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One-on-one with Jessica Tonjes: 'At the end of the day, people know the last name but I still try to forge my own way'


Shelby Perea
Real Estate Reporter, Albuquerque Business First

Tonjes: it's a name Albuquerque knows well with Gary Tonjes as the president of Albuquerque Economic Development. But it's also a name Albuquerque's real estate industry was introduced to throughout the year, as Gary Tonjes' daughter Jessica Tonjes made a big career shift.

Jessica Tonjes was previously in the nonprofit realm for about four years, serving as the membership and communications manager for Explora Science Center and Children's Museum of Albuquerque and as the director of development at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. But she has since joined Cauwels & Stuve Realty & Development Advisors LLC as an associate broker, seeking a change and something out of her comfort zone.

From nonprofit to real estate

"I thought someone would be a better fit at it," she said about leaving her previous positions.

She found herself on the hunt for a new career and reached out to Cauwels & Stuve Principal and Founder Jeff Stuve, asking for an inside look into real estate.

"I told him to give me the good, the bad and the ugly," she laughed.

After an initial meeting, Stuve asked Jessica Tonjes to meet the team – something she called "an accidental interview." From there, she said, she must have hit it off with the other brokers because she was given a job offer.

The company is No. 11 on our Commercial Real Estate Firms List with $21.5 million in 2016 commercial transactions value.

Since accepting, Jessica Tonjes said it's been a big shift, but one that allowed her to hone a skill set she already had including being flexible with changing markets and working in sales. New things she enjoys about her role include each day being a little different, getting to meet so many new people and getting the inside scoop on Albuquerque.

"For our age group, we don't have to be stuck on one career track," she said. "We are more fluid with our career."

But for now Jessica Tonjes says she is enjoying the real estate world and "could see this being a long-term career."

How she got here

While Jessica Tonjes was born in Missouri, Albuquerque has become her home and she said she has no plans on leaving the state, citing the love of the outdoors and New Mexican food as big factors.

The 28-year-old received her bachelors degree from the University of New Mexico in communications. She said she was inspired by her father who was also a communications major and she knew it would be a versatile field of study. Her age and that versatility were factors in her career swap as well, she explained.

Throughout her career and her life, she noted Gary Tonjes was always supportive without pushing her to be too much like him. She recalled some of his advice has stuck with her today including: "To those who much is given, much is expected."

"At the end of the day, people know the last name but I still try to forge my own way," Jessica Tonjes said.

What you didn't know about her

As if she didn't have a full plate already, Jessica Tonjes told Business First she also has had a wedding planning business on the side for about 1.5 years.

Jessica Tonjes is an associate broker at Cauwels & Stuve Realty & Development Advisors LLC.

Cauwels & Stuve Realty, local investors scoop up office building


December 22, 2017
Shelby Perea
Real Estate Reporter, Albuquerque Business First

Jeff Stuve, principal and founder at Cauwels & Stuve Realty & Development Advisors LLC, has noticed something on the rise in the 505.

Stuve is seeing more and more local investors scooping up real estate that was once owned by institutional investors. He cited the Uptown area and the North Interstate 25 corridor, saying so much of those properties are under local control. He's been in the business a long time, having an over 25-year career in commercial real estate, according to his company profile, but this trend is happening more and more in recent years.

Now, he is also able to add one of his most recent purchases as an example of this trend.

Stuve told Albuquerque Business First that Cauwels & Stuve along with other local investors finalized a deal on a building at 8801 Horizon Blvd on Tuesday. The building was bought out of foreclosure for an undisclosed amount.

He has had a history with this building, having been apart of its construction in the 1990s and handling its leasing and management since then.

He was interested in buying because of its quality and how well it has done on the market in the past.

Stuve said UnitedHealthcare is the largest tenant at the approximately 130,000-square-foot building, also noting it's 70 percent occupied. He said the building lends itself toward "sophisticated users with technology requirements."

Under the new ownership, he doesn't anticipate many changes, saying foreseen construction will revolve around tenant improvements. Cauwels & Stuve Realty will be taking over the leasing and property management.

The company is No. 11 on our Commercial Real Estate Firms List with $21.5 million in 2016 commercial transactions value.


Pictured is 8801 Horizon Blvd., which Cauwels & Stuve Realty & Development Advisors LLC among other local investors bought this month.

Former nonprofit building finds second life as co-working space


December 21, 2017
Shelby Perea
Real Estate Reporter, Albuquerque Business First

The co-working trend is continuing to grow. The Entrepreneur reported globally the number of co-working hubs should spike from 11,300 in 2016 to 13,800 by the end of this year. And Albuquerque is no exception with co-working on the rise in the Duke City too.

Capitalizing on this wave are Mike Fietz and Mark Thompson, who just scooped up the former Futures for Children building at 9600 Tennyson St. NE with plans to create a beehive of entrepreneurship.

Fietz and Thompson – friends for about 35 years – were on the hunt for real estate after Fietz's home building company, Westway Homes, needed office space. That's how the pair found the Tennyson building off Tramway Road.

They said they saw the investment opportunity as a chance to bring the building back to life.

Fietz and Thompson formed Tramway Plaza LLC, which finalized the building purchase on Friday. The listing price was $1.4 million. Thompson, of Cauwels & Stuve Realty and Development Advisor, was the selling broker.

"The building really lends itself for coworking," said Fietz, describing the 16,000-square-foot building with conference rooms, courtyards and 32 open desks.

Anchor tenant Westway Homes will take about 1,500 square feet with the rest up for lease. Lease rates range from $200 to $500 a month. Thompson and Jessica Tonjes, who is also at Cauwels & Stuve Realty and Development Advisors, will serve as the leasing brokers.

A workout facility, full kitchen and tech-centric amenities are on the docket. Fietz and Thompson also envision a restaurant or taproom operating out of the building.

Down Tramway Road is another co-working community, FreeRange Spaces' northeast location. The owners say Tramway Plaza will have a different model with more "upscale amenities," bringing in different business.

Cosmetic construction – being worked on by Westway – is underway at the 3.5-acre property and is expected to be completed by the spring.

Owners Mike Fietz and Mark Thompson scooped up the former Futures for Children building at 9600 Tennyson Street Northeast with plans to create a beehive of entrepreneurship.

C&S signs Kokopelli Animal Clinic at Ladera Center

Veterinarian Beth Stowell will be opening her new venture, Kokopelli Animal Clinic, at 3301 Coors Blvd. NE in early 2018. Dr. Stowell is eager to bring “local business attitude” to pet healthcare on the Westside. The clinic will offer a full range of services, from annual exams and vaccines to surgery, dentistry, and diagnostics. With a new lease just signed, she says there is “still so much to do but we have a good plan and some great people working with us to make it into a reality!” Dr. Stowell invites pet owners to follow Kokopelli on Facebook and visit their new website. http://kokopellivet.com/

Nevada-based co. on warehouse woes and expanding in ABQ


October 24, 2017
Shelby Perea
Real Estate Reporter, Albuquerque Business First

Brady Industries is growing but finding real estate that would foster the growth spurt hasn't been easy, the janitorial equipment supplier said.

Brady Regional Manager Mark Stanger said the Las Vegas-based company will be leaving 5801 Office Blvd., where it has been located for over 10 years, and head to a bigger space at 8600 San Mateo Blvd., increasing its Albuquerque location by 10,000 square feet. The goal is to have the move wrapped up by the end of November.

While Stanger said moving has been stressful, he said finding a warehouse in northeast Albuquerque also had its hurdles.

Brady had been considering changing its real estate situation for about six years, Stanger said, and with the company's lease up at the former location it was time to seriously start hunting.

"We started to look at the very limited warehouse space," he said.

Stanger said he found a variety of warehouse space on the Westside but needed to be in a different part of town for his customer base. Brady is leasing at the San Mateo location because it is convenient for customers with easy access to the interstate. Terms of the lease were not disclosed.

"It's not as competitively priced as we would've liked," said Stanger about finding a warehouse.

He also noted a lot of warehouse space in Albuquerque is about 10 percent office space and he needed 20 percent.

Stanger – who has done business for Brady in Phoenix – found it more difficult looking for new property in Albuquerque, citing an inventory issue.

"There just hasn't been a demand for Albuquerque," he said.

Albuquerque has a 6.6 percent vacancy rate in its industrial market with a median asking lease rate of $6.99 per square foot, according to a CBRE market report for this year's second quarter. Office-warehouse specific real estate had an 8.4 percent vacancy rate.