Washington University Chancellor of Real Estate receives Woman of Influence honors
The St. Louis chapter of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) honored members at its 14th Annual Networking Awards held on March 5 at The Saint Louis Woman’s Club. In addition to members, CREW-St. Louis presented its fourth annual Woman of Influence Award. The award recognizes a female leader who has impacted the commercial real estate industry through her leadership, accomplishments and service to the St. Louis region.
Monica Adams, Fox 2 News morning traffic anchor and community affairs reporter, served as the evening’s master of ceremonies.
The awards revolve around CREW-St. Louis’ mission to advance, educate and support women to influence the commercial real estate industry. Those honored in 2019 were:
Woman of Influence: Mary B. Campbell, Associate Chancellor for Real Estate, Washington University
Campbell had more than two decades of experience in real estate development, finance and management when Washington University enlisted her to run its massive off-campus real estate venture. She accepted the position of assistant vice chancellor of real estate in April 2009.
Since then, she has been responsible for overseeing more than 1,300 units for student housing, one million square feet of administrative and academic space for more than 1,100 employees, and community-based retail.
Her involvement in marquee projects include the Lofts of Washington University in the Delmar Loop. The complex offers both apartments and townhomes, as well as amenity and community space, for university students.
The Lofts project also was designed to serve the community and the vibrant Loop business district. A comprehensive community planning process identified gaps in service, such as a grocery store, so the retail space could address the needs of the adjoining neighborhoods.
She also spearheaded the historic renovation of the former Shriner’s Hospital and Central Institute for the Deaf buildings on the Washington University Medical Center campus to create 177 apartments and hotel units. These projects include an array of amenities, such as a fitness center, music and game rooms, and a commercial kitchen, to serve students on the university’s Medical Campus.
Other off-campus projects include the renovation of the historic Crescent Building in the Cortex Innovation District. This provides affordable lab and office space for biotech start-up companies.
Under her guidance, more than 1,100 apartment units have been renovated over a six-year period, with a total investment exceeding $250 million. These residential projects bring new life to four neighborhoods in the City and University City. All were designed to ensure that they blend in with the area and provide opportunity to spur growth.
Before joining the university, she had already built a remarkable career and legacy in the commercial real estate industry. She spent more than 25 years as a leader in housing and community development in the region. Projects in the region included the acquisition and redevelopment of the University Lofts, a warehouse conversion on Washington Avenue; the acquisition of Cupples Station, a 12-acre site in Downtown St. Louis containing vacant, turn‐of‐the‐century brick warehouses; and the development of new, single family homes in Wellston and the city’s West End neighborhood.
New Member of the Year: Jenna Knatt, Account Manager, CI Select
Knatt began playing a leading role on the communications committee after joining CREW-St. Louis last August. She oversees all of the organization’s social media outreach. She continually creates content to generate interest in the organization, with weekly posts on upcoming programs and key accomplishments by its members. She also informs her audience of trends and major news impacting the commercial real estate industry and the region.
CREW Impact Award: Ms. Ann Schmelzle, Balke Brown Transwestern
Schmelzle was honored for her ability to move the organization’s goals and mission forward. She always lends a hand to her fellow members. She also excels in her ability to provide solutions for her clients, oftentimes by bringing CREW-St. Louis members onboard.
She has served in many roles as a board member, CREW Network delegate and committee chair.
As the chapter’s president in 2011, she consistently reinforced the value of mentoring. She believes that mentorship is a large part of success and emulates leadership. As part of this, she created the chapter’s Legacy Advisory Board to capture the experience and expertise of longstanding CREW-St. Louis members.
Economic Impact: Kimberly McKinney, Habitat for Humanity St. Louis; Lauren A. Talley, Cushman Wakefield; Linda Loewenstein, Lawrence Group; and Margaret MacDonald, HOK
(Habitat for Humanity’s New Headquarters and ReStore)
The award honors a development project that impacts a community and the CREW-St. Louis members who played a pivotal role in the completion of the new headquarters for Habitat for Humanity.
After selling its former headquarters on Forest Park Avenue in April 2017, Habitat was on a tight timeframe to relocate. With the clock ticking to find a new home, a 41-year-old building in the city’s Dutchtown area became available in November 2017. Habitat was able to purchase the 51,000 square- foot facility from Schnuck Markets, including a charitable contribution from the hometown food retailer.
Construction and remodeling were put on a fast track. And by April 2018, Habitat for Humanity had a new home to carry on its mission.
While the overall dollar amount of the project may seem small, its completion brings enormous impact in many ways. The $2.5 million project provides a community anchor in what was a vacant and underutilized building in south St. Louis. There’s an outparcel that will eventually serve the community’s needs. And the project will spur redevelopment in this area of the city.
Its 10,300 square-foot office space houses seven private offices, a multipurpose room, three conference rooms, a break room and 2,500 square feet of open office space. The new space also holds a 14,600 square foot warehouse and fabrication shop including truck access and a loading dock.
Inside the new headquarters, there’s a nearly 21,000 square foot ReStore, chockful of donated goods. The store features new and gently used home improvement products and building materials for purchase. The ReStore provides revenue to fulfill Habitat for Humanity’s mission. The bigger store expanded its customer base and generated more than $500,000 during its first 10 months of operation.
Several CREW-St. Louis members played a key role in helping the organization find and build its impressive headquarters.
Loewenstein from the Lawrence Group was Board President during the relocation and worked with McKinney throughout the project. Loewenstein’s design expertise assisted in working closely with the design and construction team to help procure donations of products such as flooring, paint and office furnishings. And she worked closely with Lawrence Group on their donation of graphic/branding design.
Talley from Cushman and Wakefield helped with due diligence in making sure the site met Habitat’s needs. She then served as project manager, overseeing architectural design and construction. She worked with subcontractors who generously donated time and materials to assist Habitat.
MacDonald with HOK worked on all aspects of the project design, including developing a program of needs and square footage requirements to better explore options. HOK collaborated with Habitat on the design, provided construction documents and developed the environmental graphics.
Career Advancement for Women: Karen Karwoski, Simmons Bank
CREW-St. Louis members recognized Karwoski for her constant efforts to support and advance the careers of women in commercial real estate. Since joining CREW-St. Louis 15 years ago, she has immersed herself in elevating the status of women in commercial real estate.
She has done so by chairing or serving on numerous committees – Awards, CREW Careers, Membership and Finance. She has served and continues to serve as a key member on the Executive Board. This included an expanded stint as President from July 2014 to the end of 2015.
A consummate mentor to many fellow members, she was chosen last year to launch the chapter’s formal Mentorship Program. She rallied the task force and worked tirelessly to devise and promote the inaugural program. This included making sure mentors were carefully matched with mentees to ensure both parties received benefits and met their objectives. The program’s success led to this year’s Mentorship Program, and she serves as a liaison to the committee charged with its implementation.
CREW-St. Louis is one of the largest of CREW Network’s global chapters. Its more than 200 members come from all disciplines in commercial real estate. The mission of CREW-St. Louis is to advance, educate and support women to influence the region’s commercial real estate industry. For more information, visit www.crewstl.org. Follow CREW-St. Louis on Twitter @CREWSTL.