Ouch! Titans Cushman and CBRE Trade Barbs Over ’07 Deals

Brokerage CB Richard Ellis saw quite the year in 2007, with its name filling a list of the top leasing deals in Crain’s New York Business. The list, compiled by data from the CoStar Group, notes some 34 appearances by CBRE in the Top 50 leases list, either on the tenant or landlord side, outstripping that of any other brokerage.

Cushman & Wakefield captured the silver with 17 leases on either side of the transaction.

So has the wide gap between CBRE and its principal competitor brought any modesty to the top brokerage? Not in this game.

“We don’t lower our fees, we hardly ever compete on price, and in fact, many of our competitors outbid us, but we win anyway,” said CBRE’s executive managing director of the tristate region, Dean Shaprio. “I think the numbers would prove out that Cushman is starting to drift.”

Mr. Shaprio said the firm’s size—with more than 1,100 employees in the region—is also helping it win business, as a large international firm is attractive in an increasingly globalized economy.

However, Joseph Harbert, chief operating officer of Cushman’s New York region, said that the Top 50 list represents just “a slice of the market,” and, indeed, the rivalry is still alive and well.

“It’s not our perception that they’re pulling away,” Mr. Harbert said of CBRE.

The investment-sales numbers were a bit more reassuring for Cushman, as the power team of Scott Latham, Richard Baxter, Ron Cohen and Jon Caplan helped arrange billions in sales.

Cushman provided representation on the top two property sales of 2007—the sales of 666 Fifth Avenue and 388-390 Greenwich Street—and eight of the top 25. CBRE, spurred by Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan, the team marketing the GM Building, perhaps the world’s most valuable office tower, was listed as a representative on seven sales deals.

Ouch! Titans Cushman and CBRE Trade Barbs Over ’07 Deals