The Real Deal New York

Lee & Associates picks up three more brokers from Grubb & Ellis

In growing New York team, brokerage seeks out specialists

June 25, 2012 06:00PM
By Guelda Voien

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From left: Jonathan Miller, now of Lee & Associates, the Barney's space on Madison Avenue and 9 West 57th Street

New York City newcomer Lee & Associates is continuing its expansion here with more “specialized hires,” a spokesperson for the national brokerage told The Real Deal. Lee has acquired three more brokers from the once-mighty Grubb & Ellis, including “land position” expert Jonathan Miller.

Miller, a 40-year veteran of the industry, will join Sidney Rosenthal and Alan Weisman at the firm. All three will hold the title of executive managing director.

Miller, who began work with the brokerage last month, said the supportive environment was a major factor in attracting him to the firm, to which many of his other former colleagues have also defected.

A specialist in “blue chip land positions,” wherein the building owner and land owner are different and a long-term net lease is required, Miller has negotiated deals for Nike’s flagship Nike Town on Fifth Avenue and the Trump International Hotel. Miller won REBNY’s prestigious Most Ingenious Deal award for negotiating the 1994 transaction in which Barney’s New York bought its 660 Madison Avenue flagship as a retail condominium.

Rosenthal, a specialist in the assemblage of development sites, and has brokered the assembly of such high-profile projects as 9 West 57th Street, which asks some of the highest office rents in Manhattan, and 919 Third Avenue.

Weisman specializes in industrial leases.

The additions bring the total broker count at Lee’s New York office to 30.

BGC Partners closed on the acquisition of bankrupt commercial brokerage Grubb & Ellis in April. Grubb filed for Chapter 11 protection in late February of this year. “At one time the Santa Ana-based [Grubb] towered above all of the other leading commercial real estate brands,” Forbes wrote at the time, blaming heavy borrowing for the huge firm’s demise.

Miller is not to be confused with Miller Samuel’s president and CEO, another prominent real estate figure named Jonathan Miller.

“Since our office opened in November, we have been in high-gear in broker recruitment – one underlining objective has been quality and expertise,” Jim Wacht, president of Lee & Associates NYC, said in a statement provided to The Real Deal. “These three gentlemen not only fulfill this crucial element, but provide further glue in making this office complete and formidable.”

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