The 57-year-old privately held commercial advisory firm Studley entered the lucrative Manhattan retail leasing market for the first time, tapping Patrick Breslin, an executive in Grubb & Ellis’ retail operations, to lead the new East Coast division, the company announced this morning.
Michael Colacino, president of Studley, said the firm is adding retail in New York City because it believed it could profit by providing additional services to existing clients that have retail operations as well as earn relatively high commissions paid on retail deals.
This is not the first retail operation for Studley, which has store-leasing agents in Los Angeles, Washington and Chicago, but it is seeking to create a cohesive operation throughout the country.
“We are trying to knit this together into a national retail practice, with a tenant focus,” he said. The idea is “to take the high-profile retail brands that we do office work for and find if there is a way we can service them in this sector as well.”
Several firms have expanded or introduced retail operations in New York City this year. For example, Massey Knakal Retail Services opened a retail division in January, while in June, the Chera family’s Crown Retail Services expanded by hiring two veterans from a competing firm.
Breslin, formerly the president of Grubb & Ellis’ east coast retail operations,will be an executive vice president for the east coast retail services division of Studley, adding a retail group within the Midtown headquarters. He was hired in August and began in September, Colacino said. Prior to Grubb, he was the president of the retail group at GVA Williams (now known as Colliers International). Earlier in his career, he worked in the retail division of CB Richard Ellis. Breslin was not immediately available for comment.
Howard Dolch, executive vice president at retail-focused firm Lansco, who had not been aware of Breslin’s move, said it was a logical path of growth.
“It is something that Studley has not had a specialty in, and they just expanded operations, so it seems to make sense,” he said.
Studley expects to hire between five and 10 retail brokers and agents by the end of next year for the Manhattan office, either one by one or by hiring an entire team from another firm, Colacino said.
In March 2010, the firm said it would be growing, but did not say how.
Midtown-based Studley has 19 offices in the United States and one in London, as well as a partnership with Paris-based AOS, according to the company website.