Day in the Life of: Will Silverman

The head of Hodges Ward Elliott’s new investment sales division on transcendental meditation, reading Proust and $1B-plus in deals

May.May 01, 2016 01:29 PM
Will-Silverman

Will Silverman (Photo by Larry Ford)

Will Silverman — a former top broker at Savills Studley — jumped to Hodges Ward Elliott in June 2015 to launch the Atlanta-based firm’s New York investment sales division. While HWE has predominately been focused on hotel sales, Silverman, a managing director at the company, is quickly turning the firm into a player on NYC’s broader investment sales scene. In March, he brokered the $140 million purchase of 38 Bronx rental buildings by Harbor Group International and York Equities. And HWE is on pace to exceed $1 billion in non-hotel investment sales deals in New York for 2016, Silverman said. The 37-year-old Queens native, who started his career as a Wall Street analyst at JPMorgan, brokered nearly $6 billion in building sales over his nearly 12 years at Studley. In his free time, the father of three writes comedic one-liners and TV spec scripts. He’s also written a story idea for the semi-improvised show “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

6 a.m. I’m the first one awake in my house in Greenwich, Conn. My wife and I have identical twin sons who are about to turn 3, and they have a baby brother who is 17 months.

6:30 a.m. I fix myself a bowl of gluten-free cereal with some almond milk and a banana. The baby sits on my lap and we share the cereal. This is probably the quietest moment that will happen in my house on a particular day.

CURB-YOUR-ENTHUSIASM-TV7:30 a.m. The twins wake up. I spend a few minutes with them and put on my suit.

8 a.m. I walk to the [Metro-North] train. During the 50-minute ride, I do 20 minutes of transcendental meditation. I’ve gotten to the point where I can meditate with pretty substantial distractions. I also listen to Howard Stern and get caught up on email. Howard Stern is probably the strongest interviewer working in American media. Having to constantly come up with new material that’s relevant and engaging is kind of a different version of the challenges of my job. I’m trying to keep an investor audience engaged with interesting data points and hopefully a bit of humor.

9:15 a.m. I walk into the office [in Midtown] and catch up with my partners Paul Gillen and Daniel Parker. Then I might go tour a property, such as a Downtown office building we’re recapitalizing.

11:30 a.m. We have a pipeline meeting at the office. Since we started the commercial venture at Hodges Ward Elliott last summer, we’ve closed two transactions, are marketing two more right now and we’ve been hired on at least three others. We’re focused on sales and equity right now, but our plans involve getting more deeply into the debt side.

Will-Silverman-dog1 p.m. For lunch, I like to eat spicy tuna on crispy rice with a warm crab roll at Koi at the Bryant Park Hotel. I frequently dine with 60 Guilders’ Kevin Chisholm, who is a friend in both life and business.

2 p.m. I check in with our research staff, which is working on some unique projects. For example, the city makes available the latitude, longitude and time of every single taxi ride. We can use that information to track gentrification in various markets. We can track whether people are working later hours at particular office buildings, or in particular office districts. In the last five years, the peak Downtown cab pickup time has gone from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., which either means that people are working later or that the food and beverage offerings Downtown [have increased]. Either one is good news for that market. Our head of research has two computer screens and at least one of them looks like “The Matrix.”

3 p.m. We make presentations to investors about the deals we’re marketing and the research we’re doing.

4:30 p.m. During any free time, I make calls about deals or calls to cultivate new relationships. I tend to pace a lot when I’m on the phone, so I have a standup desk. It enables me to move around and gesticulate as much as my [half] Italian heritage demands. I have various toys to occupy my hands, like a baseball bat to swing around a bit. My mother likes to say, on her side of the family, “If you want someone to shut up, you just need to tie their hands together.” I’m another example of that.

7 p.m. I head out to dinner. I try to have dinners or events booked Monday through Thursday. I eat at Amali, Le Bilboquet and Il Mulino on the Upper East Side. That makes it easy to jump in an Uber back to Connecticut.

underworld-book10 p.m. I’m home. I have a Labradoodle named Grouper — like the fish. My wife [who used to work at Jonathan Rose Companies] jokes that she thinks I text him before I text her to say I’m coming home soon. He has this incredible habit of moving from the bedroom to the mudroom five minutes before I walk in.

10:15 p.m. I read a lot. Right now, I’m reading “Underworld” by Don DeLillo. When my kids were born, I decided it was time to start tackling vast works of fiction. I read the first volume of Proust and David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest.” I’m trying to work my way through some of the heavier stuff. I read fiction on paper and nonfiction electronically. If you really want the richness of the fiction experience, you’re missing something if you don’t have the texture and smell of a book.  With all due respect to the Daniel Pinks and Malcolm Gladwells of the world, I don’t feel as bad reading that stuff electronically. That’s more conveyance of information than art.

11 p.m. I catch up with my wife over pre-bedtime pillow talk. A good night is one in which my wife and I are able to sleep until the morning.


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