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Monika Hartman, Senior General Manager | Fifth + Broadway, Northwood Retail

Tell us about yourself?
I’ve been in property management since 2011, starting my journey in Anchorage, Alaska managing Class A office buildings. During that time, I earned my Certified Property Manager credentials through the Institute of Real Estate Management before transplanting to Nashville in 2017. Talk about different markets! I’ve managed all types of assets during my time in the field, from medical buildings to Class A office to industrial assets. All roads led to my current specialty of Mixed-Use at the asset that is Fifth + Broadway.

I was lucky to start from the ground up with an amazing company, which afforded me the opportunity to build my skills and career very organically, and I’ve been lucky to grow in the industry with some great leaders. Having a background in customer service really helps me provide excellent client and tenant service. I truly thrive when I get to be proactive, and build processes and procedures that contribute to operational excellence, and I’m happy to take on any opportunity to lead! I have found true fulfillment in leading through change. I’ve done this by spearheading a digitizing initiative combined with migrating management software and navigating my current team through a major property disposition in 2022.

Last year, I was recognized as a subject matter expert in the retail sector and had the opportunity to speak on a panel of experts in the industry. This year, I’m excited to join the Nashville Downtown Partnership Board of Directors to contribute to the great work that is improving our downtown neighborhood for business, residents, and all types of visitors.

My approach to managing property and property operations is solution-focused and excellence obsessed. This philosophy was born from my personal passion of health and fitness. Like many things in life, my relationship to different types of fitness has changed over time, but it’s still a huge part of my life. The principles that are necessary to achieve tough goals in fitness are directly applicable to solving problems at work. The confidence that you build through doing “hard things” is as valuable with professional pursuits as it is with physical ones. I used to coach individuals in CrossFit and now I get to use those skills to coach the best team in the business.

Tell us about your business/industry?
The commercial real estate industry is incredibly dynamic and crucial to driving economic development and shaping communities. It includes asset types like office, retail, industrial, multifamily, hospitality and special purpose facilities like entertainment and mixed-use. The industry as a whole is influenced by economic factors and conditions can vary widely by market. Nashville’s popularity as a place to live, work, play and invest helps insulate us from some of the more concerning macroeconomic trends that other markets experience.

My company, Northwood Retail, was established by Northwood Investors, a privately-held, global real estate investment and management firm. The platform currently leases, manages, and markets a portfolio of community and mixed-use properties across the United States, with a concentration in Texas, California, Colorado, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

My property, Fifth + Broadway, combines office, retail, and multi-family to create a mixed-use asset that transformed downtown Nashville when it opened in 2021. The project is built on the 6.2 acre site of the previous Nashville Convention Center. It was designed to be a highly unique multi-use development strategically located in the heart of downtown Nashville. Fifth + Broadway is home to many amazing companies and brands in both the office and retail components.

What should we know about you?
I have really high standards, but I hold myself to them, too. My loyalty and generosity are some of my favorite traits. I’m passionate about my work and very protective of the people who trust me to lead them. I’m committed to continuous improvement, so much so that I can struggle with enjoying the accomplishments. I’m tough, but fair. I’m sporty but not athletic (I can’t throw a ball to save my life!) I’m a great driver, but not as good at parking. Sweets over savory any day. If you need something from me, bring me a cookie and ask about my dog! haha

How did you get to your current position?
I did some soul searching in 2020 (didn’t we all?) and identified what it was about my industry that I enjoyed and I created a plan to get back to that. I wanted to manage more than just a property, but an entire operation that contributed to a city and a neighborhood in a unique way. That led me to the management position at Fifth + Broadway. I went on the offensive and made it my mission to get the job because I knew I was the best person for it. The rest, as they say, is history.

What value do you see in Chamber involvement?
The team at the Chamber is incredible at supporting and driving economic growth. The connections that are created through opportunities for engagement are endless. From small business to large, the Chamber has resources for support and leadership. Membership is invaluable.

What do you enjoy most about being a leader?
The thing I enjoy most about being a leader is watching people grow and achieve big things. I have a special skill where I can see what a person or team is capable of, even if they can’t. It’s amazing what we are all capable of when we believe in one another. Building the confidence of others is incredibly rewarding. I wouldn’t be here without the amazing leaders who supported and challenged me and I hope that those I get to lead will pay it forward as well.

What makes Nashville a great place to work? Commercially speaking, market conditions vary widely by location, and Nashville’s popularity for tourism and relocation insulates it a bit from less favorable macroeconomic factors. The city has developed really fun neighborhoods organically over time which makes it an attractive destination to live, work, play, and invest. The higher education and valuation of the arts boost the economy long-term. Above all else, it’s the people. Doing business in Nashville is about communities and neighborhoods made up of people who truly care and are personally invested in the success of this city.

What are key trends in your industry?
In commercial real estate, it’s all about the experience. For office towers, what differentiates the experience of working in one building over another? Things like gyms, healthy food access, entertainment, activities, and ways to create community—these are all crucial right now. For retail areas, how can you activate spaces to create unique experiences that are more than shopping and dining? For apartment buildings, what do your residents have access to here that they don’t anywhere else.

That’s what makes Fifth + Broadway so fun to be a part of. We have a lot of amenities for those that live and work here, and the proximity to the retail component, Bridgestone, the Ryman and the rest of lower Broadway allows for really exciting and unique opportunities for engagement.

What do you like to do in your spare time outside of work? Where will we find you on the weekends?
Outside of work, you can find me on a greenway listening to electronic dance music playlists while I train for a half marathon. When I’m not there, I’m strength training in my home gym, playing with my adopted pup, Ziggy, and dabbling in some pretty terrible, but fun, artwork to calm my mind. I always like to have a trip on the horizon, anything from a long weekend on the beach (currently counting down to this), a visit with family, or an African safari I’m planning for next year (eek!). And I adore my time with friends, which you have to be so intentional about when everyone is so busy!