Brown Harris Stevens hires hospitality vet to head new hotel sales division

By Candace Taylor | June 05, 2012 05:30PM

Brown Harris Stevens’ commercial real estate division has tapped industry veteran John Murray to head up its new hotel sales operation. Murray, previously at the Hyatt Corporation, has been named senior vice president, working under Brown Harris Stevens Commercial Real Estate Director David Sargoy.

Brown Harris Stevens is, of course, primarily known for its long-held status as one of Manhattan’s major residential real estate firms. But in 1997, the firm started a commercial real estate division.

Brown Harris Stevens has long done hospitality deals, Murray said, but now the brokerage is “bringing it together into one group” in hopes of taking advantage of the active hotel sales market.

“Today, [there are] a variety of hotels that are coming to market because of financial need, or because owners think it’s the right time to sell,” Murray said. “Particularly in New York City, the market is very strong for hotel sales.”

The new group will initially focus on hotel deals in the Tri-State area, he said, and will gradually expand its activities throughout the Northeast. He added that the hotel sales division will add more brokers in the future, but declined to specify how many.

“In the future, we see a larger footprint in the hotel brokerage segment,” he said.

Murray has worked in the hospitality sector for 30 years. Most recently, he was at Hyatt, where his responsibilities included the development and implementation of the market strategy for the Hyatt Place and Hyatt Summerfield Suites brand rollout.

But with new development of hotels now less active, Murray — who said he has known Brown Harris Stevens Co-Chairman Kent Swig for years — decided to try the brokerage side of the business.

“New development had slowed a bit,” said Murray. “I saw brokerage as an opportunity to excel.”

In a statement released by the firm, Swig said: “John is a tremendous addition to our growing commercial real estate division.”