Why Our Town is Better Than Yours
Hometown pride is a force like no other. Wars have been fought over it. Stupid t-shirts have been worn defending it. Bisnow publishes in 23 cities, so we asked some of the nation's biggest companies why they chose to put their HQ where they did. We think you'll enjoy the results.
NYC: Cushman & Wakefield
Cushman & Wakefield, founded by brothers-in-law Clyde Cushman and Bernie Wakefield (above), is the biggest private real estate company in the world, employing more than 16,000. C&W co-chairman John Cushman tells us the first in his family to try his hand at real estate was Don Alonzo Cushman, who bought up most of what is now Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood (no doubt foreseeing the galleries, clubs, and restaurants that would make real estate values there pop). Don launched D.A. Cushman Realty Corp in the 1850s and lost his holdings (from 18th to 23rd streets and Ninth Avenue to the river) during the Depression. John tells us he owns 100% of the stock on that company; there's nothing in it, but he's saved it for posterity.
Don was eight generations off the Mayflower, and three generations after him, in 1917, John's grandfather Clyde and great uncle Bernie (their wives were sisters) founded C&W in a tiny office at 30 E 42nd St (above) between Fifth and Madison avenues. Offices followed at 1281 Madison, 529 Fifth Ave, 1166 Ave of the Americas, and 51 W 52nd St, and now C&W's HQ takes up 156k SF in 1290 Ave of the Americas. Three of John's four sons are in real estate, too (at Property Group Partners, Tishman, and C&W's Silicon Valley office), making them the seventh consecutive generation in the biz.
John joined the company in '63, and in '67, when he was just 26, moved to LA to open the company's second California office. In '77, he went to Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program to "get polished up," part of his grooming to become president. It didn't take. Instead he and twin brother Lou quit C&W on April 1, 1978, and started tenant rep firm Cushman Realty Corp in LA (that's John and Lou, above). They grew it to a 197-person national company by the late '90s. In June 2001, Arthur Mirante and Bruce Mosler lured them back, and CRC merged with C&W. Lou is a vice chairman in the Houston office and John is based in LA, though he also has an office in NYC and flies at least 6,000 miles a week, including a Christmas jaunt to Costa Rica.