Will Silverman has a quick-draw answer for anyone who doubts New York City’s ability to stretch possibilities.
“Whenever someone tells me that something’s impossible, I remind them of the following three things: 1.) the most successful retail store in Manhattan is in a basement, 2.) the most successful office building doesn’t have an avenue address, is mid-block and doesn’t have corner offices, 3.) the most successful apartment building to date is a building that is two and half blocks from a housing project,” he said, referring to the Apple Store, 9 West 57th Street and 15 Central Park West.
Silverman, who seems to have test-driven his line during tense moments with doubting clients and colleagues, has recently brought his gospel of rejecting limitations to a different venue. Last month, he migrated to hospitality brokerage and investment firm Hodges Ward Elliott as a managing director heading the company’s expansion into the New York City investment sales arena.
Before signing on to join HWE, Silverman was collecting promotions at a rapid pace at commercial real estate firm Savills Studley.
During the start of the year, he was promoted twice, ending his tenure at the company with the position of executive managing director. While working at Savills Studley, he closed $6 billion in sales, the most notable of which were massive deals for 100-104 Fifth Avenue and 111 Kent Avenue.
In spite of being able to rapidly climb the ranks at Savills Studley, Silverman did not pass up a chance to join HWE, which he said had “cracked the code” for success in the hospitality industry.
“I thought Hodges Ward Elliot had cracked the code on something that I find intriguing, which is that there are a lot of firms that seem to try to grow by putting more and more dots in the map. What Hodges Ward Elliot has been successful in doing is attracting foreign capital without necessarily having as many dots on the map. And so I thought that was very interesting because it sort of flies in the face of a lot of the conventional wisdom,” he said.
Silverman was the first of several high profile appointments at the New York office of Hodges Ward Elliott, one of the world’s leading independent hotel brokerage, as it builds a team dedicated to investment sales transactions beyond its traditional hotel focus.
Paul Gillen and Daniel Parker — both of whom has worked with top-tier investors and who also have institutional brokerage experience came on board earleir this month.
“Paul and Daniel each bring a rare combination of top tier brokerage and principal experience to bear on behalf of our clients, and we welcome them to the Hodges Ward Elliott New York team,” said Silverman. “Thanks to their commercial real estate expertise and long-standing brokerage experience, we now have a stellar foundation from which to expand our burgeoning investment sales practice.”
Three weeks ago, the company arranged the sale of the New York Palace Hotel for $805 million to Korean luxury hotel company Lotte Group. The transaction, which was first publicized in May, stands as one of the largest involving an Asian investor in 2015.
The firm also facilitated some of the year’s biggest Middle Eastern deals. Last May, HWE arranged the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s $337 million purchase of the New York Edition Hotel. The company also worked on Qatari firm Al Faisal Holding’s $535 million deal for Manhattan Times Square.
While Silverman doesn’t downplay his firm’s role in closing such deals, he said that they’ve been aided by how lucrative New York City addresses are to foreign buyers.
“I think the world is global enough and flat enough that the product is what gets people’s attention. We can take the worst broker in the world, put him in a plane somewhere with a fantastic asset that everyone wants and they’ll get meetings no matter what it says on their business card,” he said.
Currently, Silverman is working on his first few assignments at HWE. He declined to provide specifics, however, he pointed out that HWE personnel has experience in Brooklyn and in workforce housing in the Bronx. He described their target areas as “any place where we can create a narrative that helps buyers look at something they might not have looked at before.”