Q & A WITH PORTSMOUTH REALTOR ROBERT MARCHEWKA
Interview by Stu Arnett
A lifelong resident of New Hampshire, Robert “Bob” Marchewka has worked in the State’s commercial real estate market since earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire, and his MBA at UNH’s Paul School of Business (formerly the Whittemore School of Business).
In 2010, Bob founded ONE Commercial Real Estate, after working for twenty-five years in commercial real estate brokerage, management, and development. “I work closely with both businesses and individuals to sell, lease, or develop properties, find specific properties for purchase, and to develop an overall real estate investment plan,” says Bob. “I concentrate on site selection, tenant representation, commercial brokerage and leasing, consulting, and developer due diligence to help clients achieve their commercial real estate goals and objectives.”
Bob’s expertise in these areas was a natural fit to serve as president of New Hampshire’s chapter of Commercial Investment Board of Realtors, better known as “CIBOR”. During the past year, he initiated and advanced several dynamic programs for the organization. We asked him to share more about CIBOR and its new programs, and to tell us about a few of his notable accomplishments during his successful career in real estate.
Q: How is CIBOR different from realtors most of us know?
RM: The New Hampshire Commercial Investment Board of Realtors (NH CIBOR) is one of fourteen “local boards” under the umbrella of our state board, the New Hampshire Association of Realtors. All other local boards are regional and cater to residential and commercial realtors. We are unique in that we are an overlay board, serving members statewide and our focus is 100% commercial. We own and manage a unique and proprietary database of commercial listings, the New England Commercial Property Exchange (NECPE) that we use as our listing service.
Q: What was your greatest accomplishment as CIBOR president?
RM: Since we only serve a one-year term as president, much of what we do involves former and future leaders. As an organization, I would say the biggest accomplishments this year were our collaboration with the New England Commercial Property Exchange to provide listings to the website of the Department of Economic Resources and Development (DRED); the further development of our education curriculum to provide unique and useful continuing education credit courses; and programs geared specifically to those who do business in New Hampshire commercial real estate. We also conducted two forums – one with real estate developers and one with municipal planners seeking to identify best practices on both sides, within the development process.
Personally, I am proud to have initiated a relationship with the Paul School of Business at UNH. They have a real estate track as an option within their finance major and we will be developing a portal for students to apply to our members for internships and jobs. We are also discussing ways for the Paul School to help add to our curriculum of commercial real estate credit courses.
Q: How will your work with DRED help New Hampshire?
RM: CIBOR’s collaboration with DRED to populate their website with commercial real estate listings from the CIBOR database, will allow companies and individuals looking for commercial real estate in New Hampshire to easily locate and analyze the stock of available properties. Anything that makes it easier for people or companies to locate their business in the State will help New Hampshire.
Q: How can a community help encourage good commercial property development?
RM: A community first needs to decide what they want for development in their community, then zone land accordingly and have the internal planning mechanisms to deal with proposed projects. If developers have a defined path to success it will greatly encourage them to take the risk to develop property. All departments, boards, and elected officials of the community need to work toward the same goals or the developer’s path becomes fraught with obstacles, and ultimately one that is avoided.
Q: What real estate project did you work on during your career that made the greatest impact on a community?
RM: A couple come to mind that had or will have community impact. In 2007, I brokered the sale of the two largest student-housing portfolios in Durham, NH, to a single entity that saw value in improving the product and value catering to the students who rented there. I believe this had a great effect on the student housing market in town; whereby students previously treated as transients are now catered to as residents who are paying top dollar for housing, and the housing needs reflect that with the building of many new high-quality projects. I like to believe that sale was a catalyst for further public and private investment in Durham.
This year, I brokered the sale of land for a new parking garage in Portsmouth. The new garage will not only help alleviate the current parking shortage in downtown Portsmouth, but will also facilitate a substantial amount of redevelopment and new development in a formerly underutilized part of town.
Q: Tell us about growing up in New Hampshire?
RM: I grew up in West Lebanon, went to UNH, and later settled in Portsmouth. So, I’ve spent my entire life here. I feel fortunate to have been raised in the Upper Valley, which had, and still has, a strong local economy and proximity to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital, Dartmouth College, Lebanon Regional Airport and two major interstates. It’s great place to grow up – with local swimming holes, nearby skiing, hiking, etc. Now, I’m fortunate to live in Portsmouth, another great New Hampshire city!