Annual Real Estate Report: Top Selling Individual - Macon Lovelace
By Amanda Capps
On a typical day at Trinity Partners in Columbia, Macon Lovelace is easy to find. He works in an open area of the Main Street office he calls “the bullpen,” along with three fellow partners and a number of staff members.
“This is not a place where certain people come in, head straight to big, private offices and close the doors,” he said. “I work in a six-by-six cubicle. We’re spread out somewhat, but we can easily communicate. We’re very open, which is one thing that sets us apart.”
Specializing in sales and leasing of office, investment and 1031 exchange properties, along with development sites, Lovelace began his career in banking. As an international business major in college, his initial plans were quite different, but he was soon drawn to real estate investments — so much so that he gave up a full-time salary and benefits to pursue his calling when an opportunity arose with NAI Avant.
“I made the jump 15 years ago and have never regretted it,” Lovelace said.
Despite the pandemic that ravaged countless companies, 2020 was one of Lovelace’s top three years as a broker. Expanding his business model a few years ago, he began working with investors on 1031 exchange properties and a variety of projects that called for a more holistic approach. At the time, corporate leasing was at the forefront, but he wisely steered away from sole dependence on transaction volume driven by those renewals and new leasing of large spaces.
“With the investment platform, I get to use my banking background, kind of like being a stockbroker, finding potential investments for clients, adding diversity to their portfolios and assessing risk,” Lovelace said.
Lovelace mentioned his father, a real estate attorney, when discussing professional ethics. He said putting clients’ interests first has fostered trust and generated repeat business.
“Essentially, my dad taught me to always take the hard right versus the easy wrong, and in the long run, you will see how it pays off,” he said.
Since opening, Lovelace and his partners have added 18 employees and plan to expand their property management department. Eventually, they aim to create construction and project management divisions as they grow their Columbia and South Carolina portfolio. In 2018, they considered a startup venture but were well aware of the rigors of getting established.
“I pictured my wife driving around photographing properties with a 3- and 4-year-old in the back of the car and myself as the weekend IT guy setting up the copier . . . I didn’t think this was the path my partners and I wanted to forge,” Lovelace said. “We could have been a four-man shop, but when we started talking with Trinity, we knew it was the right match as they looked to open a South Carolina office.”
The culture Lovelace promotes has partners taking on larger and more challenging opportunities while mentoring newer associates working through traditional brokerage roles, as opposed to leaving them to figure out the business on their own. In turn, he appreciates the support of his partners in Charlotte and Raleigh.
“It’s nice to have that institutional depth, experienced people who can coach us through some of the complexities we don’t run into on a regular basis in Columbia,” he said.
Speaking of those “complexities,” Lovelace joked that there’s much more to his business than “selling dirt and writing contracts.” The many people for whom his business acumen and diligence have been pivotal would agree. With hundreds of millions in transactions and many awards to his credit, he said the satisfaction of making a difference for his clients is immeasurable.