Odd timing. That’s what New York investment brokers are saying about Halstead Property’s recently announced plans to open a commercial real estate investment arm during one of the worst markets in recent history.
“I don’t think it’s a great idea,” said an investment broker from a rival and well-established firm, which, though it has a good name and strong client relationships, has seen activity plummet. “We will crush them.”
Others were similarly dubious, though more diplomatic.
“If you’re selling in the $500,000 to $5 million range, if you’re doing very localized markets, like Main Street in Flushing and certain areas in Brooklyn, great,” said another broker. “There’s always a market in cash buyers. But I don’t see how someone as well heeled as Halstead is going to do that.”
In other words, the higher-end folks at Halstead, renowned for their luxury residential dealmaking, aren’t about to start brokering $1 million deals in Sheepshead Bay.
John Goldman, the managing director of the new unit, said that he, too, had been doubtful about the viability of the project. At first.
“It concerned me briefly, in the very first hours, before I came here and shortly thereafter,” Mr. Goldman admitted. “But I can tell you right now that that concern is out the window. I’m not just saying this. I’m telling you. … I’m discussing some transactions that could aggregate as much as $100 million.”
Mr. Goldman said confidentiality agreements precluded him from disclosing his new clients.
But thus far, Mr. Goldman has has hired two brokers internally—Bruce Davis and Roger Coryne. And there’s room for more.
“We are really actively recruiting,” Mr. Goldman said. “Unlike a lot of commercial real estate brokers in the city, we’re busy. And we need help, and we have more business than we can handle.”
Mr. Goldman has experience in the industry. As executive managing director of Murray Hill Properties, he did more than $100 million in Manhattan sales. In this Halstead venture, Mr. Goldman is aiming for something boutiquey, something that won’t focus on any particular asset class.
“We are not trying to be another CB Richard Ellis or Cushman or Massey Knakal,” he said. “The new division will be a group of capable commercial brokers who will service the referrals from the residential brokers as well as having transactions of their own. It will be a little more idiosyncratic. … We are a bunch of people who will take each transaction, focus on it and do as good of a job as we can. It’s just not going to be that structured an organization.”