Former SquareFoot Head Michael Colacino to Lead JLL’s Tri-State Brokerage


Michael Colacino, a real estate veteran who most recently headed up digital brokerage SquareFoot, has joined JLL (JLL) to head up its tri-state brokerage team, Commercial Observer has learned.

Colacino started at JLL last week. In his new role, he will work out of JLL’s Manhattan office and lead the area’s brokerage and consulting services, reporting to New York region head Peter Riguardi work in partnership with tri-state Chief Operating Officer Stephen Schlegel.

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“JLL has always been kind of an aspirational firm for me over the years because their focus has always been very much on consulting and driving the business more towards an investment banking approach,” Colacino told CO in a mid-November interview. “I admired that from afar and thought, ‘These are the people that are going to make the biggest mark in the corporate area in the next decade.’ ”

Colacino earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and a master’s in real estate from New York University. He worked as a systems designer for a decade before jumping to real estate when he joined Savills (then called Julien J. Studley) in 1991. While there, he worked on some massive deals, including Time Warner’s relocation to 10 Columbus Circle, which was previously dubbed the Time Warner Center, and its subsequent move to Hudson Yards.

He joined Mitchell Steir to lead an internal management takeover of Savills in 2002 with 45 brokers buying out founder Julien Studley and his partners, as CO previously reported. Colacino became president and led day-to-day operations until he left in 2018 to start proptech investment company Haiku Partners.

Colacino came across SquareFoot — which uses its own technology, online platform and a team of brokers to lease offices — and in 2019 was named its first president.

Then the pandemic hit. Colacino’s work started to dry up, and SquareFoot eventually began to wind down most of its brokerage operations, focusing more on generating leads online, Colacino said.

“It’s not easy for me to give up, so I fought hard to try to keep the company going forward,” Colacino said. “But eventually I wasn’t able to do that, and so the question is, what do you do next? And top of mind for me was JLL.”

And JLL was excited to get Colacino onboard. Both Riguardi and Schlegel praised Colacino’s long experience in both brokerage and proptech, and said he would be the best person to help JLL’s brokers navigate the current market troubles.

“Michael is a highly regarded market expert who will play an essential role as we continue to focus JLL brokerage services to provide clients with sophisticated real estate solutions in an evolving market,” Riguardi said in a statement. “His deep experience and relationship-driven leadership will enhance our ability to work quickly and efficiently to achieve our clients’ goals.”

A spokesperson for SquareFoot did not respond to a request for comment.

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