Matthew Seigel has joined Thor High Street Advisors, the retail leasing arm of landlord Joe Sitt’s real estate company Thor Equities.
Mr. Seigel will move to the firm from Cushman & Wakefield, where he had been a junior partner of Joanne Podell, one of C&W’s retail leasing aces.
In a conversation with The Commercial Observer this afternoon, Mr. Seigel said he was drawn to the firm because of Mr. Sitt’s vision to turn it into brokerage that would focus on close working relationships with clients, helping not only with transactions but also strategy.
“Joe really wants us to be in a consulting, advisory type roll with clients and that’s something that I really was interested in about coming here,” Mr. Seigel said. “It’s really imporant for us to add value, it’s less about one off transactions than about being in the decision making process from start to finish with clients.”
Mr. Sitt is well known as a highly prolific and successful real estate investor in the city who owns several high profile retail properties including the Takashimaya Building and 516-520 Fifth Avenue, a group of buildings that Mr. Sitt is planning to redevelop into a mixed use tower with a large retail base on one of the city’s priciest shopping corridors.
As he eplained in a recent interview with The CO, Mr. Sitt, who is a former retailer himself, has wanted to establish a presence in the leasing business and envisioned growing Thor High Street into a major dealmaker both in the city and in other markets around the globe, including emerging areas such as South America and Africa. Mr. Sitt said being a former retail operator allowed him a firsthand perspective of the business decisions a store needs to make to be successful and that he could advise clients on their real estate with this understanding in mind.
Mr. Seigel is the biggest addition to Thor High Street since it began operation roughly a year and a half ago. Mr. Seigel worked with Ms. Podell on large retail accounts at C&W, including TD Bank, a client the pair helped roll out a series of locations in the city in the past few years. Earlier this year, the two brokered a 7,000 square-foot-store for the high end men’s clothing chain Brooks Brothers at 35 Wall Street.
But Mr. Seigel, who is 32 and has been at C&W for seven years, also has begun to emerge as a star in his own right. In recent weeks, he arranged a 2,500 square foot lease for the online eyeglasses seller Warby Parker at 121 Greene Street in Soho, its first permanent retail store.
“Matt Seigel is the absolute best of the best in his field,” Mr. Sitt said in a statement announcing the hire this morning.
Mr. Seigel noted that he and Ms. Podell, his mentor in the retail leasing business, will part amicably. Many of the accounts the two worked on were hers and Mr. Seigel said the move will require him to build an all new book of business, though he says he will service several of Thor High Street’s existing clients in the meantime.
“I have tremendous respect and appreciation for Joanne,” Mr. Seigel said.