The Business of Meetings – Episode 170 – Why Is South Florida Commercial Real Estate Market So Different? with Danet Linares
We are delighted to be speaking with Danet Linares today!
Danet is a powerhouse in the commercial real estate world and an influential leader in championing women’s empowerment!
As the Executive Vice-President of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, based in the vibrant state of Florida, Danet brings an impressive track record of 25 years in the industry! Her impact also extends far beyond her professional success. She is President of the International Women’s Forum and has dedicated herself to breaking barriers and creating opportunities for women around the globe.
Join us as we dive into Danet’s captivating, inspiring, and empowering journey!
Danet Linares is Executive Vice-Chairman of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, Inc., the leading independently-owned commercial real estate firm in Florida, and has more than 25 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry.
On behalf of the firm, Ms. Linares leads the leasing of several significant office projects such as MiamiCentral, 1450 Brickell, The Plaza Coral Gables, 396 Alhambra, The Main Las Olas, Royal Palm Office Park, and others. She is an integral part of the Blanca CRE team and has been involved in several of South Florida’s largest real estate transactions, including the Miami Herald’s relocation to Doral, and has served as a real estate advisor to notable companies, including Blockchain.com, Knight Foundation, Miami Foundation, White & Case, Lydecker Diaz, Aterian Investment Partners, Endeavor Miami, and NovoPayment. Since joining the firm, Danet has played a key role in the strategy development and leasing of more than 7 million square feet of office lease transactions throughout South Florida on behalf of owners and users of commercial real estate.
Before joining Blanca Commercial Real Estate, Ms. Linares served as Senior Vice-President at Foram Group. She served as Vice-President for Blue Capital, where she led the leasing and marketing strategy for Miami Tower and successfully brought the building from 74% to 97% occupancy within four years. Before that, Ms. Linares held the position of Senior Leasing Manager at Shorenstein, where she managed leasing and marketing for Southeast Financial Center, the tallest office tower in the state of Florida with over 1.2M square feet of office space, and increased the occupancy to 97%.
Ms. Linares attended St. John’s University in New York.
She is an active leader in the South Florida community and fluent in Spanish and English.
Danet Linares’s remarkable journey traces back to her Cuban roots and the courage of her parents, who fled Castro’s regime in the late 1960s. Sponsored by Danet’s aunt, her parents settled in New York City. Despite the bitter cold of December 1966, they embraced their challenges head-on. Her father tirelessly worked three jobs to support his family, while her mother, with a growing belly, sewed in a nearby clothing factory. Danet inherited her parents’ unwavering work ethic, learning from their example right from the beginning. Their resilience and determination shaped the trajectory of her life, instilling in her a deep appreciation for hard work and setting the stage for her future accomplishments.
Doing whatever it takes to succeed
Danet emphasizes the importance of doing whatever it takes to succeed, even when starting at the bottom. Her journey in commercial real estate began when she found a job as a secretary in downtown Miami’s Southeast Financial Centre, the largest office building in the state. With determination and willingness to learn, she seized an opportunity to work exclusively with the leasing agent when a significant portion of the building became available. She obtained her real estate license and devoted herself 24/7 to the job, earning the respect of the brokers’ community and tenants through her integrity, hard work, and expert negotiations. While her focus was on achieving results rather than seeking credit, starting from a lower position enabled her to gain a comprehensive understanding of building management and the intricacies that shape lease negotiations. This knowledge empowered her to make informed decisions for the benefit of both the landlord and the tenants, earning her a reputation as a trusted and capable professional.
Danet had the privilege of being mentored by a leasing director who recognized the underrepresentation of women in commercial real estate. He encouraged her to identify inspiring figures in the field, leading her to admire Tere Blanca. Danet now works alongside Tere as her partner at Blanca Commercial Real Estate, marking a fulfilling full-circle moment.
Blanca Commercial Real Estate
Blanca Commercial Real Estate is proudly women/minority-owned and stands as the foremost independently owned commercial real estate company in Florida. Competing with global brands, they have consistently secured over 30% market share for the past six to seven years, solidifying their position as a formidable presence in South Florida.
The International Women’s Forum
The International Women’s Forum (IWF) is a prestigious and exclusive network organization comprising over 7,500 exceptional women leaders from 33 countries and 74 local forums. It was established to create a space where women could support and inspire each other’s successes. Founded in 1974 in New York, the organization was born out of the need for a platform that provided professional and personal support to women breaking glass ceilings and achieving significant milestones. It has a diverse membership, including Presidents, Prime Ministers, astronauts, philosophers, and professionals from various industries worldwide. The IWF believes that diversity is its strength in all aspects, fostering a sense of unity among its members and enabling them to thrive collectively.
The pandemic opened the floodgates in South Florida
The floodgates opened in South Florida during the pandemic as people’s perspectives and behaviors shifted. Initially, there were concerns about the worldwide impact of the lockdown and the transition to remote work. However, the situation led many executives and professionals to realize they owned vacation or winter homes in South Florida. They started migrating to the region, knowing that they could work from anywhere as long as they had a stable Internet connection and access to communication tools like Zoom, Teams, and Google Meet.
South Florida is experiencing significant growth
South Florida is experiencing significant growth and remains an attractive market, despite the ongoing trend of working remotely. Many corporations in the South Florida region have downsized their office spaces, leading to available vacancies, which have been absorbed quickly by numerous new companies entering the market. High-quality office spaces, particularly Class A properties, have an impressively low vacancy rate of less than 10%.
South Florida has the advantage of being positioned as a direct connection to Latin America, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe.
The advice Danet would give to her younger self:
- Be proactive in seeking opportunities because they can lead to career advancement.
- Work hard and maintain your integrity to build trust with others.
- Be honest and transparent because people like to work with those they can trust.
- Never give up and follow your gut instincts.
- Be nimble and be ready to change course when necessary.
- Do not get stuck in your ways.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Always be willing to take on new challenges and find solutions.
The uncertain future of commercial real estate
Changing interest rates have led to some uncertainty regarding the future of commercial real estate. Despite those concerns, Danet is optimistic and believes the situation may not become as dire as some anticipate. She advises people to make the most of the situation until 2025 because credit markets may improve significantly by then and banks prefer finding solutions to make things work instead of repossessing buildings.
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Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg