Close Up With Lou Cushman
Cushman & Wakefield vice chairman Lou Cushman is nearly synonymous with office tenant representation. (They should start calling it "Cushmaning.") We caught up with the legend, who tipped us off to when he’s retiring.
Never! Lou says he enjoys closing deals and doesn’t plan on ever stopping. He started with C&W—founded by his grandfather and great uncle in 1917—in 1965 and moved to Houston from NYC in 1971 to open and head its local office. When Lou takes on a client, it’s a long-term thing: His oldest continuing client dates back to 1972. (They've seen a lot of hairstyles over the years.) The same goes for his teammates; the combined tenure of the original group of eight tenant rep office brokers still with him is 194 years.
Lou (here with his wife, Christy) tells us his most special deal was the Pennzoil HQ lease in Pennzoil Place in 1974—his first major lease in Houston and with Hines. He says he has the same intensity, focus, passion, and attention to detail now that he did back then. In fact, Lou was C&W’s worldwide top office producer in 2007. Maybe that’s because he's not afraid to put in serious time—he once worked on a deal over five years before closing it. (We have a hard time spending five minutes trying to get a jar open.)
Here’s Lou with his wife and two children in their new house in Jackson, Wy. His passions include collecting art and antiques—most of the art in C&W’s Houston office is his, and he supports numerous Houston art institutions like the Menil Collection—and mountain climbing (he’s scaled Mt. Ranier twice). His most unique experience was when he and his twin brother John went to Havana in 1959 against their parents’ orders. (It hadn’t crossed their minds to go until it was forbidden). Once they saw a billboard advertising the $27 round trip, they couldn't resist. By sheer luck, they met Fidel Castro, got his autograph, and took a picture with him.