Up Close With Cody Armbrister
CBRE EVP Cody Armbrister is wrapping up the repositioning of 20 Greenway Plaza and 5444 Westheimer, helping owners fill large vacancies in each. But they’re just the latest in a long string of office renovations and redevelopments in Cody’s career. (His comic book name could be Reno Redev.)
Cody started off in the tech industry a decade ago (he admits to having a binary mindset), working with Compaq and then merging into HP. (Fun fact: he later helped PrinREI reposition the old Compaq HQ, and would tour potential tenants through his old office.) He decided he wanted a job with more of an individual touch and loved hearing his in-laws talk about working at Trammell Crow elsewhere across the country. His father-in-law Doug Gordon introduced Cody to John Holland, and Cody bugged John for six months until John hired him at TCC in ’04. He would’ve taken any brokerage gig, but is glad he landed in office landlord rep, because he loves having a tangible product to market and is passionate about architecture.
Cody was immediately put on Lakes on Post Oak with Lee Jeane. It was 60% occupied and had fallen off the radar, but the owner implemented a $21M renovation, and the market picked up, pushing Cody into a rapid slew of big deals. (He tells us it was a steep learning curve but pushed him to accelerate his skills and career.) Although the Lakes on Post Oak has gone through three landlord iterations since, Cody’s still leasing it, and it’s 95% occupied. He discovered he loves office repositioning—he finds great pride in making outdated buildings viable for the long-term and getting the best bang for his clients’ buck in remodels. (Pictured: Cody's at Jazzfest with his wife Brooke, his Lakes on Post Oak leasing partner Rima Soroka, and her hubby Ryan Soroka.)
His latest repositionings, 20 Greenway and 5444 Westheimer, have just wrapped up renovations, and he hopes both will be nearly full by the end of the year. He says 20 Greenway has been a little misunderstood because it’s unique—it’s an iconic 1980’s atrium building that offers a great opportunity for non-traditional space. It’s got 50k SF floorplates and high parking ratios, and the recent development activity along Richmond is a big draw. On his professional bucket list: Getting more involved in The Woodlands’ activity and working on another high-profile Galleria development. (Here's Brooke and Cody skiing in British Columbia with Cody's clients Core's Mike Wyatt and TCC's Aaron Thielhorn.)
Back at home, Cody and Brooke just welcomed their third child on July 25. (They already had two girls—aged seven and four, who think he owns Williams Tower—and now they have a boy.) Cody loves skiing and golf and is taking his dad, brother-in-law, and father-in-law on a golf trip to Ireland and Scotland for the British Open next year. But Cody’s all-time favorite pastime is pouring a good glass of wine, putting on some music, and cooking for family and friends. He tells us he and his wife are adventurous eaters, and he mixes it up a lot in the kitchen, but she particularly loves it when he cooks Italian.