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Tom Nelson | Colliers | Silicon Valley

Tom Nelson


Senior Vice President

License # CA-01451516

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Professional Summary


Tom Nelson is a full service broker who represents tenants, landlords, and investors in the leasing and sales of commercial real estate and multifamily properties.  Over his 25 year career, Tom has had the opportunity to work with many well-known institutional, corporate, and private capital clients throughout the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Area regions of Northern California.  His direct working experience with many types of property assets within the industry has gained him a broad and diverse skill set, which allows him to provide his clients with strategic, creative, and result oriented solutions that add value to their various commercial real estate needs.  He is well respected within the industry by peers, public entities, and clients.  He is considered a market expert by many news and media outlets, who seek his insightful viewpoints regarding the direction and workings of commercial real estate and development within the markets he serves. 

Tom’s career started in 1993 with Silicon Valley based developer, Barry Swenson, as a project development and asset manager.  He became skilled in financial feasibility and pro forma analysis, acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, and property management.  In addition to managing a portfolio of commercial and agriculture properties, he was also responsible for the design, entitlement, permitting, financing, and construction of commercial and residential developments.  During this time he developed a passion for creative land use, historic restoration and economic revitalization of downtown urban cores and central business districts. 

After taking a yearlong career break in 2000 to fulfil a lifelong dream to travel, surf and snow board around the world, Tom briefly worked for the John Stewart Company managing a portfolio of apartment communities and homeowner associations.  He then joined the Westfield Group, an international developer and operator of shopping malls, as a project manager and tenant coordinator working on the $150 million dollar redevelopment of the Oakridge Mall in San Jose.  After a brief time serving as the mall’s facility manager, Tom then left Westfield to pursue transactional brokerage with Colliers International.

Since joining Colliers in 2004, Tom has been a consistent producer and achieved many performance related awards.  He was an active member for many years within both the Colliers Retail and Office Services Groups in the Silicon Valley office, before opening his own satellite office closer to home in Santa Cruz County to focus on general brokerage, investment, and consultancy services within the Central Coast sub markets of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, as well as continuing to work with his long time clients from nearby Santa Clara County.  Working in smaller markets requires a broker to have cross-disciplinary expertise; they need to be knowledgeable of many different types of commercial properties and the specifics of each.  For Tom, diversity makes life interesting, and he enjoys the challenges that come with multi-specialization work, versus doing the same thing every day.   To quote William Cowper’s poem, The Task, “Variety is the spice of life that gives it all its flavor!”


  • Tenant Representation – market roll outs and strategic analysis, site selection analysis, space planning, lease negotiation, ground lease negotiations, purchase of assets, and disposition of assets.  Has worked with public agencies, startups, national, and international firms.

  • Landlords Representation – asset management and positioning, market analysis, marketing and leasing, project leasing, renewals, sales, and operation consultancy.  Has worked with institutional and private capital firms.

  • Investments Sales – single tenant net lease, multi-tenant income producing, multi-family residential, 1031 exchanges, land, and value add properties.  Has worked with institutional and private capital clients.

  • Consultancy – asset and property management, portfolio analysis and positioning, property valuation, land use, and property development.  Has worked with public agencies, institutional firms, and private capital clients.

Personal Information

  • Marriage: 18 years and three kids.

  • World travel: 5 continents and 45 countries.

  • Religion: Catholic, Star of the Sea Parrish, Santa Cruz

  • Hobbies: Surfing, Snowboarding, Masters Swimming, Sailing, and Photo & Videography.

  • Languages: German and Spanish

  • Resides: Santa Cruz, CA



  • Development: Ryland Mews Townhomes, DT San Jose: Dazzle Ln. Residential Subdivision, Capitola; Fed Ex Distribution Facility, Santa Clara; The Security and Leticia Building Historic Restoration, DT San Jose; The Pia Building Historic Restoration, Salinas; and Swenson Family Capitola Cliffs custom residence, Capitola.

  • Colliers Platinum Sales Achievement: 2014, 2017

  • Colliers Gold Sales Achievement: 2009. 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018

  • CoStar Power Broker: 2010, 2014, 2017

  • Media Contributions: Silicon Valley Business Journal; San Jose Mercury News; Santa Cruz Sentinel; Bay Area News Group; and KGO Radio.


  • United States Army: infantry, airborne wings, logistics, leadership development school, and Armey Achievement medal.

  • Collegiate Sports: UC Santa Cruz Water Polo


  • College: BA Economics and Entrepreneurial  Studies, UC Santa Cruz

  • CCIM: Commercial Investment Candidate

  • Urban Land Institute: Financial Analysis Certificate

  • Licensed:  California Department of Real Estate

Memberships & Involvements

  • International Council of Shopping Centers

  • German-American Chamber of Commerce

  • German American Business Association

  • Association of Silicon Valley Brokers

  • City of San Jose Urban Core Task Force

  • SPUR – San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association.

  • Chair, Good Shepherd Catholic School Endowment Fund


  • Intuitional: iStar; Inland Western Properties; Trammel Crow Properties; TRC Retail; and Legacy Partners.

  • Regional Developers/ Landlords: Sand Hill Properties; Hunter-Storm Development; Green Valley Corp; Westfield Corp.; McCarthy Ranch, LLC, and Wave Crest Development, LLC

  • Retail Tenants: Chipotle Mexican Grill; McDonalds; Mancini’s Sleepworld; CVS Pharmacies; Office Max; Carl’s Jr.; Five Guys Burgers and Fries; Banfield Pet Hospitals; IHop; Tech CU; and Tractor Supply Co.

  • Private Capital: Capitola-Winfield Partners, LLC; Paris Family Investments, LLC; Cilker Orchards Investments; Baker Family Investments; West Coast Industrial Property Investors; Picollo-Marinello Property Investments; and Cane Family Apartment and Retail Properties

  • Public Entities:  Santa Cruz Public Libraries, California Coastal Commission, and the Government Procurement Service Agency



Asset Management, Consultancy Services, Development Consulting, Investment Properties, Land Sales, Lease Advisory, Metro Leasing, Mixed-Use Properties, Project Leasing, Residential Development Sales, Restaurants, Shopping Centres, Supermarkets, Technology Services, Warehouses

Property Type

Retail, Industrial, Land, Office, Multifamily

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