New possibilities in commercial real estate

Developing Leaders Spotlight: Envisioning New Possibilities in CRE

When he was a college student, James Kline, a recipient of the 2022 Developing Leaders Award, knew that he wanted to pursue a career that would help people, but he wasn’t sure yet which direction that would take. As an intern at The Bascom Group, Kline saw how commercial real estate owners could benefit lives by providing quality housing at an affordable price.

James Kline

Now, Kline serves as senior director in the Orange County office of JLL Capital Markets, Americas. He has more than 10 years of experience in real estate. He focuses on debt and equity placement transactions nationwide, with a particular focus on multifamily housing in the western United States. Throughout the course of his career, he has been involved in capitalizing retail, office, industrial, multifamily and land transactions totaling more than $3.82 billion in debt and $216 million in equity placement across 146 transactions.

As a member of NAIOP SoCal, Kline has contributed significantly to the chapter’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) as chair of the selection committee, chair of the curriculum committee, chair of the sponsorship committee and chair of the alumni committee.

Kline’s chapter colleagues credit him with growing the YPG, ensuring the program’s curriculum stays fresh and impactful, and organizing activities to keep YPG members involved and engaged with NAIOP. Kline also worked in partnership with fellow chapter leader John Drachman to develop and implement an Externship Program to promote diversity and inclusion within commercial real estate. This program will be implemented at Cal-State Fullerton where NAIOP will offer 35 externships and partner students with members of the current YPG class. Kline was recognized with the 2022 NAIOP SoCal Developing Leader of the Year award.

Outside of commercial real estate, Kline serves as an ambassador for the Marine Raider Foundation (MRF). Through MRF, he has helped to raise over $500,000 to support the special operation community of the Marine Corps.

NAIOP asked this exceptional leader to weigh in on productivity hacks, the benefits of NAIOP membership, and more.

NAIOP: What are some ways that NAIOP membership has benefited your career?

Kline: As someone who enjoys giving back and being involved within the real estate community, I have been focused on contributing to NAIOP and NAIOP SoCal. My involvement in NAIOP SoCal has enabled me to build strong relationships with industry professionals that have led to business development opportunities within the real estate capital market space. For example, some of my fellow YPG classmates and NAIOP SoCal board members have risen to decision-making roles with companies that are clients of my team at JLL Capital Markets, as well as becoming close friends.

NAIOP: What is your most-used productivity hack?

Kline: As simple as it sounds, scheduling out your day and sticking to it. You could spend your entire day putting out fires or addressing the most recent email in your inbox, but in order to drive your business or ensure you’re progressing in your role, you have to block out time to allow yourself to succeed. This includes blocking out gym time, family time or time to just relax as well!

NAIOP: What is your advice for Developing Leaders early in their careers?

Kline: As it relates to real estate, in the first few years of your career, you want to put yourself in a position to get absolutely as many repetitions as possible on transactions. That has been something that has truly helped position me for success in my career.

NAIOP: What could you give a 30-minute presentation about with no advance preparation?

Kline: Given my role in real estate, hopefully it would be on the current state of the capital markets! Outside of that, I would say I can give an impromptu boat tour of Newport Harbor.

NAIOP: What’s something that has surprised you about your chosen career path?

Kline: One thing that I love about my job is that not only do I have the underlying real estate aspect, but I have a large focus on overall capital flows and global macroeconomic trends that play a significant role in the capital markets. That is something I enjoy trying to make sense of for the benefit of my clients.

Read more about the 2022 Developing Leader Award winners in Development magazine.

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