Avison Young Sees Second Major Departure of Month
For the second time this month, a high-level executive has departed Avison Young. This time, Mike Hart, who spent almost three years as Avison Young’s global chief information officer, left the brokerage firm for another, undisclosed job. Toronto-based Avison Young just confirmed Hart’s departure. “We’re grateful to Mike for his contributions to Avison Young and wish him the best in the next phase of his career,” the firm said in a statement to CoStar News. During his time at Avison Young, Hart led a team “responsible for cutting-edge ideas,” the company said.
Hart was one of two major departures in the past 10 days for Avison Young. Juan Bueno, its U.S. president who oversaw more than 2,000 employees, resigned to take a job with a real estate firm he said he would identify later. Avison Young tapped Harry Klaff, who had served as president of clients, to succeed Bueno. Hart spent nine years at JLL before joining Avison Young in September 2020.
Avison Young did not directly answer whether Hart would be replaced but said, “We now look forward to our team, with their deep knowledge and expertise, further building upon our strong foundation as a technology-focused company.” Avison Young prides itself on its technology platforms and in 2022 was named to Fast Company magazine’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. For his part, Hart did not respond to a message send via LinkedIn.
Colliers Lands Los Angeles Office Leasing Team
Colliers has fortified its office agency leasing group in the Los Angeles area with the addition of Anneke Greco, Gil Canton and Danny Redell from rival JLL. The trio, who worked for a combined 22 years at JLL, made the move to Colliers last week when they joined the advisory services team led by Vice Chair Matthew Heyn. The Greco-Canton-Redell team brings with it deep knowledge of, and experience in, the Tri-Cities, north Hollywood, and downtown Los Angeles office markets, Colliers said. “Our growth momentum continues with the addition of this high-performing team,” Greater Los Angeles market leader Jodie Poirier said in a statement.
Twenty-year industry veteran Greco, who leads the team, is known for representing institutional owners and their Class A office buildings. During her decade at JLL, she completed transactions with an aggregate value of $1.3 billion that involved 5.7 million square feet of space. Greco said her team aims to expand its business at Colliers during this “historical shift in the office market.” Canton specializes in tenant and landlord representation in the Tri-Cities market. Redell joined team two years ago.
Cresa Adds Team of Nine in New York City
Cresa, one of the world’s largest brokerage firms focused on representing occupiers, has expanded in New York City with its acquisition of tenant-representation firm Vicus Partners. With the acquisition, the terms of which were not disclosed. Vicus’ nine-person team led by founders Bert Rosenblatt and Andrew Stein with Gabi Koshgarian, has joined Cresa’s New York office. The brokerage’s location in the city is headed by managing principals Peter Sabesan and Richard Selig. Cresa has been growing organically and via acquisitions. Last year the firm bought Esrp, a Frisco, Texas-based boutique brokerage that increased its presence in the state.
Sabesan said the Vicus team will be a key addition to Cresa New York. “We have known the principals for many years and we share a common philosophy based on a commitment to providing the finest, conflict-free services to office occupiers,” he said in a statement. The former Vicus team looks forward “to working with its international network and expanding our reach through Cresa’s great resources,” Rosenblatt said in a statement.
Veteran Phoenix Brokers Launch Boutique Shop
Veteran retail broker Rommie Mojahed and 30-year industry veteran Andy Kroot have partnered to launch CRE8 Commercial Real Estate, a boutique brokerage in Phoenix. Mojahed, who has more than 20 years of commercial property experience, previously worked at SVN Desert Commercial. “Andy and I have been working together for many years and it was a natural fit,” Mojahed said in a statement. He and Kroot persuaded Eddie Gonzalez, also formerly of SVN Desert Commercial Advisors, to join them at CR8, where he serves as the firm’s designated broker overseeing the team and its business activities. Lindsey Dulle and Chad Shipley also made the move to CR8 team from SVN.
Kroot, who spent the past six-and-a-half years as a partner at commercial property and development firm Kroot & Associates, said CR8 will leverage Mojahed’s success in the Southeast Valley and Kroot’s experience in Phoenix to broaden the firm’s presence across the region. “Where I am at in my career, I felt the industry is changing so rapidly that I needed to get involved with a more dynamic, younger team that has a broad knowledge of the market and partnering with Rommie and his team was a great fit,” Kroot said in a statement. Gonzalez, a well-known presence on social channels posted an Instagram reel showing him posting his name and title on CRE8’s new office. “Did you know the Arizona Department of real estate requires” the designated broker’s be posted on the front window of the establishment, he said in the reel.
Former Newmark Head of Multifamily Sales Joins Greystone
Blake Okland, who led Newmark’s multifamily investment sales team until last year, has joined Greystone, where he’ll focus on building up the firm’s finance offerings and fortifying its relationships with investors. Okland also will work to further leverage the joint venture the firm formed in late 2021 with brokerage giant Cushman & Wakefield.
While at Newmark, Blake played a key role in expanding its apartment sales effort nationally as he built relationships with institutional investors. He helped Newmark increase its multifamily investment sales volume from $9 billion in 2015 to $45 billion in 2022.
Greystone CEO Steve Rosenberg said Blake is “a true dealmaker and market mover” and that with his addition, “Greystone will be propelled forward as a household name” in the industry. Based in Charlotte, Blake will travel frequently to Greystone’s New York City headquarters, spokesperson Karen Marotta said.
CBRE Expands Apartment Sales Team in Florida
The Florida multifamily sales team led by Denny St. Romain and Jubeen Vaghefi, who three years ago left JLL for Cushman & Wakefield, is on the move again. This time they left Cushman for CBRE, where they’ll expand the world’s largest brokerage firm’s presence in Central and North Florida. St. Romain, who has more than 25 years of commercial real estate experience, joined the brokerage as a vice chairman, the highest attainable position for a producer. Vaghefi did, too.
St. Romain-Vaghefi team members Charles Crapse, Alex Kupp and Scott Peek moved from Cushman to CBRE with their team leaders. At their new firm the team will focus on institutional multifamily sales, developable land sales, structured debt and equity financing. All told, the team has closed more than $55 billion in investment sales, debt and equity placements and national portfolio transactions. Adding the group of five to its multifamily business will help CBRE “grow our market share throughout Florida,” Kelli Carhart, leader of U.S. multifamily capital markets for CBRE, said in a statement.
When St. Romain and Vaghefi left JLL in 2019, the parties battled in U.S. District Court over repayment of a balance left on loans made to the brokers when they became managing directors at JLL. The parties reached a settlement agreement in the case in January 2020.