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PYSK: James Alabach

Name: James Alabach

Title and company/organization: Owner, Michaelanne Inc. (real estate investments)

Age: 48

Job description: I’m a real estate developer. My work consists of leasing/developing existing retail real estate investments to enhance their value. Beyond working on my own investments, I work with landlords to lease their retail space and/or consult on future commercial retail developments.

Years lived in Columbia: 29

Original hometown: St. Louis

Education: B.S. in environmental sciences, University of Missouri

Professional background: Until this spring, I spent 26 years working for The Kroenke Group leasing and developing commercial retail real estate.

A favorite recent project: James River Commons Shopping Center located at the southwest corner of James River Freeway and Campbell Avenue in Springfield, Mo. Sam’s Club, Walmart Neighborhood Market and Academy Sports all anchor the development.

A Columbia businessperson I admire and why: Craig Van Matre. Craig is a local business attorney. He has been great with counseling my personal business along with retail real estate development projects for many years. Craig’s integrity is impeccable. As a wonderful person and incredible business attorney, I admire him greatly.

Why I’m passionate about my job: If you are willing to work and find them, the opportunities in commercial retail real estate are out there. You have to be able to pass on many deals before you find the one that will work for you. The time spent working on retail real estate opportunities, in most cases, is very fulfilling.

If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would: Be working in technology.

What people should know about this profession: You have to have a lot of patience and be able to think on your feet.

What I do for fun: I enjoy walking with my wife, Melissa, riding my mountain bike, playing mandolin and fly fishing.

Family: I have a wonderful wife, Melissa, whom I truly admire. (Melissa raised our boys. Once the boys were older, she started a successful retail store with her friend and partner Mary Stauffer. The store, Tallulah’s, is in downtown Columbia.) I also have two great sons: Logan, 16, who plays lacrosse and enjoys culinary endeavors, and Tyler, 15, who plays football and wrestles; both Logan and Tyler are avid fly fisherman.

Favorite place in Columbia: I have many favorite places, but of course the MU campus is always high on my list.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: Having developed a large (80-acre) retail real estate project that took more than five years to complete. The project was completed on budget and met our partnership pro forma returns.

Most people don’t know that I: In the early 1990s, I took mandolin lessons from Lee Ruth.

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