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July 30, 2014
Dealmaker: Cushman & Wakefield's Rob Griffin
After 30 years and $30B in sales, in September Rob Griffin, Cushman & Wakefield's new head of US capital markets, adds another iconic deal to his roster: Oxford's $2.1B purchase of a Blackstone downtown office portfolio. (Now if only he could show the Sox how to get the most value from John Lester we'd be set.) And he sees more deals to come.
There's the largest pool of buyers able to invest $1B he's ever seen, Rob tells us. Investors have three or four times more capital than in the past. The downtown office market was written-off too soon, he says. It's bouncing back because of the public transit, the cultural shift favoring urbanism, and game-changer projects in the pipeline, including the Boston Properties/Delaware North $1B mixed-use development in North Station.
First up among Rob's most memorable sales: the 2010 purchase of the Hancock by Boston Properties for $930M from Normandy, which acquired it in '08 for $650M. Rob's team leased and sold the tower for Normandy. Also, this year's Blackstone sale downtown and the possible sale of O'Connor's 428-apartment Atmark in Cambridge's emerging Alewife District for about $200M.
In his transition from president of C&W's New England operation to head of US investment sales, he still gets up at 5:15 (that's AM) and relies on his phone, email, and texting. But now that his children are grown, he no longer “sneaks out” to watch their games; he spends the time working, he says. For Rob, it's exciting to travel to other markets bringing Boston talent like executive director Frank Nelson (above), a meds and eds all-star. More critical team stars include: Ed Maher, Matt Pullen, Geoff Millerd, and Mike Byrne.
Rob loves the team he “plays on” with other colleagues like Tom Greely and Samantha Hallowell (above) who help him keep up with big industry changes. To provide clients with relevant information, there are many more data points to track, faster. That requires intense collaboration. Building designs are more creative and sustainable, which tenants appreciate greatly. Rob sees good things ahead for Boston. Downtown is likely to get a new office tower; perhaps developed by The Chiofaro Co or Trans National Group chairman Steve Belkin, he says. Where we are in this cycle: the third inning of a double header, he says.
Kirk Sykes at Bisnow's Future of Downtown
At Bisnow's Future of Downtown event, Aug. 13, New Boston Fund's Urban Strategy America Fund president Kirk Sykes will fill us in on the progress of $170M One Greenway. New Boston and USA Fund are developing the two-building, 363-unit complex where Chinatown meets the Greenway with the Asian Community Development Corp. At 40%, the number of affordable residences will be a huge number for a downtown site. Given the zoning along much of the Greenway, Kirk expects most of the new towers to be on the Chinatown or North Station ends of the park. He isn't worried about over supply; ‘we're playing catch-up” with years of pent-up demand. To hear more, join us at the Hyatt Regency Boston, Aug. 13 for Bisnow's Future of Downtown.
Don't Miss Bisnow's Future of Downtown Event!
It's one of the hottest places to be in our city, so Bisnow is thrilled to hold our first-ever Boston Future of Downtown event on Aug. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Boston. The event will kick off with a keynote interview featuring The Druker Co prez Ronald Druker and Millennium Partners Boston principal Anthony Pangaro, followed by some great discussions on new developments on the horizon, challenges and opportunities in the area, and much more. Plenty of networking, too! Register here.
5th Bisnow Video
With Bisnow Education's latest video, Real Estate and Their Asset Classes, we drill down to fine-point dynamics of the industry itself, explaining vital differences among the many opportunities (economic and otherwise) commercial real estate has to offer. Peter Linneman, Wharton's real estate program founder and chairman, continues to share his extensive knowledge of how real estate sectors differ in operating, organizing and providing revenue, including:
Differences among Class-A, B and C properties.
Risks associated with retail hotel types (the differences are significant)
Shifts of demand within multifamily
Strip centers vs. power centers
The Internet challenge
This is our latest video and video No. 5 in our hugely popular educational series, with more to come. This one contains two-and-a-half hours of useful information, but it can be digested in bite-sized, five-minute spoonfuls that go down easy (watch a sample here). It's available to Bisnow readers for only $99, or purchase all five videos for $199. Order yours here, and for training program group licenses, email Will Friend at email@example.com.
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