Precision and accuracy, meticulous follow-through and un-wavering loyalty. These are words we use to describe Riley McKee. Anyone who works with Riley knows these words to be a true and accurate representation of his character and his abilities. Please join me in congratulating Riley on his advancement from Senior Advisor, to Director.
What changes have you seen arise in Commercial Real Estate since you began?
When I first began my career as a broker in 2016, industrial real estate was on the verge of something special. Today, it is the dominant asset class in Albuquerque (and nationwide) and should continue to be for the foreseeable future. This is in large part because of e-commerce, which as a percentage of total retail sales has grown steadily over the last 30 years. In 1994, Jeff Bezos had a novel idea to sell books on the internet. That idea has since been expanded to just about everything, all of which must be stored in a warehouse somewhere before it arrives at your front door.
What trends are you noticing in the land/industrial markets that you’re excited for?
The vacancy rate for industrial real estate has steadily declined throughout my 7 years in the industry. On one level, this is a good thing as unused space is being filled. However, it’s also a signal that not enough new space is being added to the market to meet demand. Between the Great Recession of 2008 – 2010 and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, almost no new construction of industrial real estate occurred in Albuquerque. Only very recently have developers come to recognize the level of demand for warehouse space. By the end of this year, roughly 440,000 square feet of new industrial space will be completed while another 3,000,000 square feet is planned in the coming years. This is much needed and exciting activity in Albuquerque.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of being a Commercial Real Estate Advisor?
Economic impact. Every transaction I am involved with promotes some form of growth for the local economy. Whether it’s a startup company leasing its first space, an established business expanding its operations, or an investor purchasing and renovating a dilapidated building, productivity and capital are being exchanged. To have a direct role in that process is both fulfilling and rewarding.
What would you say has led you to success in Commercial Real Estate?
There’s no singular personality type or profile that has a monopoly on success in commercial real estate. I’ve seen many different styles and approaches lead to success. For me, discipline has been the key to getting ahead. It’s engaging in the “blocking and tackling” of brokerage day by day, month by month, year by year. There’s nothing sexy, profound, or novel about this approach but it works. Consistent hard work over time always wins out.
What parts of the job do you find most challenging?
Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame wrote a song in 1991 called “The Bug”. In it is the famous line “sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug” which perfectly encapsulates what daily life as a commercial real estate broker feels like. The work week—sometimes even an individual workday—can seesaw from good to bad or bad to good rather quickly. The lows are definitely the most challenging aspect of brokerage, but they also make the highs feel that much higher. It’s not a career for the faint of heart but it’s definitely worthwhile.
Who has influenced you the most?
Any chance I can I shout out my mentors—Jim Wible and Keith Meyer—for helping me find my footing in commercial real estate. Without mentors, it’s very difficult to find success in the industry. I’m grateful to work with two of the best.
Where can we find Riley on the weekends?
My favorite place in the world is anywhere where my wife Jordan and daughter Margot are. On the weekends we enjoy running (Margot rides in a jogger), renovating our house in the Albuquerque Country Club neighborhood, and being involved at Citizen Church.