The Real Deal New York

Will Silverman in talks to join Eastdil: sources

The city's former #1 I-sales firm is up for sale
By Rich Bockmann | February 05, 2019 03:00PM

From left: Will Silverman, Eastdil Secured’s office at 40 West 57th Street, and Roy March (Credit: Hodges Ward Elliott and Google Maps)

UPDATED, Feb. 5, 5:38 p.m.: Eastdil Secured, still reeling from the loss of a number of top dealmakers, is looking to bring in an investment-sales veteran as the brokerage prepares for a potential sale.

Will Silverman, who leads the New York investment-sales practice at Hodges Ward Elliot, is in talks to join the Roy March-led Eastdil, sources told The Real Deal.

It’s unclear if Silverman has received a concrete offer. He declined to comment on Eastdil, but said in a prepared statement, “I am more than happy to discuss any offering Hodges Ward Elliott is pursuing for our clients in the New York market.”

Eastdil declined to comment.

One source with knowledge of the negotiations said Silverman may have a standard non-compete provision in contract with HWE that could delay a start date.

Silverman is an accomplished broker with deals including the $284 million sale of the 45-story luxury rental tower in Long Island City known as 1 QPS Tower on behalf of owners Hakim Organization, Property Markets Group and Howard Lorber’s New Valley to the Carlyle Group in December. The deal is believed to be a record for the priciest rental building ever sold in the borough.

Eastdil is still smarting from the loss of its trophy-seller duo of Doug Harmon and Adam Spies, who left for Cushman & Wakefield in October 2016. Eastdil’s deal volume for 2017 plunged 88 percent to $2.73 billion, according to TRD data, though in 2018 it rebounded considerably, with $5.86 billion in deals. Cushman was the city’s top firm again last year, with $16.49 billion in deals.

Eastdils’ parent company, Wells Fargo, put the brokerage up for sale last year, and Eastdil executives are reportedly close to a deal with a private equity group in Asia to back a management buyout.

The company lost another producer last spring, when the top hotel-sales team led by Larry Wolfe departed to join Newmark Knight Frank.

In the wake of the brain drain, Eastdil chief Roy March moved to New York from his base in Los Angeles in order to get more hands-on in the dealmaking. But the firm hasn’t been able to recapture all its former market share, and at least one source said March’s attention as of late has turned to Asia, where he’s courting potential buyers for the brokerage.

Late last year, Eastdil hired Allianz Real Estate of America acquisitions-chief Gary Phillips to serve as managing director of the company’s New York office.

Silverman, a Queens native who started his career as a Wall Street analyst at JPMorgan, spent nearly 12 years at Savills Studley before he left in 2015 to join HWE. At the time, the Atlanta-based brokerage was known in New York City mostly as a specialist in hotel deals, and Silverman spearheaded the launch of the company’s broader investment-sales practice in the five boroughs.

HWE brokered $710 million worth of deals in 2018, according to TRD’s latest ranking. That was up nearly 23 percent year-over-year, and put it in 10th place among the city’s firms.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Silverman’s team of five brokers will follow him to Eastdil. The group includes Paul Gillen, who worked under Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan at CBRE, and fellow Savills alum Daniel Parker.

Eddie Small contributed reporting.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Lawrence Britvan is a part of Will Silverman’s team at Hodges Ward Elliott. Britvan is head of a capital markets group that is separate from the investment sales division headed by Silverman.