If ‘60s pop songs have taught us anything, it’s that breaking up is hard to do. While that may be true for 99.99 percent of all cases, Mitti Liebersohn may be the exception.
Liebersohn, who as recently as last April was part of one of the most successful brokerage teams in the city, claims to have amicably broken away from the familiar confines of a decades-long partnership.
“We were together for a very long time. You know, three of us had been together for almost 30 years, and it was a wonderful partnership,” he said of his time as one-fifth of a successful team that’s closed large deals for companies such as Cushman & Wakefield and JLL. “I’ll always miss those guys. They were a part of my life. They’re my friends.”
Liebersohn left his job as vice chairman at JLL earlier this year. Unlike earlier defections, he did so alone, leaving behind the team he established with Mitchell Konsker. Liebersohn, who is now president and managing director of the New York office of Avison Young, said that he left his job and his teammates simply because he wanted to work on something on his own.
“This took me outside of my normal brokerage duties and allowed me to expand on that, which I felt was very, very exciting at this point. You know, I guess I was more focused on the opportunity and the ability to affect change over here,” he said.
Liebersohn also said that he was lured away by the prospect of working with Arthur Mirante II, who was the CEO of Cushman and Wakefield when his team migrated there in 1997.
“I’m unbelievably lucky in that I have Arthur Mirante as my mentor, which has been as absolutely spectacular experience for me,” he said.
“When I was in Cushman & Wakefield, I loved him from afar. I was a broker and he was, at the time, the CEO. I just thought that he was an absolutely spectacular individual and leader. But, you know, it was really from a distance. And now, I speak with him on a day-to-day basis. And he is truly one of the most spectacular people I have ever met.”
For his part, Mirante has previously said he believes Liebersohn is perfect for the firm. “The client-centric culture that we’ve established is perfectly aligned with Mitti’s reputation for building longstanding relationships that have enabled him to become one of the country’s top industry professionals,” Mirante said in a statement when Liebersohn joined Avison Young in April.
During his 30 year career in real estate, Liebersohn has built a reputation as one of the industry’s most productive brokers working with many of the nation’s leading corporations in the negotiation of their complex leasing transactions and the development of real estate strategies.
His client list includes New York Life, Insurance, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, Deloitte LLP, HQ Global, Playboy Enterprises and Watson Pharmaceutical.
He declined to provide a head count on how many clients from JLL had followed him to his new firm, only saying that he’s “working with many of the clients that (he’s) had in the past.”
Liebersohn is focused on developing team work at Avison Young as his mentor oversees the company’s New York expansion. In 2012, the Toronto-based firm had a two-person operation in New York City. Now, they’re expecting to hire their 100th employee. “It’s really with an eye and a focus of maintaining a culture that is really comfortable for everybody. I can’t stress enough how much it means to all of us, and very much so to me, that everybody is comfortable,” he said.
The focus on comfort may be paying off. Since taking over at Avison Young, Liebersohn has directed some large deals. Two weeks ago, the company was named the exclusive leasing agency and property manager for 211 East 43rd Street, a 25-story building that’s being renovated through a joint partnership with Alchemy-ABR Investment Partners and Clarion Partners. Avison Young also represented the National Basketball Players Association in the sale of its building at 310 Lenox Avenue in Harlem.