Congratulations to our own Suzanne Bunn, Senior Property Manager, for a well-deserved showcase in “The human element: Meet the people who make the retail real estate industry run” featured by ICSC this week!
Suzanne Bunn has earned plenty of professional certifications over the course of a 38-year real estate career: CSM, CRX, CPM, LEED Green Associate. But as senior property manager of Brand Real Estate Services, she also relies on training that may seem wholly unrelated to her job. Bunn earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Georgia and a master’s in counseling psychology from Georgia State University. And she asserts that the specialization is relevant. “It has helped me listen to customers and vendors and to develop the close relationships I have with my tenants, who are often mom-and-pops who put their last saved dollar into their businesses,” Bunn said.
At Duluth, Ga.–based Brand Real Estate Services, Bunn manages 11 shopping centers in metro Atlanta and one in Charleston, S.C., as well as some office properties. Bunn joined the firm in 2014 after stints at Edens, Faison–Trammell Crow and Watkins Real Estate Group. “I have the experience of working on a project from ground up through ground-breaking to grand opening, and then working with tenants three to five years later after lease renewals,” she said. “That is really how I started.”
Suzanne Bunn is senior property manager of Brand Real Estate Services
On a typical morning, Bunn may field questions from newly signed tenants in need of orientation, or help national chains or mom-and-pops coordinate with contractors on the final stages of a store build-out. “There is the occasional roof leak, too,” she said. “But fortunately, I have really good properties that are 100 percent leased. I really don’t have too many maintenance issues.”
These days Brand is working with foodie-friendly restaurants in the Atlanta suburbs. “They might be featured in, say, Atlanta magazine and have lots of customer traffic,” she said. “Given all of that traffic, you have to make sure those properties are maintained at the top of the line so that they present a nice experience for their customers.”
Bunn served for years on the planning committee of the ICSC Southeast Conference (she was chairwoman in 2013), and she also belongs to the Institute of Real Estate Management. She earned her LEED Green Associate certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2012. She often works with vendors to obtain the best LED lighting, water-saving landscape elements or recycled materials. “If you can cut down on something like water usage, you can reduce your common-area expenses too,” she said. “Increasing efficiency is a win for everybody, and it’s good for the planet.”