Jotham Sederstrom Dec. 13, 2010, 9:10 p.m.
For Paul Revson, a 25-year real estate veteran with time served at both the Staubach Company and Studley, the second go-around at the latter has been a charm.
Since returning to the firm in 2007 as an executive managing director after a five-year stretch at Staubach, the agent and his partner, Zev Holzman, have tallied back-to-back banner years. As of last week, in fact, their small team has inked more than 300,000 feet of deals, consisting of 22 transactions, in less than 24 short but busy months.
“We have been amazingly busy, and have closed, this year, 200,000 feet of high-end deals,” said Mr. Revson, 50, during an interview, along with Mr. Holzman, in Studley’s offices on Park Avenue, near the city’s Plaza district. “You hear all about a lot of really big deals being done–be it in Hudson Square or West 23rd Street–but most of what we do is within about five or so blocks of here.”
Indeed, since earlier this year, Messrs. Revson and Holzman have inked transactions for Kingdon Capital, the Olayan Group, the Quadrangle Group and investment bank Stephens, among other massive deals. Add to those a pair of leases for the law firms Duval & Stachenfeld and Fitzpatrick & Hunt late last year and it becomes clear why Mr. Revson is now ranked sixth among Studley’s New York City brokers in terms of commissions and 13th among its litany of agents nationwide.
With the Quadrangle Group, the duo successfully marketed 30,000 square feet of space at 375 Park Avenue for disposition beginning in the first quarter of 2009. Over the course of three deals, the team was able to sublease two floors of space to separate financial services firms, Mr. Holzman said.
“Quadrangle Group was particularly challenging in that we were marketing a lot of space for disposition,” said Mr. Holzman, 31, who said that good pricing and the trophy space helped sweeten the deal for some tenants. “It’s easier to acquire space than it is to dispose of space–especially in this market. And we began our marketing campaign at what was the bottom of the cycle.”
Among the team’s largest transactions last year, however, was on behalf of Kingdon Capital, an employee-owned hedge fund sponsor that signed a five-floor, 50,000-foot renewal at 152 West 57th Street in May. Mr. Revson said the long-term deal at Carnegie Tower was for floors 47 through 51, near the top.
“Almost all of the ‘acquiring-of-space’ deals–except Duval & Stachenfeld–all involved convincing landlords to restructure and reduce rent today and then extend out long term,” said Mr. Revson. “And the challenge there is that landlords by their nature are bullish and feel tomorrow will be better than today. They’re born that way–and they have to be if they’re going to be a landlord–so it’s difficult to convince them why they should reduce someone’s rent today at a low-end rate for the next 10 or 15 years.”
MR. HOLZMAN FIRST met Mr. Revson shortly after graduating from law school at New York University, where he had entertained a career in real estate law before turning his focus to the brokerage community. Following a collection of interviews with the city’s major brokerage firms, the would-be broker wound his way to Staubach, where Mr. Revson, then a principal at the firm, took him under his wing.
“Paul wasn’t necessarily looking to hire anybody else on to his team, but we met as a formality and really liked each other and really hit it off and kind of clicked,” Mr. Holzman said. “And I think we both realized we could work really well together.”
“I saw a toughness, aggressiveness–and you have to have a real hunger to succeed in this business, and he had it,” added Mr. Revson, a native of the Upper East Side who still lives in the neighborhood. “He really has it all.”
“I was focused and driven,” Mr. Holzman chimed in. “I knew what I wanted.”
As a broker at the Staubach Company, Mr. Holzman’s first assignment with Mr. Revson’s team was on behalf of the World Gold Council, an advocate for the global gold mining industry. Together, the team moved the group from 444 Madison Avenue to just down the street, at 424 Madison Avenue. The team was tapped after one client meeting, and in the following months the council toured about 25 Manhattan buildings.
Asked if his first assignment raised unexpected challenges, Mr. Holzman considered the idea before saying no.
“It was kind of how I thought it would be,” said Mr. Holzman, who lives with his fiancée in Brooklyn Heights. “There were no surprises. Actually, Paul kept preparing me, saying that it would be very difficult because of a few certain aspects. And we were always waiting for that difficulty to pop up from the surface, but it actually never came. It was a pretty smooth transaction.”
With most of the team’s transactions already cinched up this year, Messrs. Revson and Holzman are preparing now for next year, when, both brokers predict, the leasing market will be up and their streak of deals will continue.
“We’ve finished a lot, and we’ve closed a lot of deals, and really, right now, we’re working on meeting new people and getting new business signed up for next year,” Mr. Revson said. “We’re not rushing to close anything except one very high-end transaction that may or may not get done this year.”
“Right now, it’s all about next year,” Mr. Holzman added. “We’re already looking toward the first quarter.”