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Cushman & Wakefield Taps Long Island, Connecticut Head To Lead South Florida

Cushman & Wakefield is sending a New York executive down to Miami to lead the brokerage’s South Florida operations. 

Joseph Caridi has been with Cushman & Wakefield since 2014 and takes over in South Florida on June 24.

Joseph Caridi will take over the role of managing principal in South Florida for Cushman & Wakefield, overseeing more than 450 staff across four offices. His first day in the role will be June 24, and he is currently transitioning out of his job as the managing principal overseeing Long Island and Westchester County in New York, along with Connecticut. 

“We have a great region, but honestly I think we're only scratching the surface” in South Florida, Caridi told Bisnow Wednesday. “With the right leadership, and the right people, brokers and collaboration, I really believe that we can knock the cover off the ball. It's the perfect time and the perfect marketplace to do it in.” 

Caridi will be based out of the firm’s Miami office and will also oversee operations in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Boca Raton. The brokerage is looking to grow its headcount in the region, Caridi said.

He is still in New York ahead of the transition, but he said he is flying into Miami Thursday to tour a dozen apartments and sign a lease. After a year in Miami, he plans to decide if the centrally located Fort Lauderdale office is a better place to put down roots. 

Cushman & Wakefield is looking to grow its market share in South Florida, and Caridi acknowledged it was a strategic choice to bring in a New York broker that can leverage his client base as tenants in the Northeast continue to eye Florida expansions.

“Connecting those dots is really important,” he said. “You have a lot of people transplanting from the Northeast to the South — and if the people are doing it, the businesses are doing it, too — and it's something we need to just focus on more.”

Caridi has been with Cushman & Wakefield since 2014 and has more than 25 years of experience in commercial real estate, having previously served as Colliers' Tri-State region chief operating officer. He is replacing Gian Rodriguez, who left in January to run CBRE’s Miami office. Caridi will report to Wanda Riley, the firm’s managing principal for Florida. 

An alumnus of the City University New York School of Law, according to the South Florida Business Journal, Caridi said his main focus early on will be to ensure that office culture reflects Cushman & Wakefield’s values and that the best teams are being assembled to go after each project.

“I'm not saying it's not there, but we're going to have an inclusive and entrepreneurial culture with a winning attitude,” he said.

Caridi is like many other New Yorkers in that he first considered a move to South Florida three years ago. He’s been waiting for the right opportunity to open up, he said, finishing the classes to get his Florida real estate and broker licenses in the meantime.

“Known as New York’s sixth borough, South Florida has seen significant migration from the Northeast and Joe is a perfect example of that trend in action,” Roberta Liss, Cushman & Wakefield’s president of the Southeast Region, said in a statement. “His background in New York and deep familiarity with our business and clients along with his proven track record for recruiting leading talent sets up our South Florida region in a great way for continued growth.”

South Florida's CRE activity exploded during the pandemic as work-from-home trends, changes in tax policy and the state’s loose lockdown restrictions propelled a wave of relocating businesses and people. 

But that growth has slowed in recent quarters, with many performance metrics returning to pre-pandemic levels. Office leasing activity was down year-over-year at the end of the first quarter in Palm Beach and Broward counties and up a modest 3.2% in Miami-Dade. 

Office rents remain elevated and trending upwards, but shrinking footprints and fewer companies looking to relocate have kept several proposed office towers from breaking ground as developers search for anchor tenants. 

Still, Caridi said South Florida is a thriving marketplace where Cushman & Wakefield sees opportunity. He’s been studying the market data ahead of the move but is waiting to meet his new team and build relationships before deciding the best path to push down for regional growth.  

“I've done my homework, and I could rattle off to you that we want to get stronger in industrial or we want to be stronger in tenant rep, but I've really got to get in and dig my heels in first,” he said.