By Sarah Trefethen
Manhattan’s commercial real estate firms are in the midst of what may be the industry’s first growth spurt since the 2008 recession.
The Canadian newcomers at Avison Young have added four new principals, Vincent Carrega, Neil C. Helman, Jon Epstein and Charles B. Kingsley. The quartet previously worked in the investment sales team at the New York offices of Grubb & Ellis.
Avison Young opened its first office in New York City last month, with Arthur Mirante, as principal and tri-state president.
Brookfield Office Properties has also announced a series of promotions as the company prepares to list its real estate business as Brookfield Property Partners Inc.
Ric Clark will become chairman of the board of the corporation, Dennis Friedrich will become chief executive officer, Tom Farley will become sole president and continue in his role as global chief operating officer, overseeing asset management, leasing, and property operating initiatives. Mark Brown will assume Friedrich’s role as global chief investment officer.
Cassidy Turley is expanding in New York, Lee & Associates has hired around 50 new brokers since the beginning of the year, and UGL this week moved its growing Manhattan operation into bigger offices on Third Avenue.
At Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, the newly merged firm’s broker roster is growing faster than its name. In addition to Grubb & Ellis brokers who are joining the firm in the Newmark offices, NKF has announced a number of new hires in recent months.
“Quietly, we’ve been adding other brokers,” said David A. Falk, president of NKF’s New York Tri-state region.
Greg Wang, Bernard Weitzman, Jonathan Tootell and Geoffrey Newman are tenant and landlord representatives who come to the company with between seven and 25 years of experience. And David Workman has brought his 25 years of experience to the investment sales team.
“These are brokers that certainly are entering their peak earning years and they decided they wanted to make their future here,” Falk said.
Falk credited a strong education program and a wealth of opportunity with attracting young talent to his company. “Brokers want to work hard and they want to have fun, and our firm is a very collegial, collaborative place,” he said.
The former Grubb and Ellis employees that joined NGKF last month are busy getting their bearings, according to Falk. “We are thrilled to have these individuals join Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. They possesses a combination of significant experience, intellect and judgment that will enable them to continue to successfully represent large companies and organizations on all types of sophisticated real estate assignments.”
At a recent conference at the NYU Schack Institute, industry heavyweights such as William L. Mack, founder of Area Property Partners, and Samuel Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments, said that expanding into newer and bigger markets made strategic sense in the current climate.
And in its Global Real Estate Report Opportunity Emerging from Crisis, Jones Lang LaSalle analysts said that a key challenge for today’s commercial real estate teams is to deliver a platform that enables the business to pursue growth opportunities.
Experts have credited the work of the government with helping the real estate industry go from recovery phase to expansion.
“The government did a remarkable job during the downturn to get the ball to stop rolling down the hill,” said Wesley Edens, founder and co-chairman of the Fortress Investment Group, during a NAREIT conference May 3.