Former JLL broker looks to grow multifamily portfolio in the northeast

A former JLL executive has ventured into independent property ownership and management in the Philadelphia area under the name Love Communities.

Mark Thomson, a real estate professional with a 15-year background in brokerage firms has a portfolio comprising 1,400 multifamily units across 12 properties located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

“I just kind of built this portfolio on the side. It’s been a side business for me,” Thomson told the outlet “I was buying a couple deals per year and I turned it into this. If now I focus 100 percent of my energy on just this and probably get a lot more family time in the mix as well, that’s the reason behind all of it.”

Thomson, who previously served as the co-office head of JLL Philadelphia Capital Markets, has plans to grow his portfolio to 5,000 units regionally over the next five to 10 years. 

His company’s focus will be on suburban apartment complexes with garden-style units, typically consisting of 110 to 190 units. These properties are large enough to justify on-site property management but avoid direct competition with larger national property owners.

Love Communities has assembled a team that includes President Heather Pushinsky, who previously worked with Thomson at JLL, and will oversee daily operations, technology innovation, marketing, human resources, finance, and business development. 

Jay Thomson, Mark’s brother, will lead the company’s construction management division, using his experience from overseeing renovations and repositioning of seven properties since 2018.

Rachel Culling, with extensive experience in property management, will head Love Communities’ property management team. This well-rounded team will enable Mark Thomson to focus on acquiring new properties and growing the portfolio.

Thomson’s choice of properties includes those in quality school districts, areas with robust local employment, proximity to public transportation, and hospitals. His strategy often targets properties built in the 1970s and 1980s, as these longtime owners may be ready to sell.

Love Communities’ existing holdings feature an emphasis on outdoor amenities such as grills, fire pits, and landscaping, reflecting a commitment to enhancing tenant experiences. Thomson’s long-term vision involves purchasing properties with one or two like-minded investors for a sustained, quality ownership approach.

Looking ahead, Love Communities is exploring potential growth in Central and Western Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and Ohio. The company aims to secure assets it can hold for the long term, leveraging its team’s expertise and Thomson’s acquisition capabilities.

Thomson’s transition from brokerage to property ownership and management aligns with his goal of dedicating more time to this venture and achieving a balanced work-life dynamic while building a robust real estate portfolio.

— Ted Glanzer

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