When someone told a young Marrissa Chanin she could be a “chip off the old block,” she took that to heart and is now renting out “blocks” of real estate. On March 11 the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors in its Virtual Million Dollar Club event presented first place honors in its retail division to Chanin, daughter of well- known landlord Ron Chanin.
This was no walk in the park, as Marrissa started at an entry-level position at Riverwood Properties, LLC, and pounded the pavement, made thousands of calls and earned her stripes as director of leasing and tenant rep.
“I won the award because I work hard and created a substantial amount of activity.”
Marrissa is particularly proud of landing two tenants: Wingstop and Jersey Mike’s Subs at Fuqua Development’s the Exchange @ Gwinnett. She elaborates, “I do both tenant and landlord work, which differs quite a bit. I am constantly on the phone and driving. I can take anywhere between 30 to 100 calls a day and more than that in emails. Nothing “falls into my lap.” I am always reaching out to potential new clients. I spend half the week in the car driving as well as in client meetings.”
Learn about her journey:
AJT: What is your background?
Chanin: My family has been in Atlanta for many generations, so growing up here was a great experience. As a child, there was always something going on because I was one of four siblings. We all attended The Galloway School from 2 on, and weekend life centered around Or VeShalom. Interestingly, my great-great-grandfather helped start the synagogue. After Galloway, I graduated from College of Charleston (‘09.)
AJT: How did your father influence you?
Chanin: My dad started his firm in 1994, specializing in the development of unanchored shopping centers. He has high expectations with an ability to see capabilities in others. He encourages me to try harder and go “above and beyond.” Like a good coach, he shows the way, but made me do the work.”
AJT: How would you assess doing well in 2020, the COVID year?
Chanin: Until I saw the numbers, I didn’t think 2020 was a great year. On the ground, it really didn’t seem like it was playing out well. Because of the pandemic, there were just so many struggles. Leasing was at a complete standstill for over a quarter. I spent most of that time working with our existing tenants on pandemic-induced concessions and deferments. Throughout the shutdown, you’d find me in my son’s playroom with my laptop or taking him on walks while on calls. His nap time became my get-it-done time! Dad was able to coach me on the ‘08 downturn and his experiences with other real estate crises. That gave me the drive to push forward.
AJT: How do you see 2021 playing out?
Chanin: 2021 should fare better than 2020. Working both the landlord and tenant side, I see several avenues. From the landlord’s side, rent collections are picking up and tenants are showing increased optimism. From the tenant’s perspective, it has been a busy first quarter helping clients expand and find new locations. For established operators, there’s good opportunity in the fast casual space.
AJT: Describe your progression at Riverwood.
Chanin: A little over 10 years ago, I began as a front desk secretary. I had a lot to prove, so I did everything I could to learn the industry. It was only over time that I branched out into other aspects.
I have a 20-month-old who keeps me on my toes. He’s what you’d call a “mover and a shaker.” I love spending every minute outside of work with him, husband Jack and our two dogs.
AJT: Do you think females have an equal playing field in commercial real estate?
Chanin: No, it’s very clear that we have a harder time in all avenues of business, not just commercial real estate. I see that as an opportunity, and one that I think Riverwood has benefited heavily from. The majority of Riverwood is female, and my fellow partner is also a full-time working mom. While I do believe that we’re not taken as seriously sometimes because we’re women, we haven’t let that stop us. I might even say that drives us!
Dad Ron concluded, “I am very proud of Marrissa. She has worked very hard to learn the business and earn her award. She could and would perform well in any company. Some day she will run Riverwood, and I will be happy to see that.”