It was in May at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon Las Vegas that Timothy King, a managing partner at CPEX Real Estate, questioned how reporters can cover the real estate beat if they haven’t walked in a broker’s shoes.
Commercial Observer took that as a challenge, and these two reporters recently set out to be interns (or what CPEX refers to as “mentees”) for half a workday at the 40-person Brooklyn brokerage.
An email from King before the big day warned, “Not sure you guys are going to want to spend too much time doing the mind-numbing menial tasks we put the poor mentees through, but we can give it a shot. They spend a lot of time on research regarding properties and ownership.”
We settled on an arrival time of 9:30 a.m. at the eighth-floor offices at 81 Willoughby Street. A sign outside the elevator welcomed us by name to the summer mentee program. Once inside, we received our mentee binder, we worked with one of the six summer interns (Nicholas Anderson) to find properties for a prospective buyer, we watched the interns do their elevator pitches (we did ours, too), and we were part of the meetings in which the interns were divided into two groups and assigned a property for which they have to present marketing materials at the end of the 10-week program.
Before we left, we had a brief conversation with Sean Kelly, a managing director who oversees CPEX’s development and conversion investment sales team, and unlike the real mentees, King took us out for a lunch to celebrate a half-day of (semi) hard work.
We started by shadowing Nicholas Anderson, an intern who’s researching properties for a potential client.
Anderson was tasked with finding a suitable property for a potential client to buy. We observed him as he searched through CoStar Group for a building within a certain price range that had in place a high-quality tenant with good credit, so the new owner wouldn’t start out with a big ugly vacancy.
Intern leader Carolina Sguerra met with one of the mentee groups, assigning a property to work on for the summer and reviewing their elevator pitch to potential clients.
After the interns gave their CPEX elevator pitch, Terence Cullen (above) and Lauren Elkies Schram gave their Commercial Observer versions.
Timothy King (pictured walking with Schram) took us to lunch at La Défense Bakery and Bistro at the MetroTech Center, around the corner from CPEX’s Downtown Brooklyn offices.
On our way into the restaurant, we ran into Tucker Reed, the outgoing president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.