Day in the Life of: Paul Amrich

The top CBRE leasing broker on avoiding the subway, golf with Harry Macklowe and 20 million in NYC leases
By Mark Maurer | June 01, 2016 11:00AM
Paul Amrich (Photo by Larry Ford)

Paul Amrich (Photo by Larry Ford)

Paul Amrich, a vice chairman at CBRE, is one of New York City’s top office leasing agents. The 43-year-old Alabama native and his six-person team broker about 130 leases a year, totaling more than 1.5 million square feet. And he’s done more than 20 million square feet in deals since starting his real estate career in 1995. His team represents some of the top landlords in the city, including Macklowe Properties, Paramount Group, Westbrook Partners and Normandy Real Estate Partners. In April, he brokered his biggest deal yet, representing landlord Columbia Property Trust in a 30-year transaction with NYU Langone Medical Center for the entire 390,000-square-foot building at 222 East 41st Street. Amrich went to college at Campbell University in North Carolina on a golf scholarship and now brings those ace skills when he hits the links with real estate bigwigs. Amrich joined CBRE in 2006 — after 10 years at Cushman & Wakefield — and became the youngest vice chairman in the commercial brokerage’s history in 2012.

5:12 a.m. The alarm on my phone goes off. I get up and head downstairs to the gym in our building on 93rd and Park. During the workweek, I try to work out religiously — three or four days a week. Two days a week, I have an hour-long session with my trainer. My wife was an oncologist at North Shore-LIJ but stepped down in the fall to care for our two little ones. We have a 2-year-old son named Paul Sutton and a six-month-old daughter named Holland.

Paul-Amrich-smoothie7 a.m. I jump in a car. It’s a straight shot down to [CBRE’s headquarters at] 200 Park. I like to be on the phone and be connected. I’d take the subway, but not being connected even for a few minutes is pretty troubling. I receive about 700 emails a day. I stop by Juice Generation and order a Mr. Greengenes smoothie, which has kale and a bunch of other stuff.

7:30 a.m. I like to start the day in the office, even if it’s just 30 minutes before I’ve got to run to a meeting. Planning for the day and week happens early in the morning when it’s quiet.

10 a.m. I like to be out of the office 75 percent of the day. I recently visited 1375 Broadway on a whim because I wanted to see how demolition was going on a particular floor. I was in the car passing by and told my driver to stop and I hopped out. Sometimes we have leasing meetings on site at a building. We may talk while hitting up various renovation projects. If we were sitting around a table and looking at a bunch of paper we might not get that insight.

12 p.m. I eat lunch at my desk a lot. I can grab a tossed salad and half a tuna fish sandwich and I’m good. … Wasting time on lengthy [meals] is not my style.

Paul-Amrich-Tuna1 p.m.   Every day, we have at least one or two hour-long meetings with a building owner. We urge all of our clients on the landlord side to meet with us at least once every week. I’m known for getting involved in every little detail. At a recent meeting with Westbrook, I brainstormed about which coffee-shop tenant would work best with the new lobby at 1375 Broadway.

3 p.m.   My team and I meet to go over the big picture. The NYU Langone deal was by far the most complicated deal I’ve ever worked on. It was a long-term lease structured for tax benefits. We also had to do documentation with the owner of the dirt because Columbia Property Trust doesn’t own the land. … We also review our pipeline. The tenants at the buildings we represent are mostly private financial sector firms like hedge funds, private equity funds and wealth managers. Because we do so many lease deals a year, we can gauge what deal flow feels like. We think about things like: “We only had five tours at that building last week. What’s wrong?’”

Paul-Amrich-golf4 p.m.   When the weather is nice, I might play golf with a client on a Friday afternoon. Harry Macklowe is a mentor, close friend and a great client. We represent him on the office space at 432 Park and previously at 510 Madison Avenue. The office portion of 432 Park will be three floors with 18,000 square feet apiece and will be ready for tenant construction by early 2017. A lot of the depth of my relationship with Harry was formed on the golf course. Harry and I have played at least 50 rounds together.

6:30 p.m.   Four out of five nights, I try to be home with my family for dinner. I may spend a half-hour at a building event before coming home. Adam Spies [of Eastdil Secured] is one of my best friends, and I may see him at an event or out with close friends. I also frequently see Sush Torgalkar of Westbrook, Tom Gilbane of Rockpoint Group and Robert Rosania of Maximus Real Estate Partners.

7 p.m.   At home, my wife, Myra, and I cook — typically chicken. I wouldn’t say it’s very organized given that we have young kids, but it’s a good, quality time.

Paul-Amrich-TV8 p.m. My son is infatuated with yard equipment like leaf blowers and lawnmowers. I read him a book about construction and hang out with my six-month-old and hope she doesn’t spit up on me. Then we put the kids to sleep.

8:30 p.m.   I catch a piece of the local news and watch mindless TV. I also watch Bloomberg, which is an amazing channel that gives you perspective of what’s happening in business around the globe.

10 p.m.   You’ve got to let your mind rest. I’m usually pretty beat by then, so I go to sleep.  No day is a cakewalk in this business.