James has been active in multifamily, retail and commercial real estate since 1970 for successful developers and as owner of his own company in two states. He attended Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, as well as studies at Ohio State University and the University of Houston. In 1984, Mr. Barnett obtained his Ohio Real Estate Broker’s license, a Florida Real Estate Broker’s license in 1998 and an Alabama Real Estate Broker’s license in 2004. He continues actively licensed in all three states.
Real Estate Experience:
Mr. Barnett spent three years in the Hospitality Management Industry in Cleveland and Grand Rapids, Michigan, prior to entering the property management field with a Cleveland based developer, now known as the Zaremba Group. After two promotions in two years, he left Zaremba and formed his own real estate company in the Boston area ( Barsel Management Corp.), supervising new apartment construction, development and management in 4 Massachusetts communities.
In 1976, Mr. Barnett sold his Massachusetts Company and returned to Cleveland to rejoin Zaremba Group. In the next 19 years he served in various capacities for the growing Zaremba organization including Vice President of the Residential Division. At one point Mr. Barnett supervised over 9,000 multifamily units and over 2 million square feet of commercial space. Responsibilities included heading up the property management team, assisting Zaremba’s regional development partners in site selection, acquisition, lease-up and asset management. During this same period, he assisted in the sale and disposition of nearly 5,000 apartments. Many of the apartment communities were part of joint venture relationships with institutional investors and Mr. Barnett served as the Zaremba contact.
In 1995, after Zaremba had liquidated much of its apartment portfolio to concentrate on developing retail, big box centers, Mr. Barnett joined The Wilson Company in Tampa, Florida, in a similar position as Vice President-Residential Division. The Wilson Company was becoming one of Florida’s more active developers of Section 42, LIHTC apartment communities. Mr. Barnett served as a member of the site selection and design team for nearly 2,000 new LIHTC apartments in various Florida locations as well as heading up the property management operation. In 1997, Mr. Barnett left The Wilson Company and formed his owned firm, J. A. Barnett Realty Group, Inc. of Tampa. This company specializes in commercial real estate brokerage, consulting and property management.
Since 1997, Mr. Barnett has consulted for numerous government branches and private corporations including, Miami-Dade County in an eminent domain case, SMG Property Management of Sarasota, the Lindy Company of Philadelphia, Michigan Diversified Properties in Detroit, JER. Hudson Housing Capital, New York and many others.
Other Professional Experience:
Mr. Barnett has spent most of his professional career in real estate however, prior to this he spent over three years in the hospitality industry. He worked at Hospitality Motor Inns, a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Oil Company of Ohio (Now BP Oil) in various capacities as one of the early participants in their specialized Management Training Program tailored along the same lines as the Marriot training program. It was supervised by former Marriott executives. Mr. Barnett handled front office management responsibilities, auditing, food and beverage management and group sales.
In 1970, Mr. Barnett secured a one million dollar group booking for the Grand Rapids, Michigan, hotel setting a sales record at that time for Hospitality Motor Inns. Hospitality was later purchased by the Helmsley Group who continues to own and manage many of these same inns. The typical Hospitality Inn was a 150-room or larger full service hotel, with fine formal dining, cocktail lounge with live entertainment, a swim club and conference facilities for up to 400 attendees including full service banquet operations. Mr. Barnett assisted former President, Gerald Ford in hosting the Kent County Republican annual dinner in 1970 at the Grand Rapids hotel.
Mr. Barnett also is an active real estate investor in apartment communities, office buildings, condominiums and single family homes. As a real estate investor he has participated in many 1031 exchanges, completed condominium conversions and sales and advised other clients/investors on financing options and asset management.