It has been almost nine years since Sharon Morrison co-founded real estate firm esrp. Today the firm has six partners, including Morrison, and has grown to include 24 brokers. The company established its headquarters at The Star in Frisco—and even more recently, announced a second office location at HALL Arts in the Dallas Arts District.
Morrison has paid her dues in commercial real estate, starting out at The Staubach Co. in the industrial division at a time when women on that side of the business were few and far between. She moved over to Transwestern to expand its industrial team shortly after JLL purchased The Staubach Cos. in 2008. Morrison’s recent real estate transactions at esrp include the sale of two distribution centers in Texas and a warehouse consolidation for Neiman Marcus Group totaling around 1.5 million square feet and a lease renewal for insurer Holmes Murphy & Associates’ Dallas offices.
At the helm of a thriving North Texas firm, Morrison sat down with D CEO to share her thoughts about competing in one of the most active commercial real estate markets in the country.
D CEO: Along with leading your firm, you’re an active dealmaker. What are some of your strategies for being a successful player-coach?
SHARON MORRISON: “It’s all about your team. Surround yourself with excellent people and ensure that they’re in the right positions for success.
And then never stop networking. Real estate is all about relationships. That helps foster that player-coach environment but keeps you in the game.”
D CEO: You’ve said that your firm’s culture is its guiding light. How have you been able to maintain culture in times of remote work?
MORRISON: “It sounds simple, but it is so important: We have a team meeting every Tuesday morning. I’ve spent my entire career having meetings every Tuesday morning. It ensures that everyone is on the same page, and no one is working in silos. During those meetings, we make sure to include “Brag Time,” to give thanks and build each other up.
We’re all navigating this pandemic together. So, when we went 100 percent remote, we made it a point to maintain that connection by picking up the phone and checking on our people.
And there are things you can do to get creative. We hosted socially distanced breakfast tacos for our employees in the parking lot. It’s important to do what you can to still bring people together safely. What we didn’t do is sit around.”
D CEO: You recently leased office space at HALL Arts in the Dallas Arts District. Why is it important for esrp to have a presence in both Frisco and Dallas?
MORRISON: “We have several employees in Frisco. We also have some in Dallas. We have some employees that go back and forth. We’re also growing and expanding. So, when we looked at it, it made sense to be where our employees and clients are.
We have this great space and a long-term lease at The Star that we love, but it also made sense for us to maintain an active Dallas presence, too.”
D CEO: You have a unique perspective as a highly active industrial and office broker. What’s the 2022 outlook for the industrial and office markets in Dallas-Fort Worth?
MORRISON: “Industrial right now is on fire. We have the most amount of new industrial construction in the country. It’s a good time to be in industrial.
On the office side, some of the new builds didn’t commence last year as planned. There is still a lot of sublease space on the market that is getting leased up. I think of the Reata Pharmaceuticals space coming back to the market at Legacy in Plano. I think it will be some time before we see office construction bounce back, but that’s not to say there aren’t people still building right now.”