Stacom On Leaving CBRE: It Was ‘a Long Time Coming’

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In a week full of real estate shakeups, Tuesday included a head-spinner: Darcy Stacom, one of the legends of commercial real estate, announced she was leaving her perch at CBRE (CBRE) to form her own company.

“This is in many ways a long time coming,” Stacom told Commercial Observer. “Many moons ago I said [to the CBRE brass], ‘You ought to be thinking about a successor.’ ” To wit, Doug Middleton has been leading the company’s capital markets for about a year and a half.

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Few names in the brokerage world command the respect of Stacom (last year CO ranked her and longtime business partner William Shanahan No. 25 on our Power 100 list). Her name has been on a string of famous sales — from Google’s purchase of Chelsea Market, to the sale of Stuy Town, to the sale of the GM Building, to the sale of the Chrysler Building — earning her the nickname “the Queen of Skyscrapers.” (Stacom has also dealt with her share of detractors, notably an Insider article from 2021 alleging she created a toxic work environment.)

“I had a lot of fun last year,” Stacom said. “I worked on transactions I wanted to work on. I know some people will say, ‘You were not handling the big deals,’ but it was a very good year.”

Stacom described the break from the firm where she had spent more than two decades as “amicable” and said she got an offer to renew her contract at CBRE which she discussed with Shanahan, who wanted to stay and work on capital solutions. (A spokesperson for CBRE declined to comment.)

“He said let’s do it together,” Stacom said. “I said, ‘You know, that’s not my first love.’ So for him staying at the platform made sense. But I can do what I want to do on my own.” Stacom figured the beginning of the year would be the best time to announce the departure. (She’s still at CBRE for another two months.)

The new venture, called Stacom CRE, is still trying to pinpoint what services it will offer. “I expect I will handle some sales, the consulting work I’ve been doing, helping people [form joint ventures], resets on a ground lease. … It depends on who walks through the door.”

Stacom said she anticipates a lot of overseas capital looking for trades in New York. As for a debt business, she said it was too early to say.

“My mother and sister [Tara Stacom of Cushman & Wakefield (CWK)] are in real estate, so when I settled on the name Stacom CRE I called my sisters to ask their opinion — they loved it.”

While she has not started staffing up yet (and while nobody from CBRE is, as of this, joining her), since the news broke on Tuesday Stacom said that she has been inundated with calls and texts from Italy, Ireland, London and New Zealand offering their congratulations, as well as from brokers who have asked to work with her and inquired about potential business opportunities. “Some of my longtime clients [have contacted her saying], ‘I would love to be your first client,’ ” Stacom said.

Of course, one of the big questions for Stacom would be why she’s starting a new firm in the middle of a downturn.

“It’s better to start it now,” Stacom said. “People got lucky who started in early ’90s — they learned everything. I’m a long-term believer in New York City. Now is when people need me — I’m good at strategy and thought a lot about” these issues.

As for her parting words as she hopped off the call with CO: “Stay tuned.”

Max Gross can be reached at mgross@commercialobserver.com.