Justin Schultz

Top Retail Producer Award Winner

Retail bounced back in a big way in 2021 and no one performed better than CBRE’s Justin Schultz and his LA-based tenant-rep account team.

Last year, his team completed 124 transactions in 92 cities for a total consideration of $1.2 billion. These transactions led to $68 million in negotiated savings for their clients. 

“A lot of deals were held up in 2020, but they stayed alive, and we saw significant closings last year,” said Schultz. “Everyone on my team had their best year. My success is anchored by how well the team works and I’m very fortunate to have such amazing partners.”

The team consists of Dan Estes, Laura Parker, Rachel Famous, Megan Riggle, Will Krisztal, and Casey Metcalf.
 Together, they work with major retailers and corporate occupiers such as Nike, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Netflix, Shake Shack and Footlocker, to name a few, across the spectrum on portfolio account work.

With this approach, Schultz works with his clients beyond retail deals, often leading them in office and industrial pursuits as well. The latter played a large part in his team’s activity in 2021 as retailers struggled with supply chain challenges.

“We had a lot of retail clients that needed warehouse space last year. 
We played a role in a lot of those transactions.”

Schultz was exposed to commercial real estate at a young age. Born and raised in the Detroit area, his family owned a small commercial building in the suburb of Birmingham. Every weekend, his father made him clean the property.

 “It was full of a lot of funky shops and alternative retailers. It could be rough to clean, but it gave me an understanding of property management at a young age.”

He put this into practice out of college when he took an asset management role with International Airport Centers (IAC), a Birmingham, MI-based developer that built flex-industrial properties.

He left for a brief stint on Wall Street but decided that real estate was his true calling and went back to IAC. He was then given his first leasing assignment, a property in Charlotte, NC that was struggling. It was only 30 percent leased when he arrived. He built up a small team and within a few years, they leased up the property and it was sold to a major industrial REIT. This activity gave him exposure to the broader world of commercial brokerage.

“In that role, I would work with big companies like FedEx and UPS. They had master brokers who would handle their deals all over the country. The lightbulb went off for me. I thought, how do you get that job?”

He then spent time building a development firm, Cargo Ventures, but eventually decided to make a go of brokerage. He moved out to Los Angeles without any business, joined CBRE, and started prospecting. One of his first targets was Nike, a firm he had built a relationship with at Cargo Ventures.

“I got into CBRE and learned the platform really well and then I built my career around leveraging this platform to benefit my clients. When I was able to see Nike’s portfolio, I identified areas where CBRE could provide more services to them that were very low-risk and offered a high reward. It’s all about adding value to their portfolio.”

This approach not only adds value to his clients, but to a large swath of CBRE as well. When Schultz’s clients need transactions across the country, he turns to the CBRE network.

“We are fortunate to have so many great relationships at CBRE. Last year alone, we leveraged almost 60 different local brokers across the globe to assist with our clients’ transactions. We want to be a net outsourcer of business.”

With more than 20 years in the business, Schultz continues to bring the same approach to his clients and advises new brokers on the importance of long-term planning.

“Build a strong business plan every year. However, don’t just then put it in a drawer, pull it out at the end of the year and grade yourself. You must update your plan and monitor it throughout the year. Not everything will work, and you have to be flexible as the year progresses.”

When not at work, he can be found chasing his two kids around or in the mountains, skiing and climbing. This year, he plans to scale Mt Rainier for a second time with a CBRE colleague.

 “Justin has proven to be a consummate professional and one of CBRE’s best team players,” said Bill Wright, senior managing director and Retail Leader for CBRE. “His efforts for his clients have created so many opportunities for others across CBRE, whether it be sales professionals or platform partners. It’s no surprise that he has reached such high levels of success.”