CushWake wins back hospitality veteran after losing him to competitor

David Gray
David Gray

Five months after leaving Cushman & Wakefield to establish a competitor’s flagship South Florida office, David Gray has switched back to his old firm.

Gray’s career as a property appraiser stretches back a little over three decades, 16 years of which he spent as an executive managing director for Cushman & Wakefield, judging the values for some of South Florida’s iconic properties like the Trump National Doral, Fontainebleau, Ritz-Carlton South Beach and the Delano South Beach.

In search of a more entrepreneurial gig, Gray told The Real Deal, he joined LW Hospitality Advisors in May to set up the company’s first office in Florida. He had been long-time friends with the company’s president, Dan Lesser, and liked that LW focused solely on hospitality properties, his specialty.

LW signed a six-month lease for office space in Boca Raton, and Gray set about laying the groundwork for bringing in staff and business within the next year.

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But a case of heartsickness led Gray to leave his newfound responsibilities. After 16 years, Gray said, Cushman & Wakefield felt more like home than he realized.

“I was sorry to leave them; they’re very good friends,” he said. “But that’s how much I wanted to be back at Cushman & Wakefield.”

So, Gray got his old job back at Cushman & Wakefield as executive managing director. But Evan Weiss, executive managing principal at LW, said that doesnt mean his firm’s Boca office is shutting down.

“If anything, we’ll be redoubling our efforts on local and regional efforts,” he said. Plans for whether a replacement will be brought in are yet to be determined, Weiss said, but LW has several large South Florida consulting jobs in the pipeline and can rely on the firm’s existing staff in Atlanta and New York to get them done.