NewMark Merrill Elevates 10-Year Veteran to Director of Leasing and Development
Greg Giacopuzzi, who joined NewMark Merrill Cos. a decade ago, has continued his rise at a firm that owns or manages more than 85 shopping centers.
Giacopuzzi recently was promoted to director of leasing and development at the Woodland Hills, California-based firm. Now, in addition to being responsible for leasing the shopping centers in NewMark Merrill’s portfolio, he will work on new projects and identify development and acquisition opportunities in Ventura County, Los Angeles County, Orange County and across California’s Inland Empire.
He joined NewMark Merrill in 2011 and has served as a senior leasing associate and leasing director. He oversaw leasing of Rialto Marketplace, a new development east of Los Angeles County in Rialto, California, and leasing for more than 30 shopping centers in the firm’s portfolio.
After having the luxury of working most of his tenure during a period of steady economic expansion across the United States, Giacopuzzi takes over as director of leasing and development as the country recovers from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The global health crisis hit retail real estate and its owners particularly hard as many shops were forced to close or scale back operations to help slow the spread of the virus.
Giacopuzzi said signs of a recovery already are sprouting for more retail categories.
“We are seeing positive growth in almost all areas, with some of the suburbs waking up with the new influx of homeowners and people who fled the cities during the height of the pandemic,” he said in an email. “The Inland Empire continues to be a hotbed for new development and retailer expansion as white-hot housing prices are driving more residential construction in these areas and thus more future growth. This in turn has given retailers and restaurateurs more confidence to expand in these areas.”
Giacopuzzi said retail categories such as grocery stores and drive-thru restaurants that performed well during the early days of the pandemic continue to expand aggressively, but they’re not the only ones.
“We are seeing more demand across other segments that were hit hard as well,” he said. “We have backfilled almost all restaurant spaces which came available during the pandemic, and are seeing restaurant expansion continuing at an aggressive rate.”
However, for certain retail categories, recovery will be tougher, he said.
“There will be a slower recovery for movie theaters as they assess what kind of damage has been done to their industry by the pandemic trend of direct-to-streaming releases of many major studio blockbusters, and certain food categories like sit-down restaurants and buffets will likely take longer to come back, but overall we are really seeing unprecedented demand for growth among the majority of categories,” Giacopuzzi said.
Giacopuzzi grew up in the Lake Arrowhead area of San Bernardino County, California, which he described as “a scenic, quiet, and decidedly sheltered community.” He hadn’t considered a career in commercial real estate until a family friend recommended he look into the profession and interview with potential employers in the field.
“The first interview I was able to get was at NewMark Merrill Companies with Darren Bovard and Brad Pearl, and they were kind enough to take a chance on me,” Giacopuzzi said. “I have loved the industry since day one — the nature of the business is that you create friendships within the industry and then you get to work with those friends over and over again throughout your career. What could be better?”