Lynn Reich’s real estate brokerage career began in 1979. Prior to that, while finishing college, she was working at Arthur Rubloff & Co. for the industrial department—which was one of the biggest firms at that time. Reich’s mentor, Joseph Dillon, who ran the industrial group, was the reason that she ultimately decided to embark upon a brokerage career when he left there and started his own firm.
“Although I had begun a career in public accounting, the lure of the “deal”, the risk, the rewards, were too much to pass up,” said Reich, SIOR, CCIM, and Executive Vice President of Logistics & Transportation Solutions at Colliers International Chicago office. “When he opened his doors, I joined him. Because of him, I am 35 years in the real estate business.”
Reich says every day is something different, challenging, and solutions oriented—which is another reason as to why she’s remained in the industry.
“The industry is continually evolving as service providers are called upon to provide so much more than 30 years ago,” she said. “Aligning resources with customer needs keeps it real. The industry relationships are also a big part of why industrial real estate is unique in many respects. Although there are competitors aplenty, many of us are friends and can figure out how to work with each other and still have some fun.
So what sets Colliers International apart from the rest? Reich says the company’s distinguished due to being established by local experts and business owners, or through partnerships with top-tier companies in the local market.
“That’s why we emphasize our depth of local knowledge and specialization in each of our 485 offices. This expertise is unmatched. Also our people are our core competitive advantage; we attract and retain seasoned talent for personal roles, specialization, and compensation (meaning we pay for specialized expertise), our platform, offer local market expertise, clear accountability, and integrated services. Colliers International is more than a brokerage firm—we also provide property and project management services, valuation and advisory, corporate solutions, hospitality research and consulting and more. “
Reich continued, “Colliers Chicago is owned by 27 principals and employs more than 275 people in its two Chicago offices, including a staff of 125 property management professionals and 90 brokers. Our highlights from 2013 include completing nearly 1,100 transactions with a total value of $2.5 billion, completed transactions totaling 89 million square feet, winner of Industrial Broker of the Year Award at Commercial Real Estate Awards Dinner Benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository, completing six of the 10 largest industrial transactions of the year, completing five of the 15 largest suburban office transactions of the year, increasing our property management portfolio to more than 42 million square feet, and adding seniors housing investment brokerage as a core service offering.
“Colliers Chicago has 19 SIOR designees, more than any competitor,” she added. “The firm recently reached #3 on the Midwest Real Estate News’ Best of the Best | Top Brokers List.”
One of her most memorable deals happened in the mid 1990’s, where a client basically took her national as they expanded their footprint.
“For almost three years, we worked on a number of sites in three states to construct a 1,000,000 sq. ft. distribution center,” Reich said. “The thought of doing something of this magnitude was sometimes overwhelming and certainly all consuming. Many times it was delayed, revised, and restarted, until finally the ink was dry on the lease and construction began. I recall taking a golf cart from one end to the other, 1,700 feet, where the NASCAR style flag was planted by the contractor showing the end. What an experience to see it go from dirt to all those dock doors. It’s a beautiful site.”
So what’s the biggest lesson Reich has learned working in industrial real estate? After 35 years, she has a few!
“First, if you don’t know, don’t make it up. Secondly, do what you say you’ll do. Third, there are always surprises no matter how much you prepare. Fourth, there is no limit to opportunity, only in your mind. Finally, treat clients the same whether the fee is large or small.”
Reich likes to help when she can, that is why she’s involved with the Goldie B. Wolfe Women Leaders in Real Estate program at Roosevelt University as a mentor. Besides that, when Reich isn’t working, she enjoys all things with travel and photography.
“The two actually work hand in hand,” she said. “Both pastimes create memories that are priceless, highlighting some of the most amazing places and people in my life. Sports – all things Chicago, White Sox, Blackhawks, Bears and Bulls (note the absence of Cubs!) Music – concerts, as many as my husband and I can get to. The baby boomer band resurgence is so great, as we actually know all the words.”
One thing she’d like to do, that she hasn’t already in her lifetime? “Visit the balance of the largest national parks – it is amazing to see these wonders and understand that President Theodore Roosevelt passed the legislation allowing Presidents to create national landmarks on federal lands.”
An interesting fact about herself? “I’m lucky to have a hole-in-one in my life.”
Her favorite movie? “Don’t laugh, but it’s Dirty Dancing! How great is Patrick Swayze in one of the all time best movie quotes, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”. Also, my husband and I did our own dance on our 25th wedding anniversary to I’ve Had the Time of my Life from that movie.”
Favorite musician? “Music has always been one of the joys of life for me. A favorite musician is a tough call, but Elton John, the Eagles, Elvis, Rolling Stones and Beatles just have to be in the top five all time for me.”
What’s happening right now in Chicago that makes her hopeful?
“My hope is that Chicago and Illinois will put aside the political bickering, and provide the residents with a plan to increase business development, and make the state more attractive creating much needed jobs.”
“This is something that needs to occur in order for our state to compete with others,” Reich continued. “We have it all—infrastructure, educational institutions, restaurants, museums, lakefront, entrepreneurs who are creating new companies and the list goes on. The resources are here along with talent that can turn around the state. Chicago is one of the world’s greatest cities as evidenced by the recent 87% hotel occupancy statistic.”