The Real Deal New York

NGKF’s Jimmy Kuhn on losing the Empire State Building assignment

“Owners of real estate are entitled to do whatever they want for any reason”
August 10, 2015 09:15AM

James Kuhn is stoical about his company’s removal from the Empire State Building portfolio, saying “It’s been a wonderful partnership.”

Despite his company, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, being bumped by JLL after what was hailed as a successful stint, Kuhn is taking the news in stride, comparing himself to great sports coaches who leave their teams.

“The best coach in basketball, Tom Thibodeau of the [Chicago] Bulls, took them to the playoffs and he’s not there. Jim Harbaugh was the great coach of the [San Francisco] 49ers and he’s not there,” Kuhn told the Wall Street Journal.“Owners of real estate are entitled to do whatever they want for any reason.”

Newmark has been the primary leasing agent at the 102-story, 3 million-square-foot Empire State Building since 2009. Occupancy at the building stands at a healthy 90 percent, up from 83 percent at the time of owner Empire State Realty Trust’s initial public offering in 2013, according to Jed Reagan of Green Street advisors.

Still, 10 percent of such a large building is nothing to scoff at. “They still have hundreds of thousands of square feet to vacate, redo and lease up,” Reagan told the Journal. “It’s going to be a while to fully stabilize this building.”

JLL has earned a number of major assignments recently, including 11 Times Square and 51 Astor Place. RFR Realty hired JLL earlier this year to manage its 5 million-square-foot office portfolio. [WSJ] – Ariel Stulberg