Q&A with Monetha Cobb, Managing Director, Franklin Street of Atlanta

Where did you start your real estate career? 
I “unofficially” started my career in the conference room of the original New Market office when I was just 13 years old.  While I was in middle school, I would come to the “big city” from my small, rural Georgia town and spend several weeks with my sister who was a lease administrator at New Market.  She would take me to work with her and I would do anything/everything from labeling marketing flyers to collating construction documents and assembling marketing packages.

Name one person that has been influential in your career. 
My mother has been the most influential person in my career.  I didn’t realize her impact until much later in life, but she was a loving mother of six, a successful entrepreneur with multiple businesses, an excellent homemaker and an active member in our community.  She did it all—an amazing role model.

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?  My biggest accomplishment to date is growing a Retail Tenant Representation division from scratch for Franklin Street.  Within eight years, we’ve grown from 10 retailer clients to more than 50 who are served by a committed team of 15 professionals in five different offices throughout the Southeast.  The best part is that we are still growing and have unlimited potential.

What tools or resources do you engage to help you grow as a professional?  CREW Atlanta has been a tremendous resource for my professional growth.  From the leadership program to networking and committee leadership to board positions, CREW offers so many growth opportunities.  It has enhanced my passion and sharpened my skills as a “connector”.  I have met so many new people and really enjoy connecting them to others within my network.

How did you land at Franklin Street?
  A personal friend, Mac McCall, opened the Atlanta office for Franklin Street and invited me to launch a retail tenant rep division and join him for a great adventure of growing a national commercial real estate firm.

What is Franklin Street’s primary business focus? Franklin Street has multiple business lines to serve the needs of our broad spectrum of real estate clients.  Our business lines include:  Retail Tenant Services, Landlord Services, Capital, Insurance, Property Management, Project Management and Investment Sales.

Describe your job.  My primary day-to-day responsibilities include overseeing Franklin Street’s Retail Tenant Services (RTS) division, which consists of producers in five different offices.  I also lead the Atlanta RTS team and sit on the Franklin Street Board of Directors.

Share a bit of insight into the company’s culture.  Our leadership team has worked very hard to cultivate an open-door environment that encourages collaboration across all service lines and offices. Collaboration, Integrity, Hard Work and Accountability are the founding core values that the firm was built upon, and they are still the values we operate by each day.

Franklin Street has grown steadily over the past several years and has hired several new associates.  What characteristics do you look for in a potential employee?  We look for people who are enthusiastic about being a part of collaborative company that has a very ambitious growth strategy.  At every level of the organization, we need proactive thinkers and problem solvers who are willing to pitch-in when other team members need support.

What is on the firm’s horizon in 2018?  My division, Retail Tenant Services, just rolled-out an initiative called “Retailer 360,” which is targeted exclusively to retail occupiers who are in a growth mode.  Our goal is to serve as a de-facto real estate department for these companies so they can focus on their core business. 

Are you currently looking for talent?
  If so, what position & what skills are important for that position?  We are always looking for top talent.  Currently, we are seeking quality producers in various departments throughout the company.  Once those producers are engaged, we’ll need strong support staff as well.

Do you conduct most interviews in person or over the phone or video?  What do you look/listen for during the interview? We conduct first interviews on the phone and then follow-up with an in-person interview.  I expect a candidate to research our firm and ask relevant, company-specific questions.

Do you review social media profiles of candidates?  If so, have you ever ruled out a candidate based on their online profile?  Yes and yes.

What advice would you give someone who is just entering the CRE industry? I would advise a person new to retail real estate to meet with lots of people in a variety of disciplines in our industry.

What general comments can you say about the talent within the CRE industry? Recently, I’ve seen a large influx of people ranging from 22-32-years old who appear to be hungry for deal-making. CRE is attracting quality talent right now.

How does Poline Associates support your talent needs?  Poline knows the shopping center industry and has taken the time to understand our business and our culture so they can accommodate our specific needs.  They are incredibly well-connected within the retail arena so they know how and when to connect with our ideal candidate.

How do you spend your free time? 
Enjoying life with my family.  Traveling and playing golf.
Favorite restaurant? Miller Union
Favorite drink?  Margaritas, although I don’t drink them often enough!
Best vacation you have ever taken? My 40th birthday trip was amazing!  Argentina with girlfriends and Uruguay with my husband.
What keeps you up at night?  My dogs, furr real….
Where is once place you’d like to go, but have never been?  Peru

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The New Closers: The Rising Star Of Franklin Street’s Leigh Anne McGarry

Excerpted from Bisnow story.

Leigh Anne McGarry has been exposed to the business of real estate for her whole life. Her grandfather, John Hartrampf, founded the residential real estate brokerage Metro Brokers in Atlanta, and her father runs one of the Southeast’s biggest billboard companies, Action Outdoor.

But McGarry — a senior associate at Franklin Street and this year’s winner of the  Commercial Real Estate Women Rising Star award — learned how to sell very early on thanks to horses.

Growing up, McGarry — a native of the affluent suburban Northern Metro Atlanta community of Sandy Springs — rode horses competitively. To help make money to fund what is a pretty expensive hobby, McGarry would buy foals in Europe, bring them to Atlanta, train them to be competitive jumpers, then turn around and sell them.

Ultimately, her love for real estate won out over her love for horses when it came time to decide on a career. By 2013, McGarry earned her real estate license and joined Marcus & Millichap, working with Senior Director Sonny Molloy and his retail brokerage investment team.

“It was a definitely a tough decision, but I had gotten to the point where I needed a career and to make some money,” McGarry said. “Horseback riding is pretty expensive, and I was pretty much on the road full time. I kind of needed to grow up and get a real job.”

At the least, her decision on career choice was just given a boost by the influential organization CREW with its Rising Star award.

“She came in and was very automatic in creating value for our team. Our clients loved her,” Molloy said of her time at Marcus & Millichap as a transaction coordinator. “She is one of those people that just gets it. She came in with very little knowledge of what we do in the investment sales arena, and she, without having a background, was a plug-and-play on our team. Immediately resourceful, efficient.”

Molloy — whose team has sold more than $1B in mainly retail real estate in 20 states — said even though McGarry left Marcus & Millichap in 2015, she set the standard on what his company now expects out of a transaction coordinator.

“People who work for me hear her name as though she still works for us,” Molloy said. “She operates and does everything with a high-quality work ethic. She’s absolutely one of the most phenomenal people. She was the most optimal fit for our team.”

When McGarry initially joined Franklin Street, she moved into a transaction coordination job, a position often considered entry level. But in less than a year — sooner than Franklin Street executives expected — McGarry moved up into a landlord representative role and has yet to look back.

“She’s very impressive. I think it’s because it’s her life, it’s all around her. She doesn’t have the doubts and she has the answers to a lot of questions that people her age are still trying to figure out” about the commercial real estate industry, Franklin Street Managing Director Monetha Cobb said. “Some of the things people might learn in the first year of the business … terminology and whatnot. She just understands the players and the dynamic. That was a leg up.”

Her landlord clients at Franklin Street include Bluerock Real Estate, TPA Group, DDR and Equity One.

McGarry got married in 2016 to Kurt McGarry, whom she met at Marcus & Millichap, where he is a multifamily broker. The two purchased a home in McGarry’s childhood neighborhood in Sandy Springs.

For Leigh Anne McGarry, the next transition in the industry will likely be becoming a real estate owner. In the next decade, she and her husband dream of investing in commercial real estate, she said.

McGarry, 27, admits that she finds, as a woman in a male-dominated field, she encounters some hurdles that young men may not have to jump.

“Whether it’s just youth, my age and being a woman, it takes a lot of time for some of the older men in the industry to take me seriously. First impressions, people might blow you off. But when you get to know them, they understand, and I guess appreciate the work I can do,” she said. “It’s not always negative. It’s just something I think women in general have to deal with.”

McGarry’s skills have had an influence over CREW as well, Cobb said. McGarry headed up CREW’s university outreach committee, which holds an annual conference for college students interested in the commercial real estate world to meet with influential executives in the industry.

Open to both sexes, UCREW events usually see themselves with a handful of college attendees that are heavily dominated by men, Cobb said. This year, though, was sharply different. Not only did more than 100 students attend, but there was a healthy showing of female students eyeing a chance to enter the industry, she said.

“In the past, we had these, it’s been sometimes more men than women,” she said. “This year, they just knocked it out of the park.”

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CREW Atlanta Event Recap: Awarding Our Members for Their Hard Work

Excerpted from 2018 CREW Atlanta Awards event blog.

Two of the most special awards of the evening were reserved for last. The Shining Light Award went to Sara Silvio, Owner of Constructive Ingenuity for her tireless dedication to the advancement of women in commercial real estate. Leigh Anne McGarry of Franklin Street received the Rising Star award for her professionalism as a broker new in the industry as well as her volunteer efforts for UCREW. Congratulations to everyone involved with this event including the nominees and the Awards Committee—it was truly an outstanding event!


Mariah Klein Joins Franklin Street as Senior Director of Retail Landlord Leasing

Franklin Street, a full-service commercial real estate firm, announced today that Mariah Klein has joined the company’s Retail Landlord Services division as senior director.  In this role, Klein will focus on property and location analysis, marketing and leasing strategy, and negotiation services for retail property owners in Atlanta and across the southeast. She is a former International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Georgia state director with over 21 years of professional retail leasing experience.

“Mariah brings extensive experience and a proven track record in research, analysis, tenant qualification and client relationships,” said Kurt Keaton, president of real estate services and management services for Franklin Street. “She is a leading shopping center industry expert who will play a significant role in furthering Franklin Street’s strategic growth.”

Most recently, Klein served as director of leasing at Genesis Real Estate Advisers, where she managed the leasing, renewal and expansion activity for the company’s portfolio of existing properties. In addition, she assisted in generating and leasing new development projects at Genesis. Previously, Klein was senior vice president of leasing for Ben Carter Properties, one of the largest retail developers in the southeastern U.S. Klein was also a leasing representative for CNM Associates, a predecessor firm of Ben Carter Properties, where she was responsible for a retail portfolio of more than 1.5 million square feet of rentable area. 

“I am very excited to join the Franklin Street team,” said Klein. “Franklin Street has earned a reputation as a highly entrepreneurial firm with a top brand name and a strong company culture. I was impressed by the talented and passionate people that I have already met in the company. I am pleased to be part of a firm that offers such endless opportunities for personal and professional growth.”
“We look forward to Mariah becoming part of our Atlanta office and partnering with the landlord leasing team to build our business,” said Cary Beale, senior vice president of Franklin Street’s Retail Landlord Services division. “Having played key leadership roles with various major industry firms throughout her career, I am confident that she will deliver exceptional services for our clients as well.”

Klein earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a licensed real estate broker in Georgia and Florida and is a licensed salesperson in South Carolina. An active voice for the commercial real estate industry, Klein is an active member of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). She served as ICSC Georgia State Director from May 2012 through May 2015, Co-chair of the 2015 Southeast ICSC Program and Chair of the 2016 Southeast ICSC Program.

About Franklin Street: Celebrating more than 10 years in the business, Franklin Street is a family of full-service commercial real estate companies focused on delivering value-add solutions to meet the evolving needs of clients. Through a collaborative philosophy of leveraging the resources, expertise and experience of each of its divisions – Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Property Management and Project Management – Franklin Street offers unmatched value and optimal solutions for clients nationwide. Learn more about Franklin Street at 


Leigh Anne McGarry chosen for CREW leadership program

Franklin Street’s Leigh Anne McGarry, Leasing Associate with the Retail Landlord Leasing team in Atlanta, has been chosen by Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Atlanta to participate in its 2018 leadership development program dedicated to building professional and personal growth. McGarry is among 30 participants selected from about 90 CREW Atlanta member applicants from all aspects of commercial real estate. 

Applications were evaluated on criteria that include demonstrated or potential leadership, community involvement, and individual achievements in the candidate’s professional position, community or CREW organization.

The 11-month program began in January with an overnight retreat and monthly sessions will explore career development topics, including conflict resolution, presentation skills, financial awareness, time management, personality testing/awareness, and team building. Franklin Street’s Monetha Cobb, a Leadership CREW alumnus (Class of 2008), serves as Managing Director for the Atlanta office.

In her time at Franklin Street, McGarry has worked with local, regional, and national clients such as DDR, Washington Prime Group, Bluerock Real Estate, Equity One, JBL Asset Management, Slate, and Sandor Development. She is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and CREW, where she serves on the Network Committee and the Social Committee.

“I am so honored to be chosen for this year’s leadership program,” says McGarry. “The program agenda for the year offers courses to help cultivate communication and leadership skills that I can implement in my career. CREW Leadership creates such a unique opportunity for women to come together and create long lasting relationships in the commercial real estate industry.”

For more information about Leadership CREW, visit


Top Restaurant Trends to Watch in Atlanta for 2018

News stories are swirling that Atlanta may soon become “over-restauranted.” Recent research data on that topic shows mixed results though. For example, Atlanta Q3 2017 restaurant sales volume increased 1% vs. Q3 2016 – the first positive sales increase shown in the last twelve months for the market. Out of 96 non-franchise Atlanta restaurants surveyed by NetFinancials, 57% reported positive sales in Q3 2017, compared to only 38% in Q2. However, restaurant traffic declined 4.1% nationally in Q3. 

These figures may indicate that Atlanta is not yet saturated, but rather that the restaurant market has regained its footing and sales are slowly growing again. Restanteurs seem to agree with this theory as the number of new eateries in the market continues to surge. Atlanta’s total number of restaurants increased by 910 in 2015 and 2016, both from local chefs and national and regional chain concepts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, more than 50 percent of all retail lease transactions finalized are restaurants, especially in Atlanta’s core submarkets. So, for 2018, what food trends should commercial real estate players keep an eye on?

Attracting Millennials: With the millennial generation (Generation Y) making up over 20% of current retail market spending, young adults are shaping the way that chefs and chains create new culinary concepts and choose future locations to open. Millennials have significantly increased the demand for unique and more personalized dining experiences. Former industrial areas, like Atlanta’s Westside, are rapidly transitioning to cater to these weekend bar-and-restaurant-goers because millennials spend most of their expendable dollars eating and drinking in hip social environments.

Social Media Upgrades: A restaurant’s social media strategy has become equally as important as choosing the right location for determining its success when entering a new market. Geotags, electronic tags that associate precise geocoordinates with web pages or other digital content, have risen in popularity and retail shops are also stepping up their social media presence to help draw crowds to trendy hotspots around the city. 

Going Healthy: “Sustainable” and “organic” are two of the hottest catch words that are luring in new restaurant clientele. With fitness and nutrition becoming a daily conversation among friends and coworkers, and boutique fitness studios constantly popping up, diners want to eat at spots that offer all-natural, clean ingredients, so their meals align with their exercise habits.

Rents Rising: With limited new supply of real estate opportunities for restaurants and the continued demand from new restaurant concepts entering or growing in the Atlanta metro market, leasing rates continued to increase in high demand retail corridors in 2015-2017.   In some cases, rents have increased above $50 per square feet in suburban Metro Atlanta Markets.   Expect prices to remain the same throughout 2018 as the cost of new development land and construction continue to push pricing at all-time highs.   

Bob Kane is a Director with Franklin Street’s Retail Tenant Leasing team in Atlanta offering program roll-out strategies, site selection, market analysis and lease/purchase negotiations for national and regional retailers and restaurant groups expanding throughout the Southeast.  During his career, Mr. Kane has provided brokerage, development and consulting services to some of the nation’s largest retailers including: Home Depot, Kohl’s, Longhorn Steakhouse, McDonald’s, Aldi, Lowe’s and more. 

Jessica Branch is an Associate with Franklin Street’s Retail Tenant Services team focusing on tenant representation in Atlanta and working with a variety of commercial real estate owners and developers. Ms. Branch specializes in retail/restaurant leasing and site selection for local, regional, and national retail clients.


Atlanta – News & Notables – Monetha Cobb

ATLANTA—CREW Atlanta announced its board members for 2018, including Tina Renee McCall of Gemini Rosemont Commercial Real Estate as president. McCall has been a member of CREW since 2006 and has served on the board for three years as treasurer and president-elect. She was part of the 2010 Leadership Class and has been involved in several committees including the ACE and CREW Network committees. She was also a chair for the Awards and Sponsorship committees, and has participated in the mentoring program and UCREW. Additional members of the 2018 board of directors include: Ann Cone of CBRE, president-elect; Monetha Cobb of Franklin Street Real Estate Services, past president; Sara Silvio of Constructive Ingenuity, treasurer; Jodi Borges-Bradley of NELSON, director; and Diana Robinson of Colliers International.

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Awards & Recognition

CREW Tampa Bay presents Excellence Awards

Commercial Real Estate Women Tampa Bay recently held its 6th annual Excellence Awards event, recognizing group members and others whose deals topped the market in the past year.

Nancy Herz, managing director of Commercial Florida Realty, won CREW’s Member of the Year award.

The group’s sales transaction award went to law firm Phelps Dunbar LLP and Third Lake Capital for the investment firm’s $65.75 million deal for the 28-story office tower at 200 Central Ave., in downtown St. Petersburg.

Commercial brokerage firm JLL’s Brent Miller, Bryan Rodriguez, John Heald and Ron Ruffner — then of Cushman & Wakefield — won the Office Lease award, for their work on Amgen’s 125,000-square-foot deal in Corporate Center, in Westshore.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Julia Rettig, Jessica Mizrahi and Mike Davis, with Beaux-Arts Group’s Karen Giunta, took home top honors in the Industrial Lease category, for their efforts on a 51,386-square-foot deal for SLV Lighting in the Madison Distribution Center.

CREW’s Retail Lease award was given to commercial brokerage Franklin Street’s Brian Bern, Ryan Derriman and Lori Lockard for their work at The Morrison, a mixed-use project at 936 S. Howard Ave. in South Tampa.


6th Annual CREW Tampa Bay Excellence Awards

Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Tampa Bay, is pleased to announce the winners of the sixth annual Excellence Awards event that was held on November 16th at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC. This event honors top talent and recognizes significant transactions in commercial real estate. The award nominees were generated by CREW Tampa Bay members and submitted by others within the commercial real estate community.

A panel of real estate, development and civic leaders served as judges to review the applications. The awards highlight the achievements completed during the period of September 20, 2016, through September 29, 2017. The awards themselves were designed and commissioned by local artist, Sean Pascoe, of Sean A Sea Art. DJ Coro provided the entertainment.

Award categories included several CREW Members Only awards and many more CREW Industry Awards which were open to both members and non-member individuals and companies.

Tina Fischer, Fletcher & Fischer P.L. and Jan Chaffee, JC Commercial Brokers, LLC chaired this year’s Excellence Awards.


(Finalist) Office Lease Excellence Award

Mercedes Angell – Cushman & Wakefield; Clay Wommack – Franklin Street – Amscot Corporation

(Winner) Retail Lease Excellence Award

Brian Bern, Ryan Derriman, & Lori Lockard – Franklin Street – The Morrison

Awards & Recognition

16 CREW Network Members Named 2017 Women of Influence by Real Estate Forum

Sixteen CREW Network members, including 2017 president Alison Beddard and director Jeanette Flory-Sagan, have been named “Women of Influence 2017″ by Real Estate Forum. The women were among 50 selected from hundreds of nominees based on their achievements in, contributions to, and reputation in the business.

In addition, CREW Network members Tere Blanca, Blanca Commercial Real Estate (CREW-Miami) and Sherry A. Cushman, Cushman & Wakefield (CREW Washington DC) were listed among the seven Women of Influence 2017 Hall of Fame inductees.

CREW Network members named Women of Influence 2017, listed with their companies and chapters:

Yvonne Baker, Franklin Street – CREW Orlando  

The magazine’s July/August issue, featuring individual profiles of the women, marks the 24th anniversary of the industry recognition program. In addition, Beddard is the Building Balance guest columnist, and statistics from CREW Network’s 2016 white paper, Closing the Gap: Addressing Gender Bias and Other Barriers for Women in Commercial Real Estate, is featured in the Data Points section.

About CREW Network
CREW Network is the industry’s premier business networking organization dedicated to advancing the achievements of women in commercial real estate. CREW Network members comprise more than 10,000 professionals globally and represent nearly all disciplines of commercial real estate – every type of expert required to “do the deal.” Follow CREW Network on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram, and visit CREW Network at