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ICSC’s annual 4 Under 40 honors the next generation of leaders in the marketplaces industry. These four individuals — nominated by their peers, in many cases by more than one — also will take seats on the ICSC board as Next Gen Trustees. Read more about this year’s honorees — PGIM Real Estate’s Alison Hallberg, Brixmor’s Matt Ryan, Edens’ Nicole Shiman and SimonCRE’s Joshua Simon — below.
RELATED: Meet last year’s 4 Under 40 honorees
It has become exceedingly rare for any individual to stay in one job for more than four years. It’s even more uncommon when that individual is one who’s young enough for a 4 Under 40 list. Who knows what would have happened if Alison Hallberg had stayed the path toward investment banking. The PGIM Real Estate executive director, a Penn State grad who majored in finance and minored in international business, had been strong in math and saw finance as a bridge between her analytical and business acumen. But it was a senior year commercial real estate finance class that turned her job-searching feet toward institutional real estate firms. She started at PGIM Real Estate, then known as Prudential Real Estate Investors, as an investment analyst right out of college in 2005, and 16 years later, she’s still at it.
“If you perform well and you have interest in other areas of the organization, PGIM Real Estate really works with you to create opportunities for mobility so that you can continue to develop and grow,” she said. Hallberg got her feet wet in retail real estate in 2015, when she took on the asset management for retail properties for PGIM Real Estate’s value-add fund. In 2018, she took charge of overseeing the asset management for its flagship core fund’s $4.7 billion, 13 million-square-foot national retail and mixed-use portfolio. A highlight was working on the mixed-use lifestyle center Avalon, north of Atlanta, where PGIM Real Estate owns almost 600,00 square feet of retail, among other components in the larger property. “It’s such a fun and unique asset to work on, being one of the best-in-class lifestyle centers,” she said. And that meant an opportunity, as other tenants rolled over, to work with best-in-class retailers to upgrade the rent roll and increase the center’s sales.
Avalon in Alpharetta, Georgia
Now, she oversees Northeast and Mid-Atlantic retail asset management across PGIM Real Estate’s U.S. equity business, reporting to managing director Steven Vittorio, a former ICSC trustee. Her oversight includes 5 million-square-feet encompassing 26 open-air centers, from strip to mixed-use, pre-development to stabilized, value-add to core and joint venture to wholly owned. Among them, PGIM Real Estate is repositioning the mixed-use Annapolis Town Center in Maryland. The renovations are designed to enhance the guests’ overall shopping experience and will include upgrades to common areas, amenities and mural installations, as well as re-leasing and diversifying the tenant mix.
Annapolis Town Center in Maryland
“Retail in general continues to evolve,” she said. “There are retailers that come and go throughout a lifecycle of a center, and so you’re constantly evaluating and updating the tenant mix to ensure it all works together and you can attract the most compelling brands. You just always have to take a step back and make sure that you’re creating a place where people want to live, work and play.” That takes real thought and creativity, she said, and it needs to happen every 10 to 15 years.
Hallberg, whose teams over the past four years have completed leases for 4.3 million square feet, is a lead proponent of the internship and scholarship program that PGIM Real Estate sponsors through the ICSC Foundation. The program provides work experience, training and exposure to groups who historically have been underrepresented in the real estate industry. She also initiated PGIM Real Estate’s participation in the ICSC Foundation’s Launch Academy and is actively involved in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion as a senior member of her company’s Inclusion & Leadership Network. She also sits on the VTS Retail Advisory Board and has just taken a seat on a ULI product council.
Hallberg clearly likes this industry, but another reason she’s stayed at PGIM Real Estate for so long is that she also likes the people, and she vows that’s not lip service. That includes some of the more senior members of the team who became mom-like figures to the young Boston woman who had just moved to New Jersey in 2005. During her 16 years at PGIM Real Estate, Hallberg earned an MBA from NYU Stern, got married and became a mother herself, to Charlotte, 6, and Max, 5. Going through all those life changes surrounded by many who also have stayed at the company all these years really did make co-workers feel like family, she said. “So that’s where I started, and here’s where I’ve stayed.”
Matt Ryan interned at Legend Properties the summer of his junior year at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. An accounting major who didn’t want to work for an accounting firm, he saw the Legend internship as a “good career opportunity to get my foot in the door.” He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2005 and stayed on at the Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based brokerage for nine years until 2013, when he joined Brixmor Property Group.
As president of the South region at Brixmor, Ryan who will turn 39 this month, oversees the leasing, management redevelopment and capital recycling of 115 open-air retail centers comprising 20 million square feet of gross leasable area. The Roswell, Georgia resident, who manages a team of 90-plus professionals, has led more than $200 million of reinvestment that has transformed shopping centers throughout Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina. Those projects include repurposing obsolete anchor stores, performing ground-up development, building new common areas and adding complementary uses.
“Matt is one of the thought leaders in our industry that will help shape the industry on a go-forward basis,” said Sterling Organization COO of retail Bob Dake, a former colleague at Brixmor and a preceding 4 Under 40 honoree himself. “He’s thoughtful, compassionate and a natural-born leader. His impact on our industry will be felt for generations to come.”
Ryan has a knack for working with the property teams to improve properties incrementally to better serve the community — such as improved property signage, traffic flow, new gathering areas and better landscaping — and that result in strong returns. “I’ve been particularly proud of some of the smaller capex projects, where we make a smaller investment compared to our redevelopment projects but they transform the property, the community sees those improvements, traffic in the center increases and then retailers outperform,” Ryan said.
In 2019, Ryan and team worked with Kroger to update the interior of its store while Brixmor invested simultaneously in the 115,000-square-foot New Chastain Corners in Marietta, Georgia. Photo credit: Brixmor
“Following those improvements and as a result of the increased traffic, we added nine new retailers for 15,000 square feet, and traffic at the center is up about 15% since we announced the renovations,” Ryan said. Photo credit: Brixmor
Over the course of COVID, Ryan’s job has been much more on the ground, working closely with the around 2,800 tenants in his portfolio. “Our team connected with every single retailer and partnered with them to get through it,” Ryan said. The pandemic felt eerily similar, but on a larger scale, to when Hurricane Harvey seriously damaged seven Brixmor shopping centers in Houston and when Hurricane Michael destroyed two centers in Panama City, Florida. Ryan had thought each time that those disasters “were the worst thing I would ever have to work through.”
Ryan — who was a city councilperson in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, from January 2012 through December 2015 — chaired the ICSC Next Generation Program Planning Committee in 2011, helping organize quarterly events for members in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. He also served on the planning committee for the ICSC PA/NJ/DE Conference & Deal Making conference in Philadelphia from 2010 through 2015. Ryan commended ICSC for its ample networking opportunities, particularly via events. “It’s efficient,” he said. “When you go to these shows, even smaller ones, you can have 40 meetings in two days that would have taken you months otherwise.”
In his free time, he coaches his two sons’ basketball teams in suburban Atlanta and plays tennis with his wife of 13 years, whom he met at Penn State.
—Lauren Elkies Schram
Even before anchor tenant Publix GreenWise Market opened at the redeveloped Lakeside Centre in Boca Raton, Florida, Nicole Shiman achieved more than 90% lease-up to such tenants as Roosters Mens Grooming Center and Nothing Bundt Cakes. She also had delivered the 142,044-square-foot mixed-use project on time and under budget by the time GreenWise opened in December 2019.
Lakeside Centre in Boca Raton, Florida, became home to GreenWise’s first new-format store in Southeast Florida, at 27,750 square feet. “It was exciting because the format was new to the community, new to Edens and new to Southeast Florida,” Nicole Shiman said. Photo credit: Edens
The development also included the delivery of activated common green spaces and two murals. Photo credit: Edens
Shiman, 35, has been stationed in the Fort Lauderdale office of Edens — a Washington, D.C.-based national retail real estate owner, operator and developer — for five years. She is one of five regional heads at the firm and leads a $500 million Florida shopping center portfolio, comprised of 1.3 million square feet across 11 assets.
After a July 2019 gas explosion that severely damaged Market on University in Plantation, Florida, Edens had to demolish an entire building and redevelop the 118,943-square-foot, 20-tenant center, which is anchored by Publix and LA Fitness. Shiman coordinated all redevelopment efforts while communicating with impacted tenants, reaching out to the community and coordinating with the city and insurance companies. The construction job was completed this summer, and Shiman is now leasing and stabilizing the asset.
Edens CEO Jodie McLean said Shiman “leads with intellect and empathy. She is the ultimate coach/player-style leader and inspires her team with her energy, work ethic and positive attitude.”
Prior to working at Edens, Shiman was the first female principal at 13th Floor Investments, an opportunistic, value-add real estate investment fund based in Miami. She began her career as an associate at national management consulting firm BCG during the summer of her junior year at the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School. After graduation, she worked full-time for BCG for more than four years in its Toronto, New York, and Miami offices.
Shiman later obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School. While there, she received the 2013 Fitzie Foundation scholarship, awarded to one female HBS student annually. Among her achievements, she also cited her 3-year-old and 1-and-a-half-year-old children and her husband, whom she met at summer camp as a teenager.
Shiman served on the ICSC 2018 South Florida Idea Exchange Program Planning Committee. Membership in ICSC, she said, has been accretive. Having come from outside the retail sector, ICSC has allowed her to network with retail partners. She also commended ICSC for “important work relative to their stance on critical issues that affect commercial real estate,” such as leadership through COVID, support of the retail real estate sector and government relations representing retail and real estate.
—Lauren Elkies Schram
Growing up, Joshua Simon was fascinated by construction and all the building blocks of a community-changing development. His excitement propelled him into the real estate business during his freshman year at Arizona State University, while working toward his bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies. Simon was 18, running around the country bidding on projects, building centers and leasing space on behalf of Sandor Development.
It was only a year later that he attended his first ICSC conference, setting up prospect meetings with retailers for Sandor centers. “Not going to lie, I’m sure industry veterans thought I was pretty ‘green,’” said an amused Simon, 36. “But it was a great learning experience and got me out of my comfort zone.”
He transitioned to a full-time job at Sandor, working three full days and attending classes the other two. After six years, Simon established his own firm, SimonCRE. It was 2010, and the market wasn’t great. He started the company in less-than-ideal market conditions and did so without any outside funding.
Today, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based firm employs over 50 people, and Simon anticipates completing 40 projects this year. To date, SimonCRE, which launched a profit-sharing program for employees this year, has completed more than 230 projects across 22 states, to the tune of more than $500 million.
SimonCRE is underway with its biggest project to date, Village at Prasada in Surprise, Arizona, a $230 million ground-up development, the first power center built on the West Coast in over a decade, he said. Village at Prasada will include 700,000 square feet of retail. It will be completed in 2023 or 2024. Simon has already achieved commitments for 90% of the retail space. “People were saying that retail was dead during COVID,” Simon said. “This amount of commitment proves that retail is flourishing.”
A notable project SimonCRE redeveloped as a historic adaptive reuse was the 1917 O.S. Stapley hardware store in Phoenix. “We bought it about seven years ago and brought it back to life while preserving the integrity of its historic significance and leased it to a startup retailer,” Simon said. “I believe this kick-started the interest of other companies and developments to the Lower Grand Avenue business district.”
That startup retailer was Tuft & Needle, and the building is home both to its corporate headquarters and a retail store.
ICSC has been an important organization to Simon, he said, as its events “have been such a helpful way to build and learn over the years and they have allowed [me] to create life-long friendships,” he said. He served as a past chair of the ICSC Arizona Government Relations Committee, and at the 2019 ICSC OAC Summit in Austin, Texas, he led the discussion Real Time with Retailers. Simon remains active in government relations through ICSC, participates in the ICSC Next Gen Leadership Network and gives back to subsequent generations through the ICSC Foundation Mentorship Program. “He carries the torch for his team and is committed to developing projects that benefit clients and the communities they serve,” said Vestar chairman and CEO Rick Kuhle, a mentor to Simon.
On the personal front, Simon and his wife Brittany tied the knot in June 2020 and held their delayed reception last July. Many of the attendees were friends Simon made through ICSC, including a groomsman he met through ICSC Next Generation events.
—Lauren Elkies Schram