Marty Mayer

Stirling Properties Announces President and CEO Marty Mayer to Retire, Townsend Underhill Named Successor



Stirling Properties announces that after 36 years of service, President and CEO Marty Mayer will retire at the end of 2023. At that time, Stirling’s current President of Development and Partner, Townsend Underhill, will assume the role of President and CEO. 


Since joining Stirling in 1986 and assuming the role of President in 2002 and CEO in 2006, Mayer has led Stirling through unprecedented growth, expansion, and diversification throughout the Gulf South.


“Leading Stirling Properties over the past 20 years has been one of the greatest honors and privileges of my lifetime,” Mayer stated. “I will be leaving Stirling with tremendous pride and satisfaction but also the utmost confidence in the company’s future and the great accomplishments yet to come.” 


Townsend Underhill states, “Under Marty’s leadership, Stirling has grown and established a unique and outstanding culture, and it will be my top priority to ensure it continues in our organization. Marty’s legacy will live on at Stirling for many years. Our entire Organization is grateful for Marty’s visionary leadership, and we wish him the very best in this next chapter,” 


“I am both humbled and honored to be asked to lead Stirling into the future by Marty and our fellow partners,” says Townsend Underhill. Since joining Stirling in 2007 and becoming a Partner in 2012, Townsend Underhill has been involved in most every facet of Stirling while overseeing the Development and Finance divisions. In Townsend’s current role as President of Development, Stirling’s product lines have diversified beyond retail and office to include healthcare, industrial, multi-family, single-family for rent, and more. “With Townsend as CEO and the extraordinary team in place, I am excited to see to what heights he leads Stirling into the next chapter,” stated Marty Mayer. 


Over the next year, Mayer and Underhill, along with Stirling’s leadership team, will work together to ensure a smooth leadership transition. 

December 6, 2022|Corporate, news|

President’s Message: The Butterfly Effect

Sometimes amidst all the noise, turmoil, and vitriol that seemingly bombard us endlessly, it can be difficult to pause and remember what’s truly important in life. And sometimes, that reminder can come in very unexpected ways.

Recently, I have been reminded of how our individual actions, albeit small at the time, can have a ripple effect on others without us even knowing it sometimes.

Thinking about this phenomenon reminded me of a lesson my mom used to teach us called “the butterfly effect.” So it goes, “an act as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can create a tsunami on the other side of the world.” (My mom always said she would come back as a butterfly—how fitting.)

The butterfly effect has become a common metaphor for how small, seemingly insignificant moments can alter history and shape destinies and how some ostensibly inconsequential acts or gestures can profoundly impact others and, therefore yourself.

Recently, this lesson was reaffirmed once again in the most unexpected way.

Inspired by my children, I penned a letter on social media questioning if one person’s voice could make a difference. The overwhelming response triggered a very unexpected series of events, new acquaintances, and unique experiences I would never have imagined. Two years later, that tsunami of events is still moving and growing and has ignited in me a passion for continuing to foster it.

This journey has led me to cross paths with and meet some incredible folks doing remarkable work. I have also had the opportunity to meet and mentor some extraordinary young people. Together, we have worked to help bridge differences and open up candid conversations among a diverse group of people, a focus that has become critical in today’s environment and extremely rewarding.

I am astonished as I sit back and think about how that one superficially small action has sparked so much positive momentum. I see the impact it has had on others and felt its effect on me.

So, if you, like me, ever sit back and wonder if you can make a difference in someone’s life, your community, industry, or workplace, you absolutely can. Every one of us has the power to impact our surroundings. Just start with one small thing, one action, or a nice gesture.

As my mom would say, go out and flap your wings! Because as the butterfly effect goes, you just may cause a tsunami of kindness, generosity, or joy in someone else’s life. You never know where that tsunami may lead.

July 20, 2022|Blog, President's Message|

President’s Message: The Death Knell of Retail Real Estate Is Exaggerated

Stirling Properties President;s Message

I am sure you have all read attention-grabbing news headlines such as these and share the same concerns regarding the future of retail real estate. In this new era of constant access to millions of digital media streams, dramatic headlines cut through the clutter and generate more attention. Drama sells. But despite all the negativity circulating, I am confident that the retail landscape is solid, and the death knell of brick-and-mortar stores is heavily exaggerated.

While there is no question that technology has disrupted the retail business via e-commerce, mobile devices, virtual shopping, etc., physical stores continue to dominate retail sales. Research shows that 78% of consumers prefer to shop in store and spend significantly more per month in a physical store than online. E-commerce, multiple fulfillment options, omnichannel retailing, and other technological advances are improving the brick-and-mortar shopping experience and boosting sales at physical stores.

Even though e-commerce sales are growing significantly (approximately 15% annually), the in-store vs. online struggle is not quite the battle that it is portrayed to be. E-commerce sales—combined with mail-order sales—account for less than 10% of total retail sales. Furthermore, it is estimated that over half of online sales actually go to brick-and-mortar retailers. Consumers are still buying from stores, but now they have more choices to compare prices, make transactions, and receive their goods. Major retailers such as Anthropologie and Nordstrom are effectively leveraging e-commerce sales to grow their business. Anthropologie notes that 36% of its total revenue is earned online and Nordstrom reports 22%. Successful retailers are learning to integrate online sales and omnichannel retailing.

However, in every industry, there will always be winners and losers. Companies must adapt to an evolving business climate. That includes retailers. Competition and shifting customer habits are hurting more merchants than the internet, and innovative new retail concepts are coming to market daily. Unfortunately, corporations like Blockbuster, Sports Authority, and The Limited did not survive the ever-changing retail industry. But on the flipside, stores such as Best Buy, Dollar General, Ross Dress For Less, TJX Cos. (T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods), ULTA Beauty, and countless others—most of which are in Stirling Properties’ portfolio—are all flourishing and rapidly expanding their physical presence. New-to-market retailers like Filson, Iron & Resin, KENZO, and Woolrich are getting in on the action. Even online retail-giant, Amazon, has taken note of the power of physical stores and rolled out brick-and-mortar expansion plans. Many other merchants with digital roots have followed the same path (i.e. “clicks-to-bricks”), such as Warby Parker, Fabletics, and Bonobos.

Similarly, there will be winners and losers as retail real estate investors and owners. Well located, solidly anchored centers are thriving, while Class-B and -C malls and poorly located centers are continually losing national tenants, struggling to fill empty spaces, and downsizing significantly. Some are failing altogether.

The bottom line is that consumer patterns and expectations have shifted. In this so-called “era of the high-maintenance consumer,” they demand value, convenience, multi-channel fulfillment options, and a unique, entertaining experience.

Well-located retail real estate with strong anchors is still a profitable investment option. Net absorption has been high, demand has been exceeding supply, and rents have been rising. Retail is yielding the best 20-year return of any property type due to a combination of strong fundamentals, favorable demographics, limited new supply, and cash flow growth potential. Secondary and tertiary markets are proving to be especially attractive for investors to buy value-add retail opportunities.

Retail real estate is not dying; it’s disrupted. Anyone with any involvement in the industry must embrace this changing landscape to be successful. We will continue to hear negative news and over-exaggerated headlines as the retail race endures, and more stores announce weak sales forecasts and closures. But disruption creates opportunity and a chance for reinvention. At Stirling Properties, we plan to take advantage of these opportunities to re-evaluate and enhance our portfolio and strategic growth plans.

We must ALL adapt and deliver…or get left behind!


April 10, 2017|Blog, President's Message, Retail Sales|

Forward New Orleans Coalition Releases Final Municipal Progress Report

Forward New Orleans Coalition Report

Forward New Orleans (FNO) is a broad coalition of 25 civic, neighborhood, and business organizations. The group is tasked with creating an issues-based platform designed to educate voters and engage candidates for mayor and city council in seeking to identify and implement best practices that will improve opportunities and the quality of life for the people of New Orleans.

The coalition secured dozens of pledges from Mayor Mitch Landrieu and New Orleans City Council members more than three years ago around a long list of important goals for the city’s civic life. This week, it issued a scorecard showing that city officials have lived up to more than half of their promises and are making progress on most of the rest. Of the 102 objectives listed for the candidates in 2014, the winners have fully met or are deemed highly likely to meet 54. Another 44 are in the works, while four were listed as unfulfilled.

The final report measures performance and progress in 11 different categories, including criminal justice and law enforcement, city finance, blight removal, economic development, and infrastructure. It highlights successes, such as NOPD’s use of advanced technology to help increase public safety and officer efficiency, teamwork between the Department of Public Works and Sewerage and Water Board to track a $2.4 billion infrastructure improvement plan through the interactive website, and renewed focus on economic opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses. But the coalition is also clear in its call for additional progress toward curbing violent crime, coordinating criminal justice agency resources, and implementing civil service reforms.

Click here to view an interview with FNO representatives on WWL-TV.

“Clearly, overall progress has been made, and a solid foundation has been laid on many fronts,” said Gregory Rusovich, Past Chair of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region and a Forward New Orleans coalition representative. “This progress is the result of a resilient and tenacious citizenry partnering with committed and dedicated political leadership.”

The report issued this week marks the group’s final scorecard for the current political cycle, as New Orleanians will be choosing a new mayor and council in October. Forward New Orleans will create a new agenda for the next four years. Stirling Properties’ President & CEO, Marty Mayer, will be participating on the task force to compile the new plan.

Forward New Orleans coalition members include Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, Broadmoor Civic Association, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, Urban League of Louisiana, New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, GNO, Inc. and the Young Leadership Council, among others. 

Read the full report HERE.

March 16, 2017|Blog, Involvement, New Orleans Southshore|

New Orleans is returning to the global stage

GNO Global

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending GNO, Inc.’s annual meeting appropriately themed “GNO Global.” The event focused on the reflection of New Orleans’s “global past, present progress, and world-class future.”

New Orleans was once the most diverse city in the country—the largest in the South—and served as a premier export metropolis. But during the course of history, we have become eclipsed by other major cities competing for the global spotlight. GNO, Inc. illustrates how the Crescent City is triumphing and coming back brighter than ever as a true global leader.

As we approach the 300th anniversary of the City of New Orleans, there is much to be proud of. From new international flights to workforce development and tourism growth to public policy reform, our region has recently celebrated many significant accomplishments.

Stirling Properties is pleased to be a continued supporter of economic development in New Orleans and the entire Gulf South region. We look forward to many more successes in the years to come as New Orleans re-establishes itself as a major economic partner.

Check out this video with Professor Richard Campanella, Historical Geographer and Author from Tulane University, that showcases New Orleans’s unique global history:

To view the video in its entirety, please click here.

Marty Mayer
Past Chair Emeritus, GNO, Inc.

February 21, 2017|Blog, Involvement, New Orleans Southshore|

President’s Message: The Year of Possibility!

Stirling Properties President;s Message

Last year, around this time, I wrote a message about being prepared during times of uncertainty. Little did I know then how prophetic those words would really be during 2016. And now, as we cautiously welcome 2017, we face even greater uncertainty in our industry—and the country as a whole. So, being prepared is even more critical today than it was a year ago.

As we look back on 2016, we have faced many challenges. We’ve weathered an unstable economy, low oil prices, and community unrest. We lost a beloved Stirling Properties employee. We experienced unprecedented flooding in our region that killed 13 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses. Several of our own retail centers and multi-family properties in Southeast Louisiana were significantly damaged. But, through it all, we have persevered.

Amidst all of the trials, Stirling Properties has made significant progress during the last year as we continue to grow and build on the comprehensive services and value that we bring to our clients and communities across the Gulf South region.

In 2016:

  • We, along with partners CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., celebrated the grand opening of Ambassador Town Center, a 430,000-square-foot retail center in Lafayette, Louisiana. It was 100% leased within 6 months of development! Anchor tenants include Costco Wholesale, Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream, and Nordstrom Rack.
  • We completed the development of Stirling Bossier—the last of 6 planned phases—in Shreveport. The 682,000-square-foot hybrid retail center is now 100% leased. Anchor tenants include Academy Sports + Outdoors, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and ULTA Beauty.
  • We broke ground on the new Offices at River Chase in Covington and announced the 1st tenant, Duplantis Design Group, PC. We also announced that Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar will be joining the River Chase mixed-use development later this year.
  • We welcomed Whole Foods Market to Premier Centre in Mandeville, Louisiana, marking the 1st Northshore location for the popular upscale grocer. Whole Foods Market, along with Forever 21 Red, re-tenanted the space occupied by the former Albertson’s grocery store.
  • We announced the development of a new mixed-use medical facility in LaPlace, Louisiana. Phase I of this development includes a lease to Ochsner Clinic Foundation for a roughly 20,000-square-foot freestanding emergency room and diagnostic center that is scheduled to open in the summer of 2017. This is just the beginning of our planned diversification strategy into healthcare.
  • After many years of discussion, we announced The Home Depot is joining the tenant line-up at Hammond Square. This is the first location for The Home Depot in Tangipahoa Parish. Construction commenced late last year and the store plans to open by late 2017.
  • We relocated our New Orleans office to the Pan American Life Center. This move is more representative of Stirling Properties’ future than just a new office. It demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the city, the region, and to the future, as we continue to build our brand.

In difficult circumstances, preparation and leadership are vital to an organization. Over the past year, I have witnessed first-hand how well our Stirling Properties team can come together to respond to crisis and uncertainty. What we have successfully overcome—and achieved!—this year, gives me the utmost confidence in our leaders and employees moving forward.

The financial market, unemployment, tax reform, a new Presidential administration—you name it—there’s still much uncertainty in the year ahead. There’s a lot of unknowns and “what if’s.” But as the saying goes, “When nothing is sure, anything is possible.”

With that in mind, Stirling Properties is embracing the unknown, thinking towards possibilities. We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline for 2017. We’ve laid out some lofty goals for the year ahead. We will continue to diversify our services, explore new areas of growth, and expand our client base.

Who knows what obstacles we may face, but I know we have the right team in place to succeed. As we embark upon the unknown, I am more confident than ever that we are prepared to take advantage of any, and all, opportunities that may come our way.

So, let’s celebrate a year of uncertainty and infinite possibility!

January 18, 2017|Blog, President's Message|
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