By Daniel Geiger
Cushman & Wakefield reported that it had net income of $25.7 million in 2010. The results were a substantial turnaround from 2009, when the real estate services company, which is one of Manhattan’s powerhouse brokerage firms, reported a loss of $127 million.
Cushman said that commissions and service fees during the year totaled $1.4 billion. In 2009, those figures amounted to $1.2 billion of income and the company had to write off substantial charges related to relocating its Manhattan headquarters and paying severance packages for employees it let go during the recession, which hit the economy and the brokerage industry hardest during that year.
After weathering bleak times, Cushman, like other successful firms in the commercial leasing and sales brokerage industry, have begun to quickly recover. But the company also appeared to suffer setbacks in recent months when two prominent brokerage teams left the firm for a rival. The departures began last summer when investment sales brokers Richard Baxter, Jon Caplan, Ron Cohen, and Scott Latham, moved to Jones Lang LaSalle. Then, earlier this year, a powerful leasing group led by the broker Mitchell Konsker, also jumped to JLL.
There was chatter in the industry questioning whether C&W would end the year profitably. Typically, brokerage firms report lower earnings or even losses in the opening half of the year and make the bulk of their yearly profits in the fourth quarter when most deals, including those arranged in the opening quarters, usually close and commission checks are cut.
Cushman has appeared to negotiate through the diversity. Last year, the company’s CEO Bruce Mosler stepped down from management to return to brokerage. Mosler, in partnership with Arthur Mirante, another former Cushman CEO, and other executives at the company has handled a number of major transactions since, including N.Y.U. Langone Medical Center’s recent over 300,000 s/f renewal and expansion at the office building One Park Avenue.
According to Cushman, the company brokered a number of prominent sales transactions globally. The firm handled the $930 million sale of the John Hancock Tower in Boston to the real estate investment trust Boston Properties. It also sold the Porta Di Roma, one of the largest shopping centers in Italy for €440 million. Cushman’s parent company IFIL is an investment arm of the Agnelli family, a prominent group of industrialists in Italy that controls the automobile giant Fiat.