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Is it the right time to buy a building for your business? After representing companies in leasing space and buying buildings for the last 22 years, this is the question we asked ourselves with our lease expiring in January 2012. There are three considerations when looking to buy commercial real estate to house your business. The first two are around the strategic fit and risk of buying versus leasing, and the third is financial. These issues of fit are more material than the economic considerations. A company might get a good deal on a piece of real estate, only to find that the entire capital structure of their company, and potential exit opportunities for the business owners and investors, are marred because the financial decision to buy wasn’t a strategic fit.

Most of us grow up being told “there’s no free lunch” – and most of the time that’s true. But occasionally one runs across a company that provides a service that’s akin to a free all-you-can-eat smorgasbord. Hughes Marino is one of those companies. You might see their television commercials featuring their boyish-looking CEO, Jason Hughes, or see their ads in local newspapers, electronic media and even publications such as this one. But what many don’t see is what powers this gift to San Diego businesses: the duo of Hughes and Marino – together in force.

JP Roach has been hired by Hughes Marino as an associate and assistant general counsel. Previously, Roach worked as a law clerk and later as an attorney at several of San Diego’s litigation firms. He is a member of the State Bar of California, the San Diego County Bar Association, the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego and is admitted to practice before the United States District Court, Southern District of California.

Hughes Marino Inc., a commercial real estate company specializing in tenant representation, has acquired Cal Tax Group, a tax credit consulting firm, and added Brendan Foote as senior vice president of Hughes Marino Tax Credit Services, a new division. The new division will be focused on securing tax refunds and savings for businesses and business owners eligible for economic development programs such as the California Enterprise Zone Program.

Back in 1989, when I moved to San Diego to get into the commercial real estate industry, local developers built and owned most of San Diego’s commercial real estate. Names like Oliver McMillin, The Hahn Company and The Koll Company dominated the landscape. Then, the real estate recession of the early-mid 90’s brought much of that to a close, with assets reverting back to lenders through foreclosure, or to the RTC (Resolution Trust Company) through the seizure of much of the Savings and Loan industry. There was no appetite for investors or lenders to put capital into commercial real estate thereafter for many years.

Commercial real estate leasing firm Hughes Marino has established a new Lease Audit Services division to ensure that property owners are charging operating expenses in compliance with their leases. Leading the division is Ed Muna, who has 20 years of experience representing landlords in the management and leasing of commercial space. “For 20 years we have been negotiating leases with the goal of protecting tenants,” said Jason Hughes, company president. “What we found is that, intentional or not, many property owners disregarded many of the protections that were negotiated. The new service allows for a review to ensure compliance with lease terms.”

When a tenant signs a lease, the business owner often adds up the rent payments under the lease and thinks that is the total extent of the obligation. However, there are “Operating Expenses” in every lease that are effectively additional rent to the tenant. These Operating Expenses are the taxes, damage and destruction insurance and common area maintenance expenses that the landlord incurs to maintain the building. In an office lease, these common area maintenance expenses are extensive.

At Hughes Marino, only tenants are represented in their real estate transactions — never landlords — thereby avoiding the typical conflict of interest found with their competitors. Jason Hughes is the driving force behind Hughes Marino which was formed by Hughes and David Marino in January 2011.

San Diego has a highly diversified economy, a primary driver of which is the technology sector and its ongoing creation of new companies and jobs. Over the last 20 years, Sorrento Mesa has developed as the “center of gravity” for San Diego tech companies. With an abundance of cheap office space, free parking, and R&D lab space, Sorrento Mesa had attracted technology companies looking for value and functionality. Over that same time, UTC had become a financial center, also attracting business service companies in real estate, insurance, accounting and law. Those same business service industries have been hard hit by the last two years’ recession, and those sectors won’t be growing for many years to come.

For over a century, commercial real estate brokers have had their familiar “For Lease” signs on buildings, marketing vacant space for building owners. Even deeper in their service offering to landlords, these firms manage the buildings, help with financing, co-invest in the real estate (and often own the real estate themselves) and advise property owners in the purchasing and selling of real estate. Commercial real estate brokerage firms like Jones Lang LaSalle, Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE and Cassidy Turley are the outsourced sales and marketing departments for landlords. The landlord is king, and a brokerage firm’s business is that of the palace guard.

Jason Hughes

jason hughes headshot Jason Hughes is president and CEO of Hughes Marino, as well as a featured columnist for the San Diego Business Journal and past columnist for the San Diego Daily Transcript. Jason has written well over 100 articles, is a real estate resource for the Wall Street Journal, and has been profiled in the San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego Business Journal, San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego Metro, Smart Business San Diego, California Real Estate Journal, and Western Real Estate Business.

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David Marino

david marino headshot David Marino is executive vice president of Hughes Marino, as well as a monthly columnist for the San Diego Metro. Specializing in high-value, time-critical and complex transactions for technology, life science, and business service companies, David has been featured in the San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego Business Journal, Smart Business San Diego, and Western Real Estate Journal.

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Nik Bandak

nik bandak headshot Nik Bandak is project manager for Hughes Marino CM. Nik earned a degree in Financial Services from Saint Mary’s College of California where he graduated with honors. As a project engineer, Nik is knowledgeable in estimating, documentation control, construction scheduling and processes, contract administration, and financial analysis. Prior to joining Hughes Marino, Nik worked for Bechtel International on the Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone in Taweelah, United Arab Emirates, where he monitored and oversaw the daily construction activities and progress of 5,000 field workers in 53 buildings within the Industrial Zone borders.

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Dave Bates

dave bates headshot Dave Bates, Vice President of Hughes Marino CM, has more than 20 years of construction and project management experience in San Diego. He has overseen the construction of several million square feet of projects ranging from typical office space and specialty tenant improvement projects to large-scale new building construction. Dave is LEED accredited and OSHA 30 qualified, and has been named one of San Diego's top project managers several times over the course of his career.

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Robert Bello

robert bello headshot Robert Bello, general counsel for Hughes Marino, is a member of the State bar of California, the Association of Corporate Counsel, and the San Diego County Bar Association. Robert holds degrees in economics and political science from Northwestern University, an M.B.A. from San Diego State University, a J.D. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and is also on the Board of Directors for the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Alumni Association.

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Travis Carter

travis carter headshot Travis Carter, a San Diego native, serves as vice president of Hughes Marino. A licensed real estate broker, Travis specializes in representing legal and accounting firms throughout the UTC, Del Mar Heights, Mission Valley and Downtown markets. Travis, a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University, was honored as one of SD Metro's 40 under 40 recipients in 2011.

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Brendan Foote

brendan foote headshot Brendan Foote is senior vice president of Tax Credit Services for Hughes Marino, which focuses on securing tax refunds and savings for California businesses who are eligible for various economic development programs. With an expertise in such programs as the California Enterprise Zone Program, the Federal Empowerment Zone Program and the LAMBRA Program, Brendan and his team generate substantial tax savings for businesses located in these incentive zones. Brendan is an active member of the Downtown San Diego Partnership and a board member of the East Village Association.

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Heather Fox

heather fox headshot Heather Fox is Controller at Hughes Marino. Heather earned a degree in Accounting from University of Phoenix. As controller, Heather is responsible for accounts receivable and accounts payable, and works closely with the director of finance in all aspects of the firm’s accounting and finances. Prior to joining Hughes Marino, Heather was a senior staff accountant at a public tax and accounting firm for ten years. Heather also assisted with corporate and non-profit compilations, reviews and audits.

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Kirt Gilliland

kirt gilliland headshot Kirt Gilliland, division president of Hughes Marino CM, has over 25 years of construction and project management experience in San Diego, having managed over 6 million square feet of projects valued in excess of $400 million. Among the most notable projects are a 23 story, $70 million affordable housing project at 10th and B Street, and the nationally-recognized, award-winning 45,000 square foot New Children’s Museum.

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Scot Ginsburg

scot ginsburg headshot Scot Ginsburg has been solely focused on exclusively representing tenants and occupiers of commercial space throughout his career. With over 8,000,000 square feet of experience, Scot specializes in high-tech, life science, business service, research and development, and other growth-oriented companies. Scot is a guest columnist for California Real Estate Journal and the San Diego Daily Transcript.

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Steven Gorup

steven gorup headshot Steven Gorup is project manager/LEED AP BD+C for Hughes Marino CM, which is essential for green-building technology implementation. In 2009, Steven obtained the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certificate, a strategy designed to improve quality while simultaneously eliminating cost and administrative excess. Prior to serving as a project engineer on University of San Diego’s LEED Silver-certified, award-winning Student Life Pavilion, Steven earned a degree in Construction Science and Management from Kansas State University.

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Shay Hughes

shay hughes headshot Shay Hughes, chief operating officer, plays a key role in all aspects of the organization, including internal operations, marketing, business strategy, and end-to-end management. A San Diego native, her versatile skills range from designing Hughes Marino’s corporate headquarters, managing the day-to-day operations of the firm, and a strong understanding of the local marketplace and client needs.

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Star Hughes

star hughes headshot Star Hughes is a director at Hughes Marino, the largest tenant representation company in San Diego. A San Diego native, Star specializes in downtown San Diego real estate. Star earned her Masters of Business Administration at University of San Diego, where she was the first and youngest full-time MBA student to complete the two-year program in one year, at the age of twenty-one. Star graduated from University of San Diego with her Bachelor of Business Administration at the age of nineteen after completing her undergraduate degree in two years with a 4.0 overall GPA and highest academic average in the graduating class.

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Tucker Hughes

tucker hughes headshot Tucker Hughes is a director at Hughes Marino where he specializes in tenant representation throughout San Diego. A native San Diegan, Tucker is a member of one of the most experienced and respected commercial real estate teams in San Diego, contributing to his ability to provide the best service to his clients. Tucker graduated from the University of San Diego magna cum laude with his Bachelor of Business Administration and is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Real Estate also from the University of San Diego.

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John Jarvis

john jarvis headshot John Jarvis is senior vice president of Hughes Marino, a past contributor to Smart Business San Diego, and a leader in countless local charitable, professional and civic organizations. A member of Biocom, International Facility Management Association, and Corporate Finance Council, as well as a graduate of LEAD San Diego, John has earned the trust of a loyal clientele by consistently providing thoughtful and creative solutions on high value real estate projects.

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Craig Knox

craig knox headshot Craig Knox is senior vice president of Hughes Marino, where he is an insightful advisor and aggressive advocate for tenants, especially those in the life sciences and technology sectors where his technical background is a key asset. A graduate of Stanford’s M.B.A. and Master of Engineering programs, Craig serves as a board member of the San Diego Venture Group, a chair of CommNexus’ Capital Markets Committee, and is in charge of real estate for the EvoNexus start-up incubator.

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Ashley Lewis

ashley lewis headshot Ashley Lewis, director of marketing, is responsible for brand development and marketing strategy for Hughes Marino. As a graphic designer she creates original marketing pieces and advertisements, in addition to writing for the Hughes Marino blog. Prior to joining Hughes Marino, Ashley ran her own graphic design business, specializing in brand identity, print design, web design and illustration. In a previous life, Ashley was an engineer and naval officer who served on San Diego based ships USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and USS Jarrett (FFG-33).

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Ed Muna

ed muna headshot Ed Muna is senior vice president of Lease Audit Services, providing tenants with a resource to review and audit their landlord charges, ensuring fairness and proper billing by landlords for operating expenses, CAM charges, and property tax expenses. A twenty year veteran of San Diego’s commercial real estate industry, Ed brings a unique perspective having worked as an owner’s representative, asset manager, and property manager in the development, leasing, management and operations of several million square feet. He is currently involved in the Downtown San Diego Partnership and North County Chamber of Commerce.

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Dean Petersen

dean petersen headshot Dean Petersen, senior vice president and LEED AP, has been responsible for the management of over 5 million square feet of construction valued in excess of $225 million throughout his 30 years of construction and project management experience. Having directed a wide range of projects, from ground up historical building remodels, multi-million dollar tenant improvement projects, award-winning residential work/live highrises, hospital facilities, airport terminals and universities, Dean brings a strong knowledge of project cost estimating and control, scheduling, quality control, contract administration, and construction means and methods to his clients.

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Shane Poppen

shane poppen headshot Shane Poppen is a native Southern Californian who specializes in tenant representation in the suburban markets of San Diego County, partnering with companies to make the most of their real estate decisions. His experience includes site selection, strategic planning and needs assessment, financial analysis, negotiation and transaction structuring for lease renewals, relocations and renegotiations. Shane brings persistence, a strong work ethic, dependability, and a results-driven attitude to the Hughes Marino team.

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JP Roach

jp roach headshot JP Roach, Vice President, Healthcare Practice Group, is a licensed California real estate broker, as well as member of the State Bar of California, the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, and the San Diego County Bar Association. A San Diego native, JP combines his business and legal background to produce a unique and effective form of zealous advocacy for his clients. JP’s practice, which is focused on the medical and legal sectors in San Diego County, is a natural extension of his background as an attorney. JP holds an MBA from Point Loma Nazarene University and a JD from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

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Daniel Turek

daniel turek headshot Daniel Turek is an associate of Hughes Marino’s Tax Credit Services (TCS) division. Hughes Marino TCS is focused on securing tax refunds and savings for California businesses that are eligible for various economic development programs. With an expertise in such programs such as the California Enterprise Zone Program, the Federal Empowerment Zone Program, and the LAMBRA Program, Daniel and his team are able to generate substantial tax savings for businesses and business owners located in these incentive zones. Hughes Marino TCS and real estate services pair to create the most comprehensive location analysis in the market.

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