• Fri. May 13th, 2022

Q&A with one of the region’s leading commercial real estate brokers


Ann MacAffer is what those in her industry would call a powerhouse.

She has been involved in the Capital Region commercial real estate industry for over three decades, including 22 as a broker in the Albany branch of CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services company. She has seen the industry grow faster and more reliant on technology, and she has seen a new generation of young female brokers enter the business.

You may know his customers: Cumberland Farms, Spectrum, Hoffman’s Car Wash. Right now, she lists seven properties in and around the Capital District, most of which are large plots of land (there’s a strategy behind that). His name is on a $ 3.2 million list in Glenville.

If there’s anyone to talk about local commercial real estate trends, it’s MacAffer – and so she sat down with The Times Union to share some of her knowledge.

Question: How did you get into the world of commercial real estate?

A: I started with RealtyUSA in 1982, started working primarily in Saratoga Springs selling rental properties. Then, in 1986, when they decided to set up a commercial office, I was running this office in Loudonville, and I decided that it intrigued me much more. It made more sense to me than how people decided to buy houses, which was very emotional. I was much better quantitatively at how real estate worked.

Question: What types of properties are you currently looking for?

A: There is a lot of land for sale at the moment. A lot of people expect growth, I think, in Rensselaer County, with trucking and transportation. People are starting to go around this area.

Question: Why is Rensselaer a booming field?

A: If the Amazon warehouse is finished, there will be trucks coming in and out. There will be people coming in and going out. There is a need for repair, maintenance – be it tires, engines, etc. There will probably be more fast food out there because there will be people working there, and there might be a need for something like a medical building. Most of the growth follows either roads or rooftops. In this case, these are the roads.

Question: How has the commercial real estate landscape changed in the Capital Region?


A: I find that people here are more and more open to relocate to different cities. It used to be that if you were in government or a lawyer, you were in Albany. Now there are so many other opportunities in life, so many more retail opportunities.

Question: What types of real estate have experienced the most recent growth?

A: We are seeing a lot of growth in the craft sector like craft distilleries, craft beer, craft seafood. We’ve seen some growth – not that much – but growth in coworking. Last weekend someone asked me about a shared commercial kitchen space.

Question: Are mixed-use buildings still in demand in the Capital Region?

A: Mixed use is no longer retail downstairs and life upstairs. You have these three different platforms: it’s office, retail, and residential. This probably wouldn’t have happened 30 years ago. They probably had problems with this in places like Malta, where they tried to set up an entire storey of shops with apartments above, and there was no demand. It works in Saratoga Springs. It works in Troy. It works at Schenectady. It works in Plattsburgh. There must be more houses around to supply the retail business.

[email protected] • @caylajharris


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