David Behin, the co-founder of residential brokerage MNS, is now leading Brooklyn sales for Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, The Real Deal has learned.
In an interview with TRD at ICSC on Monday, Behin confirmed the move, saying he left MNS in early May and started working at Newmark right after. He is working out of both Newmark’s office in Dumbo Heights and its headquarters at 125 Park Avenue.
“With their national platform I would be able to do the type of business I have been doing on a smaller scale, and ramp it up,” Behin said.
James Kuhn, president of Newmark, remarked that Brooklyn was attracting more institutional buyers — the likes of Westbrook Partners, RFR Realty and Kushner Companies have been doing major deals there over the past two years. Newmark recently announced it was going to take on office leasing assignments in the borough, and Behin’s hire will formalize the firm’s push into sales.
“We felt it was important to find someone who was Mr. Brooklyn,” Kuhn said. “We thought David, through his various iterations, knows every developer in Brooklyn and has the respect of every developer in Brooklyn.”
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MNS formed in 2009 through the merger of Brooklyn-based new-development specialist Developers Group, which Behin co-founded, and Manhattan-focused Real Estate Group of New York, which was founded by MNS CEO Andrew Barrocas. In 2011, Behin launched MNS’ investment sales division, working on transactions such as the St. Vincent de Paul church development site in North Williamsburg, and the note for 53 Broadway, a land parcel in South Williamsburg. The investment sales brokerage landscape in Brooklyn, however, is dominated by the likes of small, scrappy shops that have cornered the market on major deals, such as Aaron Jungreis’ Rosewood Realty Group and Steven Vegh’s Westwood Realty Associates.
Behin and Kuhn, however, believe they can make a dent.
“You need to have a major platform to get the major assignments,” Kuhn said. “David moved to elevate his platform.”
Kuhn did not offer a specific target for deal volume, but said Newmark wanted to get active in the multifamily space, both for existing buildings and land deals.
Though a large chunk of the big Brooklyn deals are off-market, Behin said institutional investors “want to go through a process, and even on the non-institutional side there are guys who do exclusives.”
Behin said MNS would continue to focus on new residential development. Kuhn said Behin will ultimately exit his ownership stake in MNS, but those discussions are ongoing.