Out of the Gate

mark jaccom shravana vidyarthi Out of the Gate

The Commercial Observer: It sounds like you’ve been pretty busy.

Mr. Jaccom: I gotta tell you! The phone is ringing off the goddarn hook, from CB to Jones Lang to Cushman brokers to every adviser and consultant. Now that we’re the third largest in the world and we have this pedigreed name, they’re just coming out of the woodwork.


What are they calling about? Jobs?

Guys have a fourth place to consider. Cushman, they feel is kind of, in their own way, imploding, and a lot of these guys work for big senior guys. And they’re senior guys, but they can’t break out there. And they see our platform. They see basically that we just got three guys from Cushman & Wakefield in our appraisal group. We just got a guy from Studley-their lead project manager-this guy Frank Edwards. He was an ex-Goldman Sachs guy. And I just shook hands with my project management group in Canada. So they’re seeing a company that is evolving as a fourth choice.


You sound like you’re on top of the world.

I mean, look at it: out of nowhere … I mean, Williams is a good family business. It has a good market share, but now FirstService is rebranding all of their companies to Colliers International-Colliers International Property Management, Colliers International Appraisal, Colliers International Hospitality. I mean, most people are cutting back; we’re gonna go from 42,000 to 70,000 [square feet in our Manhattan headquarters]. We’re growing.


I spoke to you three months ago. How far along was this merger when last we met?

What happened was when I spoke to you three months ago, we had a choice as a firm to rebrand the entire world of FirstService or get the Colliers name. Obviously, my choice is the Colliers name. So what did FirstService do? They bought London, they bought the Netherlands. So I knew what was happening; I just couldn’t divulge it because we had a lot of conflicts and legal matters.


Was it already certain three months ago? And tell me about those conflicts.

I’d say it was 90 percent certain at that point. The only thing we didn’t know is if Colliers ABR Cassidy was going to drag this out and try to make a lawsuit out of it. In the end, they realized that they lost the battle, so, gratefully, they moved on. They’re rebranding. And so we get the name Colliers in this part of the world.


Earlier you mentioned Cushman & Wakefield ‘imploding’?

Imploding is a strong word. Look, [outgoing Cushman & Wakefield CEO and new co-chairman] Bruce Mosler is a friend of mine. What’s going on, they moved their space, and I hear brokers aren’t the happiest in the world. They have a new leader and I wish him luck. But when you speak to the brokers over there, it’s the Wild West. Why not create a place where people can trust each other?


What’s in store from Colliers International?

I think what you’re going to hear over the next couple months, you’re going to hear about hiring, putting groups together, picking up new business, bringing in brokers from all over. Next year, I’ll have a full project management group, full appraisal, full hospitality, full capital markets. So, yeah, there’s a lot of great things happening. There will be a lot of advertising and promotional stuff we’re going to do.


What’s in store for the New York hub of Colliers International?

We manage at least about 20 million square feet. I believe in the next three years, you’re going to see we have 40 million. We’re working on some things with some major people. We’re going to build the landlord business. I have a tenant-rep business I grew here, but now we’re attracting tenant-rep brokers from all over, from Roger Staubach to Studley to any company out there that does tenant rep. Even CB. We’re gonna invest a lot of dollars over the next couple years so when the market comes out of this recession, we’re ready for the twilight fight.


You’re setting a high bar. Is this just talk?

I have probably 10 different brokers I’m speaking to across the board that manage 3 million, 4 million and 5 million feet that want to be part of this new organization because they’re tired of the games and the bullshit they’re dealing with now. So I know it sounds like a big leap, but the proof will be in the pudding when you look at me three years from now. I’m not going to look you in the face and say that today I’m JLL or CB. We’ll go through some growing pains. But what I will tell you is that all of those offices have built up demand for us to service their clients in this region.


I’ll ask you the same question I recently asked the folks over at Cassidy Turley. Is the name change going to confuse people?

Williams is dropped. And you’re going to see a whole branding and PR campaign about Colliers International, Colliers International, Colliers International. For a small period of time, there will be that confusion. But I guess I’m trusting [public relations firm] Marino, and we’re putting a tremendous amount of dollars into this. On our site, our chairman will be talking about it. We’ll be speaking to newspapers, publishers. We’re going to sponsor breakfasts and dinners. Our cards are going to change. Every time we do a deal, our tombstone’s gonna say Colliers. So I think there maybe will be some confusion for a short period, but I think people are going to get the message that FirstService Williams has now become Colliers International.


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