Name Game-Changer

jbr boisi 01 Name Game Changer

The Commercial Observer: So, my first question is …

Mr. Boisi: ‘What’s the name of your new company?’


You got it. What is the name of your new company?

Our new brand in New York and the rest of the nation is Cassidy Turley.


Give me a bit of background.

Back 15 months ago, roughly September of 2008, four Colliers firms negotiated a merger agreement, and those four firms came together and over the past 15 months have been quietly negotiating with additional firms to expand our footprint. We’ve created now, with eight firms, a new company by the name of Cassidy Turley.


Why, especially during a recession, are you pursuing such a huge expansion?

What we did was, we wanted to build our own platform, build our own company that we could own and control and move away from a network structure, which we’re currently in at Colliers. This provides us with the ability to create our own brand strategy, our own vision for the company. It’s an independently owned firm that has 360 shareholders. We now have 2,800 associates. We now manage 420 million square feet of space nationwide, and we have revenues that exceed $400 million. So out of the box we’re now a national firm that is probably about the fourth largest in the country. We’re also in the process of negotiating with an international partner to further expand our capabilities internationally. We’ll be announcing that in a month.


Are there geographical gaps the expansion will help fill?

The original transaction with the four companies comprised the East Coast and the Midwest. What we were missing, quite frankly, was the Western region. And our association with BRE in San Diego, which is a former Grubb & Ellis entity; our association with BT Commercial in San Francisco, which is a former NAI company; and our association with BRE in Phoenix, which is also a former Grubb & Ellis firm-we’ve now added 24 offices on the West Coast and around 500 brokers. We now have a total of around 800 to 900 brokers nationwide.


Do you think the new handle will confuse people? It confuses me.

Frankly, any new brand is going to be a challenge to bring to a marketplace. We, quite frankly, have an additional challenge in that it’s possible and more than probable that somebody will be called Colliers International in the New York marketplace when here, before, we were Colliers ABR. However, you know, this has sort of been done before. Frankly, there have been a lot of name changes over the years. Edward S. Gordon became Insignia, and Insignia became CBRE. And Jones Lang LaSalle has now got Staubach, so, frankly, corporate America is used to it.

Cassidy Turley is going to be a new brand for the country, and, frankly, I think investors in real estate are ready for a new brand in the United States and internationally. You know, it’s been the same three or four public companies that you always hear about, and I think it’s time for that to change, and I think we’re going to break into that category pretty quickly, especially given the immediate size we have become on a national basis.


How has the rebranding changed your day-to-day work?

From a personal point of view, I’ve been chairman of Colliers ABR for the past 10 years, and I’ve moved a little bit out of production-not totally out of production, but a little bit out of production-to help with the management of the firm, and I’ve been involved with the new entity for the last 15 months. I’m also on the executive committee of the new firm.


What obstacles are you still trying to overcome?

I think we’re still trying to expand our geographic footprint. Even though we’ve done this original transaction, we’re focusing on other NFL cities, and we have negotiations going on presently in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago and in the Dallas and Houston areas, which we think will help us round out our geographic footprint.


What role will the New York offices play in all these expansion efforts?

In terms of New York, there was a special focus with respect to the new company. We think that’s where the greatest opportunity is. Keep in mind, we’ve been operating pretty much as a boutique in New York for over 30 years-a very successful boutique, but operating sort of as a boutique for many years. This new scale will be helpful for us in terms of expanding our service lines. We’ll be expanding into capital markets and corporate services, in addition to strengthening our tenant rep business and our property management business.


You’ve personally been involved with ABR since the late 1970s, sticking with the firm through about a thousand name changes and acquisitions. This is either a very exciting time for you or, perhaps, the rebranding is bittersweet. Which is it?

It’s terribly exciting. I’ve been associated personally with ABR, and then Colliers ABR for over 30 years, and this is a new thing for me, and it’s a new thing for my 100 employees here in New York. And it’s very exciting. It’s a time where we can now build scale, and talk about scale. We can talk about additional service lines for our company. It’s all good, and it’s all going to benefit the clients. Our focus as that former boutique has always been that the client always comes first, and I think that what we’re doing now is only going to help us with our clients going forward.


How did Colliers ABR-or Cassidy Turley, if you prefer-fare in 2009?

Two thousand nine, curiously enough, was an interesting year for our new entity. We actually made money in 2009.


So, interesting in a good way?

In a very good way! Because of the nature of our business, we’re fairly heavily oriented toward property management. Because of those reoccurring fees in our property management component, that’s sort of helped us with the valley that occurred during 2009 on the transactional side. So we’re very fortunate. If you look at our new company compared to some of the public companies, I think we fared very well. We made money! We actually made money!

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