CREW Network Impact Awards: Top Scores

CREW Network’s 2017 Impact Award winners have achieved success in their deals, communities and careers, drawing on creativity, commitment and strong relationships.

By Gail Kalinoski

CREW Network’s 2017 Impact Award winners have achieved success in their deals, communities and careers, drawing on creativity, commitment and strong relationships. Catch the live interview with Tina Renee McCall on CPE’s Facebook page. Interviews with Deborah Bauer, Marie McLucas and Krista Capp will soon be posted to

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Deborah Bauer, Founder, Drake Commercial Group

Deborah Bauer

Deborah Bauer, Founder, Drake Commercial Group

Deborah Bauer began her real estate career in Austin, but it’s San Antonio where she’s made her mark. In 1992, she opened Drake Commercial Group after brokering several deals in the city. A specialist in large land tracts, Bauer is considered the “go to” person in the region to put large retail, office, multifamily and master-planned community deals together.

The founder & president of Drake Commercial Group, Bauer is a true entrepreneur, who has expanded her company from marketing and brokering land to include leasing and marketing of retail and office space, including master-planned and residential communities like the 413-acre mixed-use Cresta Bella and the 1,400-acre master-planned Stevens Ranch. Through the hard work and professionalism of Bauer and her son, Travis, who joined the firm in 1996, Drake Commercial Group is consistently one of San Antonio’s top brokerage firms and can usually lay claim to five to eight of the city’s top 25 commercial real estate deals.

Seeing the potential early on for mixed-use development at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Loop 1604, Bauer has successfully marketed more than 400 acres of this now bustling corridor for the past several years. In 2007, she sold 98 acres there in a deal that became the largest land tract sale in San Antonio that year. She also closed the largest single-tenant lease in several years in September 2016, when USAA selected Vista Corporate Center for its new headquarters location.

Bauer quoteWhen Bauer started her business, she was one of the few women in commercial real estate that focused on large land tracts. Her business has steadily increased over the years, based on referrals from clients that have become her friends. She retains an office in Austin, where her real estate career started, and also has an office in Park City, Utah.

“Her conviction in the beginning, when she started her company, is truly a remarkable story of a struggling single mom who overcame so many obstacles and hurdles to make it,” said Kim Ghez, vice president of business development & escrow officer at Presidio Title, who nominated Bauer for the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

Active in CREW San Antonio, Bauer is considered a leader and mentor. She believes in helping her community, too, together with three other San Antonio business leaders—Trudy Madan, Cathy Amato and Christy Prescott—founding a 501c non-profit group called Women Give Back that donates 100 percent of the money it raises to other non-profit charities.

Career Advancement for Women

Marie McLucas, CFO, Primax Properties LLC

Marie McLucas, CFO, Primax Properties LLC

Marie McLucas, CFO, Primax Properties LLC

Whether at her job as CFO at Primax Properties LLC in Charlotte, N.C., or as an active member of CREW Charlotte, the North Carolina Association of Certified Professional Accountants, the American Cancer Society or the Girl Scouts Hornets Nest Council, Marie McLucas is the quintessential mentor.

As current CREW Charlotte President Jessica Rossi, a planner at Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., put it, “Mentoring is in her blood.”

Others who nominated McLucas for the Career Advancement for Women award said they don’t think she realizes how many women she has helped and encouraged through Primax, CREW Charlotte and her volunteer work. She is described as someone who is passionate about the advancement of women and young professionals in the real estate and construction industries and leads by example. Within the past 12 months, she closed more than $100 million in capital and debt transactions, each one including one or more CREW members, and she leads the chapter in referrals and closed business.

A graduate of North Carolina State University, McLucas is a certified public accountant and certified management accountant. After a seven-year career in public accounting, in 1995 she joined Primax, a national real estate development and investment firm based in Charlotte that has a portfolio of more than 6 million square feet of space and $1 billion in investment value. She oversees Primax’s policies and procedures for all financial functions and is involved in the company’s strategic planning. 

McLucas is the immediate past president of CREW Charlotte and a member of the finance committee for the national CREW Network. She has served as the network delegate and a member of the scholarship selection and audit committees for the national CREW organization and as a CREW Network leadership program mentor. She helped develop a women’s year-round leadership series program in connection with CREW Charlotte, Athena International and KMPG, which began in January 2017.

Along with many accolades she has received from various organizations and publications, CREW Charlotte has honored McLucas numerous times, most recently with the 2016 CREW Charlotte Deal of the Year Award for including Primax Properties, South State Bank, Investors Title, Parker Poe law firm and Carol Fortenberry of Fortenberry Lambert Inc. in a refinancing transaction for the Johnston Allison & Hord building.

McLucas quoteAt Primax, McLucas encourages fellow co-workers to engage in CREW and other real estate industry organizations, and she routinely inspires the younger staff members to participate in real estate organizations. Active in many community organizations, she is also known for helping younger women discover their passions and career paths. Sally Daley, former CEO of the Girl Scouts Hornets Nest Council, notes that McLucas has helped raise significant funds for the group but also was instrumental in creating and executing programming through CREW Careers, which benefits older Girl Scouts exploring potential careers in commercial real estate.

“Her devotion to her work, family and such worthy causes as CREW Network, Girl Scouts and Making Strides for Cancer make her a true leader,” said Wanda Townsend, an attorney and partner at Parker Poe, who credits McLucas for helping her become a successful lawyer because of the relationships developed with several financial institutions over 23 years. “She exemplifies CREW Network’s commitment to women in commercial real estate.”

Member-to-Member Business

Tina Renee McCall, Senior Vice President, Asset Management-East Region, Gemini Rosemont Commercial Real Estate

Tina Renee McCall, Senior Vice President, Asset Management-East Region, Gemini Rosemont Commercial Real Estate

Tina Renee McCall, Senior Vice President, Asset Management-East Region, Gemini Rosemont Commercial Real Estate

When Gemini Rosemont Commercial Real Estate acquired the six-story, 132,000-square-foot SouthCourt office building in Durham, N.C., in late 2016, Tina Renee McCall, a longtime CREW Atlanta member, hired two CREW Network members for key property management and leasing assignments. Following the bidding process, McCall, senior vice president of asset management for the East Region at Gemini Rosemont, awarded the property management and leasing contract to Eve Pilkington, director of property management at Trinity Partners and a CREW Triangle member, and her team. She turned to Kaler Walker, vice president at Lincoln Harris and also a CREW Triangle member, for help in getting a new tenant to lease 4,951 square feet of space and to renew a 4,262-square-foot lease for another tenant.

But that wasn’t unusual for McCall, who understands the age-old real estate art of drawing on relationships to access specific expertise. “Whenever possible, Tina Renee works to identify CREW members to take part in the bidding process for new projects. She always makes use of her CREW connections and also CREW Biz when she is looking for contacts in other markets,” said Dawn Richwine, vice president & asset manager at Trimont Real Estate Advisors and a CREW Atlanta member, who nominated McCall for the Member-to-Member Business award.

A leasing contract for two buildings totaling 201,548 square feet in Peachtree Corners, Ga., went to CREW Atlanta colleague Heather Lamb, first vice president for advisory & transaction services at CBRE. Denise Meng, owner of Signarama, delivered three property monument signs for office buildings in Peachtree Corners.

McCall quoteWhen looking for a firm to do a 1,720-square-foot tenant fit-out for a Johns Creek, Ga., office building, McCall called on Deanna Novarro-Ek, president of Turnkey Construction Roofing, and she reached out to Megan Pawlowski, senior vice president & national director at JLL and a CREW Northern Virginia member, and her team when Gemini Rosemont was awarding a property management contract at Dulles View, a 356,000-square-foot office building in Herndon, Va.

And that doesn’t even include all the CREW members McCall has encouraged to bid for many of these assignments. A member of CREW Atlanta since 2006, McCall has served in many leadership positions, including currently as president-elect and chapter delegate.

Before joining Gemini Rosemont, a fully integrated real estate platform that invests in high-quality office properties throughout the United States, McCall was vice president of asset management at Columbia Property Trust and Wells Real Estate Funds and an asset manager at CapMark Services.

Economic and Community Improvement

Tamara Knapp, COO & Krista Capp, VP of Property Management, Bedrock Detroit LLC

Krista Capp, VP of Property Management, Bedrock Detroit LLC

Krista Capp, VP of Property Management, Bedrock Detroit LLC

Few companies are more synonymous with Detroit’s reemergence than Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Detroit LLC. Two of its executives made further strides when they helped media giant Gannett Co. move to a state-of-the-art headquarters in the long-vacant Federal Reserve building and renovated its former home for new office occupants, along with a café and market that fill a need not only for locally based employees but the public as well.

The combined project is estimated to have a potential future economic impact of more than $200.3 million initially and $194.5 million annually in Detroit.

This latest success story for downtown Detroit—a city only a few years out of bankruptcy that is being transformed with new office, residential, retail and other commercial real estate projects—was driven in large part by CREW Detroit members Tamara Knapp, COO of Bedrock, and Krista Capp, its vice president of property management. Bedrock—a full-service real estate firm specializing in acquiring, leasing, financing and managing commercial space in urban cores—was co-founded in January 2010 by Quicken Loans founder & chairman Dan Gilbert. Since then, Bedrock and its affiliates have invested more than $5.6 billion in acquiring and developing over 100 commercial properties comprising some 16 million square feet in downtown Detroit. In late September, Gilbert announced four new projects that are expected to cost $2.1 billion to develop and bring millions more square feet of CRE offerings to the city.

Tamara Knapp, COO, Bedrock Detroit LLC

Tamara Knapp, COO, Bedrock Detroit LLC

Knapp, who has been with Bedrock nearly seven years, and Capp, an executive there for more than two years, played key roles in keeping Gannett, which owns both the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press newspapers, in the city in a newly restored building and renovating its former location, 615 W. Lafayette, into an office building that’s fully occupied with new tenants.

In 2014, Gannett decided to leave its headquarters at 615 W. Lafayette, a former printing plant built in 1917 that has been modified over the years but wasn’t conducive to the newspapers’ current digital needs. Knapp, who has more than 20 years of experience in senior management positions in real estate development and property management, worked with Bedrock co-founder, CEO & managing partner Jim Ketai to search for appropriate sites for the media company.

Capp, who has more than 25 years in real estate management and development, reviewed and implemented a range of incentives that ensured Gannett remained a key employer in the city. She also worked to secure new tenants for both buildings.

Two years earlier, Bedrock had bought the former Federal Reserve building, which had been vacant for many years after the Fed had moved to a new location, and fully restored the historic property at 160 W. Fort St. into a contemporary, open-template office space. For Gannett, the move not only meant getting a state-of-the-art building that was perfect for its office and technology needs, it also put the newspaper’s employees in the city’s revitalizing CBD and added community spaces in front of the building and an activated alley space.

Knapp and Capp quoteMeanwhile, Bedrock began a total renovation of the 615 W. Lafayette building, which is now fully occupied with tenants such as Molina Healthcare and a Quicken Loans training center used by 15,000 employees. It also features the Press Room Café and Market, serving pizza and pasta from nationally renowned chief Fabio Viviani, as well as  a coffee bar. In so doing, Bedrock enlivened a large two-block area that had previously been cut off from the CBD, with virtually no amenities for tenants or the public.

Knapp oversees Bedrock’s 90-plus commercial and residential properties totaling more than 15 million square feet in downtown Detroit and Cleveland. DBusiness magazine recognized her in 2013 as one of Detroit’s top female business leaders with its “Powered by Women” award.

Capp, who joined Bedrock after more than 10 years at Hubbell Realty Co., where she was a senior vice president, has been a past president of Institute of Real Estate Management Chapter 63 and of BOMA Central Iowa. She is also a board member for the Heat and Warmth Fund.

Originally appearing in the November 2017 issue of CPE.

You May Also Like

The latest CRE news, delivered every morning.

Most Recent