Richard Baxter Dishes on the Drama Behind the Deals at Casa Lever

Last year, however, Mr. Baxter and his colleagues took a gamble, leaving Cushman for the rival brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle. The move, one of the biggest shakeups in the city’s investment sales industry in years, was a clear victory for JLL, whose lack of a competitive sales team was becoming increasingly conspicuous in the eyes of many real estate observers, not least of all those at the dominant brokerage firm CBRE.

For a time, the team seemed to lose ground to competitors like Ms. Stacom and Mr. Shanahan, who in 2010 appeared to re-energize the investment sales market by scoring a string of prominent sales, not least among them 340 Madison Avenue, 125 Park Avenue and 600 Lexington Avenue.

But Baxter and the team have regained ground. Aside from prominent deals like the pair of residential buildings the group sold to Mr. Macklowe, the team has sold smaller but still-lucrative assets, like 15 Little West 12th Street, which the group traded to investor Steve Elghanayan for $70 million in May. In June, they sold 70 Pine Street to Metro Loft for $205 million.

Heading into 2012, meanwhile, the group has even bigger deals in the pipeline. Indeed, the team will be hitting the market in the upcoming quarter with two prominent assets—one of them in Midtown, the other in Midtown South—that Mr. Baxter expects will trade for $600 million and $300 million respectively. “New York is a huge market and the way we look at it, there’s room enough for everyone,” Mr. Baxter said.

Mr. Baxter, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Tolchin were clearly in a hurry to leave Casa Lever. With so much to do, they had ordered a car to meet out front and shuttle them back to the office. By then, Mr. Mechanic and

Mr. Torgalkar had left, but in their place was Andrew Mathias, president of SL Green and the man in charge of overseeing acquisitions at the firm. Mr. Baxter and his team exchanged hellos and slid in to catch up.

The sense of urgency to leave was suddenly gone. The office could wait.

Richard Baxter Dishes on the Drama Behind the Deals at Casa Lever