Columbus Pacific


Columbus Pacific's team has overseen property acquisitions totaling more than $1 billion. They include a diverse blend of seasoned attorneys, accountants, operations and underwriting professionals. Having previously headed projects in the institutional and private sectors, CP's senior executives bring together strong leadership, proven experience and a nationwide network of industry connections.


Co-Founder and Principal

Rick Margolis, along with Brian Shirken, co-founded Columbus Pacific in 1995 and currently serves as a Principal of CP. For over twenty years, he has led the planning, leasing, design and development of all properties acquired by CP. Mr. Margolis has negotiated well over one million square feet of retail leases and has developed and redeveloped shopping centers, office buildings, industrial parks, apartments, condominiums and parking facilities.

Throughout his time in the industry, Mr. Margolis has cultivated CP’s nationwide network of brokers, tenants, architects and contractors. He also works closely with company’s legal team, having previously served as Senior Counsel for a Los Angeles based real estate investment and management company.

Prior to his work in the commercial property industry, Mr. Margolis headed his own California legal practice. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University Northridge and is an alumnus of the Southwestern University School of Law, where he was listed on the National Dean’s Honors List. Mr. Margolis is a member of the California State Bar.


Co-Founder and Principal

Brian Shirken is the co-founder of Columbus Pacific and, along with Rick Margolis, serves as Principal. He brings over three decades of real estate, finance and investment experience to the company.

Prior to founding CP in 1995, he had held numerous senior positions at a Los Angeles based real estate investment and management company and prior to that worked with a national public accounting firm.

Mr. Shirken holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce and Accounting degree and an honors graduate degree in Finance and Management Control Systems from the University of Cape Town. He is also a California CPA (inactive) and a California Licensed Real Estate Broker.

Mr. Shirken is the former Chair of the Jewish Federation’s Real Estate Division, a General Partner of the Los Angeles Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund and a Fellow of the Wexner Foundation.



Asset Mgmt., Finance and Operations

Tanya Nielsen leads Columbus Pacific’s Operations, overseeing finance, construction and operations for CP and its related entities. Her expertise includes contract compliance, financial processes and reporting, investor and financial institution management as well as corporate structuring.

Prior to joining CP, Ms. Nielsen served as Operations Manager, Capital Construction Development for the University of Southern California (USC) where she established the financial procedures for their $1 billion capital construction portfolio. Ms. Nielsen had previously served as the Vice President of Finance, Project Management for The Walt Disney Concert Hall where she oversaw budgets totaling $300 million and managed multiple aspects of the Hall’s construction.

Ms. Nielsen holds a Master’s of Real Estate Development and a Master’s of Business Administration from USC, graduating with honors. In 2015, she was awarded the Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation and is a California Licensed Real Estate Broker.



Acquisitions - Retail and Student Housing

Phillip Duke leads Columbus Pacific’s Acquisitions Department. He has worked in the commercial real estate sector for over 18 years; directing shopping center acquisitions totaling $700 million and negotiating $150 million in property dispositions.

Mr. Duke has focused on the acquisition and disposition of national shopping centers and student housing throughout his career. He previously held leadership roles at SCI Real Estate Investments, CNA Enterprises and The Westwood Corporation.

Mr. Duke holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Accounting from California State University at Northridge. He is also a California Licensed Real Estate Broker and an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC).