Even for an industry in which brokers are rewarded for patience and repeat business is coveted above all else, the courtship between Vincent Tuminelli and Marubeni America stands out.
Already in his prime as a broker, Mr. Tuminelli engaged the trading firm as a tenant rep for Studley 12 years ago. But what began as a series of widely spaced transactions for one of Japan’s so-called “Three M’s” blossomed into a relationship that, in 2008, culminated with an offer to take the reins as the firm’s exclusive North America agent.
Since then, the bond has only grown stronger, with Mr. Tuminelli inking more than 20 office deals for the firm in such exotic locales as Chicago, Los Angeles and Manhattan–where the firm leased a 2,500-square-foot space last month at 1411 Broadway.
“I was consulting with them and I gave them advice on different things and we did one-off transactions here and there,” said Mr. Tuminelli, 53, whose ties with Marubeni America have, thus far, spanned four real estate firms. “But as we continued the relationship, I guess they wanted to make sure they were in good hands moving forward.”
With Mr. Tuminelli’s reputation for fostering relationships with Marubeni and Philips Electronics, among others, it was hardly a surprise last month when it was announced that the 30-year commercial real estate veteran had been tapped as the latest hire at Colliers International, a firm that has been expanding rapidly since 2008.
Only two weeks into his position as an executive managing director–his new office has yet to be fully moved into–the New York native, who has inked an estimated 10 million square feet of leases valued at $5 billion, said the post will allow him to expand his platform across North America, with Marubeni just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. However, it was Colliers International’s tristate chief executive, Mark Jaccom, who persuaded him to take the leap.
“What Colliers had was Mark Jaccom,” said Mr. Tuminelli, who earned stripes at Cushman & Wakefield, Studley and, most recently, CB Richard Ellis, where he served as a senior vice president before exiting last month. “That’s what they had. He’s faithful to all his people, and that was the prime thing for me.”
Even before his affair with Marubeni, Mr. Tuminelli was sealing deals for Philips, the lighting, electronics and health care conglomerate with whom he engaged in another timely bond.
Indeed, since 2006, Mr. Tuminelli has inked more than 200 leasing deals and 6 million square feet of transactions for the company, including both for large manufacturing space and offices. The relationship first began while he was a broker at the old Trammell Crow and soon blossomed into an arrangement that today means he handles 95 percent of the firm’s leasing business in North America.
In this year alone, Mr. Tuminelli has finalized 20 deals for Philips, including five offices in New York and two plants in Juarez, Mexico, he said. He has also sealed deals for the firm in Omaha, El Paso and Alpharetta, Ga., among other cities across the country big and small.
“I’ve found that my clients like when I can bring the New York City expertise to other regions of the United States,” said Mr. Tuminelli of his tendency of working for national firms on multiple assignments. “They like the way I go through a lease and protect all their rights on those leases, contractually.”
MR. TUMINELLI WAS born near Flatbush, Brooklyn, but moved with his family to Farmingdale at the age of 3 and, later, to Dix Hills, Long Island, where he lives today.
Although he earned a master’s in finance at St. John’s University and a bachelor’s in accounting from Long Island University, the would-be real estate agent spent only about two years of his career as an accountant, primarily while working at the LeFrak Organization and later at ESG, he said.
It was while toiling in the accounting and facilities management departments at those firms, however, that he first began to understand the economics behind the deals his peers on the brokerage side were closing.
“It always comes down to numbers, and everything in the lease is about economics,” said Mr. Tuminelli of his transition from accounting to leasing. “Most of my time at the beginning was number-crunching and understanding the economics of the lease and such.”
“Accounting was history,” added Mr. Tuminelli. “But here you’re looking at how to do things in the future, and that’s how I became more interested in working on the transactional side.”
An avid golfer who took top honors at the Real Estate Board of New York’s annual spring golf outing in May, the married father of four said his free time is spent on the links and with his family. Among his three grown sons and one daughter, only one of his kids has designs on the real estate world.
“It’s a tough road, but the middle boy, he’s at New Paltz–he’s been thinking about the residential side,” said Mr. Tuminelli of his 18-year-old son.
Similar to his thinking as a real estate broker, he attributed both his prowess on the golf course and his strong familial ties to the same tactics that have led to success in business.
Indeed, for Mr. Tuminelli, who also has been building strong ties with the international financial services firm Fiduciary Trust International, all good things come over time. “As a broker, you continue to develop relationships–and you always hope that someone’s going to recognize that value and it will result in business,” Mr. Tuminelli said. “What I’ve always done is try to hone my skills so that the money will come at some point.”