It’s CBRE By a Mile! Firm Dominates ’08 Dealmaking

Nerves are frayed. Skin is tissue-paper thin. Expectations for dealmaking in the year to come have been appropriately moderated. But we must have hierarchy! Even in recessions.

To the list! According to Crain’s and CoStar’s “Top Manhattan Office Leasing Deals” of 2008, released Feb. 16, CB Richard Ellis retained its firm grasp on the No. 1 spot, representing either the tenant or the landlord (and in some synergetic cases, both) in 24 of the top 50 office leasing deals of 2008. Put another way, CBRE was involved in the leasing of more than 6.3 million Manhattan square feet.

Which brokerage occupies the No. 2 spot in the pecking order remains a little unclear. On the one hand, CBRE’s arch nemesis, Cushman & Wakefield, took part in 16 of the top 50 deals, compared to Newmark Knight Frank’s 11. But Cushman’s deals amounted to a mere 2,723,114 square feet, 47,944 square feet less than Newmark’s 2,771,058.

Jimmy Kuhn, Newmark’s president, declined to publicly lord it over his competition (he was probably channeling his competitive energies to his son, who on Monday was fencing in the Junior Olympics in Arizona).

Instead, by email from the Grand Canyon state, Mr. Kuhn credited the firm’s long-standing practice of nurturing talent in-house. “[W]e have guys that came up 15 and 20 years ago, and are now in their early 40s and are starting to dominate,” Mr. Kuhn wrote. “In addition, we have added a consulting department of Six Sigma black belts from places like FedEx, and they augment the strategy in the areas of workplace efficiency and utilization plus logistics.”

Other boldface names on the list included Jones Lang LaSalle, involved in eight of the 50 deals; FirstService Williams, involved in five; and Studley, involved in two.

We’ll have more on this in Wednesday’s print Observer.

It’s CBRE By a Mile! Firm Dominates ’08 Dealmaking