LOS ANGELES—Jamison Properties is stepping outfrom behind the curtain. The real estate investor, one of theequity partners behind the Circa mixed-usedevelopment in Downtown Los Angeles, has traditionally kept alow-profile, but with new leadership, the firm is now talking moreabout its business strategy and its future plans, including atransition into multifamily and its recent investment in Koreatown.To find out about the company and its strategic goals and plans, wesat down with Jaime Lee, CEO of JamisonProperties, for an exclusive interview. Here, she gives us aninsider look at the company and the market fluctuations behindtheir investment strategy.

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GlobeSt.com: Tell me about the company and yourstrategy?

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Jaime Lee: Jamison is a privately heldreal estate firm founded by my father Dr. David Lee. Our businessmodel focuses on the acquisition, management and long term hold ofcommercial real estate properties in Southern California, Nevadaand Texas. We currently manage a portfolio of approximately 17million square feet of commercial office properties with asignificant percentage of our holdings located in the Downtown andMid-Wilshire submarkets of Los Angeles. We are in the midst of amultimillion-dollar capital improvement program to refresh andreposition our existing portfolio to meet the demands of a newgeneration of office users. Beyond commercial acquisition andmanagement, we are also launching into residential development andcurrently have 21 projects totaling 6,700 units in the pipeline. Aspart of our multifamily initiative, we are partnering with HankeyInvestment Company in the development of Circa, a luxury, 648-unitapartment project across the street from the Staples Center.

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GlobeSt.com: In the past, the company has kept a lowprofile. What has changed?

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Lee: The biggest change is that thenext generation of leadership is taking on more responsibility andsees the value in engaging with the real estate community. Whileour father is still actively involved in the day-to-day business,my brothers and I each run one of the three branches of the firm.These growing leadership roles come with an increased focus ontechnology, outreach, and significant reinvestment in our peopleand programs.

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GlobeSt.com: You are planning to make a majorcapital investment in Downtown Los Angeles and Koreatown. What isyour interest in these two submarkets, and what characteristics dothey have that are attractive to the firm?

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Lee: We are the largest commerciallandlord in the Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown submarket, so we have alwaysbeen heavily invested and interested in this neighborhood. It isone of the densest and most diverse areas in the entire country,which is its great strength. The variety of restaurants, cultures,and nightlife is immense, and the public transportationinfrastructure and affordability have made it a very attractiveplace to live and work. In recent years we have seen phenomenalgrowth in the interest in the neighborhood from entrepreneurs,entertainment groups, retailers, residents, and even institutionalinvestors. Downtown also has a similar and more well knownrenaissance story. We currently own about 4 million square feet ofcommercial space in downtown and are encouraged by the surge inmultifamily development that will bring up to 20,000 new units tothe area.

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GlobeSt.com: You are also planning to transitioninto multifamily. What is the impetus for thatdecision?

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Lee: Los Angeles needs more housing.Our transition to multifamily does not in any way indicate a shiftaway from our focus on our commercial holdings; instead, we areaugmenting the products we can offer in response to rapidlyincreasing demand. About 96% of the residents in Mid-Wilshire arerenters, and the average occupancy of the residential properties inthe area is about 95%. Rents are also increasing as new residentsfrom other parts of LA see the value in living in a 24/7live/work/play environment in the heart of the city. Institutionalinvestment is bringing new attention to the neighborhood as well.All of these factors drive this growing part of our business. Whilewe are converting some existing office buildings to residential,two-thirds of our projects are ground-up development.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.