down the line he’ll still be charging at a high rate of speed,” Cates said. “His experience, his integrity and his energy would be why I recommend James to anybody.”

Cates said that he feels like there is a definite need in Memphis for high-quality, progressive property managers like Maclin.

“Property management has become more than just taking in the rents like it was 20 years ago,” he said. “He’s coming out of a great heritage and great experience and will know what to do to run your property very well. I’m just real delighted that he’s going to be in Memphis because Memphis will be a better place because of it.”