Veteran retail broker Howard Gilbert has jumped to ABS Partners Real Estate from Newmark Knight Frank, saying the latter “wasn’t for me.”
Gilbert — best known for bringing Forever 21 to Manhattan and helping with Bank of America’s expansion in the city — spent less than three years at Newmark, where was a senior managing director. At ABS, the 65-year-old will oversee four brokers that make up the firm’s retail division. He started July 31.
“You really need to be on a team to be successful over there with a real strong leadership. I worked with a couple of retail brokers on assignments [at NKF], but it’s not the same as being the team,” he told Commercial Observer. “If you aren’t on the top of the totem pole, it’s hard to do business. I can work with the principals [at ABS], which is what I wanted.”
Before Newmark, Gilbert hung his hat at RKF for nearly two decades. There, he brokered a deal for Forever 21 at 40 East 14th Street in Union Square as well as 1540 Broadway near Times Square.
He joined Newmark in the fall of 2014. Last year, Gilbert helped Uniqlo open a 6,000-square-foot pop-up store at 1535 Broadway. Between 2005 and 2010, he represented Bank of America as it opened around two dozen branches and ATM locations in Manhattan.
In a statement, Gregg Schenker, president of ABS, said Gilbert’s long track record would help the firm “grow our direct business” and recruit new brokers.