Sunday Summary: Newmark’s Got Talent

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Newmark (NMRK) shocked the real estate world in February when it announced it lured superstar investment sales brokers Doug Harmon and Adam Spies, along with their team, from Cushman & Wakefield.

The news was long in the works — Newmark CEO Barry Gosin tried unsuccessfully to hire them in 2016 — but the wait was worth it as they almost immediately landed the $60 billion Signature Bank loan portfolio sale mandate after joining Newmark.

SEE ALSO: Jim Dillavou Talks Lincoln Property Retail Expansion at ICSC

But, to anybody paying attention, the addition of Harmon and Spies was just the icing on the cake of an already stacked bench of talent Newmark has been quietly amassing over the past years. That includes hiring Rob Griffin, Kevin Shannon, Steven Golubchik, Chris Murphy and, last but not least, the duo of Dustin Stolly and Jordan Roeschlaub, two of the most prolific debt, equity and structured finance advisers in the industry.

This week, Commercial Observer dove into all the moves Newmark’s been making on its quest to become the country’s top capital markets team.

“Look,” Gosin said. “If you’re a great broker and you want to be in a company that understands, appreciates and respects talent, this is the place for you.”

And that amount of talent obviously comes with some deals, with Spies, Harmon, Adam Doneger and Michael Collins leading the $35 million sale of the luxury multifamily building 1009 Park Avenue to Joe and Jacob Chetrit last week. Stolly, Roeschlaub and Daniel Fromm are currently in the market to arrange financing for the acquisition. 

Let’s dance
Newmark isn’t the only brokerage luring talent to its company. David Carlos, who has done deals with the New York Public Library and Weill Cornell Medicine in the past, joined JLL as head of its nonprofit, education and government clients in the tri-state region after 16 years at Savills.

And Meridian Capital Group hired investment sales veteran Thomas Donovan from B6 Real Estate Advisors in an effort to scale Meridian’s deal flow in the Queens market.

Newmark also wasn’t the only one securing deals last week. In Florida, Jorge M. Perez’s Related Group scored a $158.9 million loan from CIBC Bank to complete Casamar Residences, its luxury oceanfront condo project in Pompano Beach, Fla.

In the City of Brotherly Love, Southern Land Company landed $70 million of condominium inventory financing for a new 48-story tower in Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood.

Over on the West Coast, Rexford Industrial Realty grew its Southern California portfolio by acquiring three industrial properties for just over $46 million.

Things were a bit quieter on the leasing front, but Lacoste USA signed on to move its headquarters to 18,364 square feet at 136 Madison Avenue after decades uptown at 551 Madison Avenue.

We’ve got five years, that’s all we’ve got
The David Bowie classic might be James Dolan’s theme this week as the New York City Council unanimously approved a truncated five-year special permit for Madison Square Garden to remain in its current spot above Pennsylvania Station.

MSG originally wanted a 10-year renewal and complained in April that the city had done a “grave disservice” to New Yorkers by only giving them five years. (My dad would argue that Dolan has done a grave disservice to us by not giving the New York Knicks a championship since 1973.) Regardless, maybe Dolan can use that disappointment as inspiration for a new “JD & The Straight Shot” album.

But the home borough of the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets is poised for a bull run in investment sales (not basketball).

Brooklyn saw a 35 percent increase in dollar volume of investment sales in the second quarter of this year, and conditions have returned to pre-pandemic levels. It could take a while, but experts said trends are aligning for brisk activity in Kings County.

Queens County had something else to talk about last week. Former New York City Buildings Commissioner and Queens Councilmember Eric Ulrich was hit with five separate indictments for allegedly using his public posts to get more than $150,000 in bribes.

In exchange for helping his co-conspirators, prosecutors allege that Ulrich accepted artwork, custom suits, and other items of value. He also accepted New York Mets season tickets.

Ulrich’s lawyer denied the charges and argued the district attorney “cherry-picked” thousands of documents and phone calls that can make anybody look bad.

New York City wasn’t the only place with a political scandal on its hands. Miami Commissioner Alex Díaz de la Portilla was arrested last week on a slew of corruption charges for allegedly taking $245,000 in laundered political contributions to support the construction of a new sports complex in the city.

Under pressure
Developers in New York City got some good news this week on the environmental front.

The city finalized the rule set for Local Law 97 — designed to cut building emissions — months before it takes effect and offered some relief for owners who have started work already or taken steps to make their properties compliant.

The New York City Department of Buildings, the agency in charge of the program, will give owners a break on fines if they show efforts to meet the emissions and water-use goals set by the law, such as work permits or contracts with builders, and have a timeline that pegs completion between 2024 and 2029.

And it may be easier to get permits for some of that work as the City Planning Commission approved a slate of zoning changes aimed at making it easier for property owners to add energy-efficient improvements or install renewable energy sources in their buildings.

In Washington, D.C., a new report pegged that city as among the top 10 in the United States and Canada best prepared to weather the economic effects of climate change. New York City made the top 10, too.

And there’s nothing I can do
Last week also marked the 15th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The 158-year-old bank, which had $600 billion in assets and 25,000 employees, declared bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008, after the federal government refused to offer itself as a lender of last resort. That triggered a 4.5 percent one-day drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Commercial Observer talked to those we were there — including Sam Molinaro, CFO and COO at Bear Stearns, which collapsed months before Lehman — about what it was like living through that financial crisis and the lessons they’ve learned since.

“We didn’t come into that week thinking we were about to go under. In fact, it was just the opposite: We thought we were managing our way through the problem and had been largely successful in doing that,” Molinaro told CO. “Our situation basically unraveled in 48 hours.”

Until next week!