We sat down with the newest member of our team, Markell Blount, who will be focused on the Cambridge/Life Science market in his new role at NAI Hunneman. With more than 15 years of experience in software management consulting under his belt, Markell made the move to commercial real estate a few years ago and is eager to be a part of our entrepreneurial team and make his mark in the life sciences market.
Q: What brought you to the NAI Hunneman team?
Markell Blount: When I made the switch to the commercial real estate industry I spent a lot of time doing some homework on what type of firm I wanted to work for. The entrepreneurial spirit of NAI Hunneman is one of the main things that attracted me to the company, as well as its history in the industry and the strong leadership headed up by CEO David Slye. He has the company headed in an exciting direction, and I am grateful to be on board.
Q: It’s only been a few weeks since you’ve joined, but what have you been focused on so far?
MB: I have spent time in Cambridge getting the lay of the land, as well as connecting with clients and other contacts in the market. At the same time, I am working to learn more about the new areas that I cover, including some properties in the suburban market.
Q: What is one thing you learned in your previous roles that you’ve brought to the NAI Hunneman team?
MB: I actually started my career in the software management and consulting industry where I worked for fifteen years, which gave me entrepreneurial and leadership experience that I bring to my team here at NAI Hunneman. I had always wanted to work in real estate, but it is a hard industry to break into when you’re older so it was a tough fight to get into the business. I have experience in the life sciences space from my previous position at Cushman & Wakefield and I am also bringing my expertise in branding and positioning to the team.
Q: You’re also a former Boston College Eagle and football player. How has your experience as an athlete helped you in the real estate industry?
MB: Any athletic sport correlates to what we do in the real estate industry. Playing football has taught me to work hard, prepare and to make no excuses. That mentality from sports carries over well to real estate, and it helps me look at how to make myself better each day. I think athletics plays right into being a broker because it teaches you how to work as a team, strategize and become a leader.
Q: What trends are you seeing and what are your predictions for the next 12 months in the market?
MB: I have been seeing a continuous cross-migration in the Cambridge market, where small companies are being priced out and larger companies are moving in. There’s virtually no space available in Cambridge, so many of these smaller companies are looking for space in the nearby suburbs like Waltham and Lexington, and some are even heading west to the Worcester area. The current pricing and lack of availability in neighborhoods like Kendall Square and West Cambridge is leading this cross-migration, and I predict that this will continue in the coming year. This means that suburban locations vying for these tenants will need to have walkable amenities in order to successfully entice these companies that are used to the convenience of the city.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at NAI Hunneman?
MB: Right now, I’m looking forward to gaining market share in the life sciences industry. I think this industry is an exciting place to be right now, with a lot of robust growth. Moving forward, I want to help the team figure out how we can continue to add value in the market and help grow the life sciences practice at NAI Hunneman. As a local guy who fought to get into the real estate industry, I know an entrepreneurial and expanding firm like NAI Hunneman is a great fit for me.