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Familiar territory marks Tham's latest career move: Mack Tham, investment specialist, Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.

On a hiatus from the private sector and working at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Mack Tham was instrumental in finding the space that now serves as Marcus & Millichap's Brooklyn office. Who knew that, years later, the real estate investment firm would be the latest endeavor in Tham's decorated career in the business.

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Tham, an investment specialist for Marcus & Millichap, has the ironic distinction of now working for a firm he helped attract to downtown Brooklyn--to S.L. Green's 16 Court Street--when he worked at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, serving as a liaison between developers, government agencies and the greater community.

"My goal was to show the spotlight on Brooklyn," Tham added.

It was a goal that proved successful, as new business is beginning to flourish in downtown Brooklyn. As director of real estate and development at the Chamber of Commerce, Tham not only assisted in attracting new business, but also worked to reduce vacancy rates, improve tenant retention and provide incentives for developers.

But the worldly Tham, born and raised in Singapore, worked in a variety of global markets before ultimately landing in New York.

He left Singapore to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Calgary, in Canada. After graduating he continued his education with a Master of Science degree in real estate development from the National University of Singapore. First getting his feet wet in his home country, Tham took a property manager position for the Singapore-based global transportation group Neptune Orient Lines--a position that afforded him the opportunity to travel throughout diverse global markets, including the United States.

Working for Neptune's U.S. subsidiary, he assisted in forming a management team for 15 Exchange Place in Jersey City, N.J. Under his guidance, the 123,000 s/f waterfront property achieved 81% occupancy within 18 months. But, more importantly, the project introduced him to the U.S. market, where he immersed himself in the competitive real estate scene and earned a Master's degree in real estate development from Columbia University.

Managing office, residential and hotel assets in Singapore, Indonesia and America presented its challenges but Tham said adapting to diverse markets came naturally, along with his global perspective. "I think people from Singapore, we're very aware of what's happening around the world," he said.

Mack also spent three years supervising the development and management of the first ever class A office properties in both Saigon and Vung Tau City, in Vietnam. He worked closely with the Vietnamese government; he also spearheaded lease negotiations, service contracts, expense reductions and property enhancement, which, in turn, improved tenant retention and property value. Tham was able to help attract world-class tenants like HSBC Bank, Unocal, Barings Bank and Henkel.

After relocating to New York, Tham left Neptune to take an asset manager position at FGHP Investments. There he was responsible for overseeing a seven-property portfolio consisting of 600,000 s/f of retail, office and industrial space. He was also charged with supervising the development of a 21,000 s/f shopping center and a 78,000 s/f industrial site.

But most recently, Tham served as director of sales at Massey Knakal Realty Services, where he worked the Flushing, Queens market. After spending two years there, he was eager to leave the territorial real estate system behind and joined Marcus & Millichap late last year.

"It doesn't restrict me," Tham said of the business structure at Marcus & Millichap. "I can re-tool my whole plan and be more client centric. I can follow where my clients decide to go."

At Marcus & Millichap Tham plans to focus on income-producing properties and calls the multifamily investment market his "bread and butter." He also remains active in a variety of other industry endeavors.

Tham serves as a coordinator for the Urban Land Institute's Urban Plan II program, which teaches high school students the process of urban development. He serves on the board of directors for the Chinese-American Real Estate Association, and on the board of trustees for the Queens Botanical Garden. He is also a member of the Real Estate Board of New York, Young Real Estate Professionals of New York, The Municipal Arts Society of New York, Zoning for Jobs, Green Drinks, Flushing Town Hall, as well as a founding committee member of the International Council of Shopping Center's New York City Alliance Program.

He enjoys spending his free time with his family or cooking.
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Title Annotation:PROFILE OF THE WEEK
Comment:Familiar territory marks Tham's latest career move: Mack Tham, investment specialist, Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.(PROFILE OF THE WEEK)
Author:Turcotte, Jason
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Feb 4, 2009
Words:738
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