This is the first of four profiles of Treasure Valley commercial real estate agents in a special commercial real estate section in the January 18-February 14, 2017, edition of the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider magazine.
Al Marino slalomed into his career in commercial real estate.
Twenty years ago, Marino lived in Boston and worked as product manager for Salomon, one of the world’s largest ski brands, developing and bringing new boots and bindings to market.
After 23 years in the business, he was ready for a change. On a trip to Sun Valley, he met a former owner of Colliers International in Boise, who talked up commercial real estate in the Treasure Valley. Marino was intrigued.
“I decided if I could save three years of income to move to Boise and learn the commercial real estate business, I could survive,” says Marino, now 56. “Eighteen years later, I’m still here.”
After five years, he joined Thornton Oliver Keller, where he became a partner in 2006. Marino has completed more than 200 transactions valued at more than $116 million over the last five years.
He focuses on the office sector. He led the team that leased 140,000 square feet of office space at The Village at Meridian. He is working with a national brokerage retained by Paylocity, a Chicago payroll and human resources services company, in its quest for space for 500 workers in Boise.
Being brutally honest with clients and keeping client information strictly confidential has served me well in the real estate business.
Al Marino, Thornton Oliver Keller partner
Demand for high-end office space is pushing rates up. Asking rates for Class A space are up $1 per square foot since the end of 2015, according to Thornton Oliver Keller, and overall office rates are up $1.15.
But the greater force in rising rates is construction costs, which are unlikely to abate soon, Marino says.
“Building costs have skyrocketed in the last few years,” he says. “That’s why recent projects like Eighth & Main, The Village at Meridian and City Centre are among the highest in the market.”
Marino says high office-space absorption rates mean developers will keep building, but mostly in areas surrounding Downtown and thoroughfares such as the Connector, Interstate 84 and Eagle Road until the region improves public transit. Adding a light rail in the next 10 to 15 years would open new areas to developers, he says.
“Now, commercial growth will follow the arterials,” he says. “Once a light rail line is determined, commercial opportunities would flow naturally from there. That would be a game changer.”