NAIOP San Diego Chapter

NAIOP’s shining glory for 2014 was its battle against increased linkage fees in San Diego, said the commercial real estate and development association’s leaders.

“NAIOP strongly supports affordable housing. We just feel it is a societal issue that deserves a broad, global solution, not one that disproportionately burdens the commercial real estate industry that creates so many good jobs,” said 2014 president Tom Turner, a managing partner at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP. “Our effort spurred the approval of a referendum that ultimately resulted in the adoption of a much more fair and reasonable set of fees. We were able to effectively spearhead a unique coalition that proved to be remarkably effective.”

Calling linkage fees the “single largest tax increase ever levied against the commercial real estate industry,” Karen Burges, NAIOP executive director for 25 years, said the organization teamed up with San Diego JOBS Coalition to launch a referendum campaign that collected 53,000 signatures, urging the City Council to reverse its previous decision for an increase.

NAIOP negotiated a compromise, approved by the city this year, that incrementally increased the linkage fee – which helps to fund affordable housing – and offered exemptions, Burges said.

“The campaign showed the true impact NAIOP can have on the political landscape and massively heightened NAIOP’s profile amongst elected officials and business leaders,” Burges said.

NAIOP San Diego offers networking opportunities, legislative representation and educational programs to its 600 members. The organization is still growing, said Burges, who started in her role when there were just 60 members, and it now represents a “who’s who” in the commercial/industrial real estate sector.

The past few years, NAIOP has paid close attention to members under the age of 35 through its developing leader program, which includes one-on-one mentoring with experienced professionals. “There was nothing like that when I was first starting out,” Burges said.

Both leaders are proud of the organization’s commitment to giving back to the community, particularly for its adopted battalion, the Marine Corps Special Operations Battalion at Camp Pendleton.

Programming for members includes well-known market snapshots, which are breakfast panel events centered on a market segment.

NAIOP also offers scholarships to students at UCSD, SDSU and USD, assists with the schools’ real estate groups, and it has a $10,000 endowment with USD.

“NAIOP was firing on all cylinders in 2014, Turner said, with 2015 projected to see more of the same, with NAIOP “continuing to be a leading force in the commercial real estate industry and providing the buildings where San Diegans work, shop and thrive.”

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