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Kristofferson retires from CBRE after 41 years

Kraig Kristofferson

Kraig Kristofferson, long-time CBRE senior vice president and commercial broker, will retire Monday after 41 years in the industry and with the same company in San Diego County.

Kristofferson -- who will now divide his time between homes in San Diego and in Maui -- handled $4 billion in sales and leasing transactions throughout his lengthy career.

In downtown San Diego alone, Kristofferson brought in 775 tenants representing 4.9 million square feet.

"That was for $687 million in aggregate rental value," Kristofferson said.

Kristofferson added that he also handled 90 sales of such notable downtown office buildings as One America Plaza, Broadway 655, DiamondView Tower -- where CBRE's downtown offices are located -- and 550 Corporate Center.

Kristofferson, who started his career when Richard Nixon was president, had a front row seat to enormous changes downtown.

"There used to be massage parlors and tattoo shops. Nobody would have believed all the highrise residential and the addition of nine highrise office towers we see now," Kristofferson said.

Kristofferson, who experienced four complete economic cycles, said while this latest recession was deep, the early 1990s might have been more acute.

"When we had all the savings and loan issues … a lot of properties were returned," Kristofferson said.

Kristofferson, who exclusively worked on the landlord side for most of his career, sometimes signed multiple leases by the same tenant on the same property.

Such was the case with the 243,000 square feet the city of San Diego's Purchasing & Contracting Department repeatedly took in the Civic Center Plaza property at 1200 Third Ave. CBRE (NYSE: CBG) still has that contract.

Kristofferson, who said he would like to see more leasing in downtown office buildings, is generally upbeat about his long-time domain's prospects.

"It's exciting to see tenants like Bumble Bee Foods," said Kristofferson, whose CBRE team helped fill the space.

Bumble Bee is in the process of moving into 30,000 square feet in the Showley Brothers Candy Factory building fronting the Park at the Park. The lease is slated to last until March 2019.

Kristofferson said if there is one major disappointment he has about downtown, it is that the community has been unable to lure a Fortune 500 high technology firm.

"If we could lure a tenant [like] Qualcomm, it would go a long way toward filling the space here," Kristofferson added.

Stacy Meronoff, now a Cruzan|Monroe leasing consultant, worked with Kristofferson for nine years at CBRE. He said he was immediately impressed by his encyclopedic knowledge.

"He knows so much and he took a chance on me when I was a 24-year-old guy who didn't know a lot," Meronoff said. "Kraig is best in class."

Brian Walsh of the Walsh Chacon investment firm, who had often competed with Kristofferson during their earlier years, offered similar praise.

"The brokerage business can be a little slippery, but he has never been like that," Walsh said. "I hated losing to him, but later when we worked together on deals he was a very easy guy to work with. He is very smart and a very solid broker."

"He's a force in commercial real estate, and he always put the needs of his clients first," said Lynn LaChapelle, a JLL (NYSE: JLL) capital markets managing director.

Kristofferson, who started his career in January 1973 with no sales experience, leaves his post as one of downtown's most respected brokers.

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