Currently a Senior Associate in Retail Services, Aylin Gucalp joined Cushman & Wakefield in 2014 as part of the firm’s one-year PREP rotational program, an experience that exposed her to the company’s investment sales, brokerage, valuation and appraisal, and equity, debt and structured finance service lines. Upon completing the PREP program, Aylin joined retail doyenne Joanne Podell’s Retail Services team. In her four years at Cushman & Wakefield, she has specialized in tenant and landlord representation, working with major retailers to find their perfect brick-and-mortar locations as well as family and institutional owners in securing ideal tenants.
We spoke with Aylin about her career, her recognition in Commercial Observer’s 30 Under 30, and what she sees for her future in commercial real estate:
What does it mean for you to be on the Commercial Observer’s 30 Under 30: Top Leasing and Sales Professionals of 2018?
I’m extremely honored to be included on the list this year, and it feels incredible to be recognized for the hard work I’ve put in. Additionally, this list has consistently honored people I admire in the industry and consider to be amazing mentors. I am grateful to be included in this group of respected and hard-working individuals. This honor shows that I am on the right track.
Is there a deal you are most proud of in your career so far?
It’s difficult to choose just one, but I will say that any of the deals in which I was working with a tenant looking for their first Manhattan store location is one that I am very proud of. It takes a great deal of work to prepare the tenant and to ensure the tenant is comfortable with each step in the leasing transaction process. Opening a brand’s first brick-and-mortar location requires a great deal of planning to find the right retail space and even more broadly, find the right submarket. They always ask the long list of ‘what-if’ questions, and it becomes your responsibility to address each concern. By the time the store opens, it feels like so much of your life has been invested into the success of the store, which is a wonderful feeling.
Is there a deal that marked a turning point in your career?
We recently completed a deal in the Times Square bow-tie on behalf of an experiential soccer concept that I consider a transformative transaction in my career. The lease was complex, but really special for me because we were working within a space with interior landmarks, and you aren’t presented with many opportunities to work with that kind of space in your career. It was a marquee deal and a global flagship for the tenant, and the interior landmarked space really works – another rare quality of the transaction. The deal involved me in more construction than I had been involved with previously, which was an incredible learning experience. Because of the new tenant and the interior landmarks, everyone from both the brokerage side and the client side has been really involved to make sure this successfully gets to opening, and it’s been really fun to work on.
What opportunities do you see for women in the CRE industry?
Throughout my career I’ve been involved in women’s professional organizations like New York Women’s Executives in Real Estate (WX) and Cushman & Wakefield’s Women’s Integrated Network (WIN) that have provided my female colleagues and me with great opportunities in the commercial real estate industry. I think they offer great connectivity and opportunity to build strong friendships with other women both within Cushman & Wakefield and throughout the industry. My involvement with WX connected me to Joanne, so obviously the women-for-women environment has provided incredible growth potential, and I think other women starting out in the industry will benefit from these as well. The goal of organizations like WIN and WX is to give people the resources they need when they need it, and with these resources, your opportunities are endless.
What do you like most about working for Cushman & Wakefield?
Working at Cushman & Wakefield provides me with a vast network of professionals that are experts in their fields. It is amazing how many specializations are represented within the firm, and this global platform gives me endless opportunities to learn. There is a staggering amount of energy in our office and in an environment like this the day-to-day never gets dull.