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A Compendium of Property & Capital News
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Jun 24
A Compendium of Property & Capital News

Transwestern in Flux: Michael Joyce Joins C&W as CBRE Tries to Lure Others

January 19, 2018 — By Joe Clements

BOSTON—The great rush for CRE brokerage expertise is apparently finding its way to the doors of Transwestern’s Boston office where at least one founding principal of the homegrown group has agreed to join a rival firm amid rumors swirling that more departures could be in store—possibly en masse—for the successful office which has been a beacon of loyalty among employees and leadership since being launched in summer 2001.

According to market watchers, urban leasing expert Michael Joyce has agreed to join Cushman & Wakefield, a decision which supposedly prompted other members of the original band to assess whether they should continue going forward sans their longtime colleague or entertain other avenues, either individually or collectively. An intriguing option supposedly in the works would have CBRE/NE fold some Transwestern team members into their operations at 33 Arch St., possibly even providing oversight control to select principals. CBRE/NE is presently run by Co-Managing partners Andy Hoar and Kevin Doyle.

“That is 100 percent accurate,” one market watcher insists regarding whether actual talks have been taking place, with principal Steven Purpura—who oversees the Boston office—mentioned as a potential principal who would play a management role at the combined group. Questions remain as to how far along or how serious such a scenario is being considered, but that source is among multiple industry watchers claiming CBRE/NE is a “big” and “aggressive” suitor in the Transwestern talent crusade.

Other founding members still at Transwestern are John Barry, John Lashar, Brian McKenzie, John Varholak and John Wilson, their unity becoming an anomaly this decade as a talent war erupted to change the CRE professional landscape dramatically. From its launch until three years ago when they were bought out by Transwestern, the firm operated as Richards Barry Joyce & Partners, or RBJ, with virtually no turnover as it was repeatedly ranked among the state’s most employee-friendly companies.

RBJ burst onto the Boston brokerage scene in a flash following the union of seven professionals from various top shops, the founding principals bringing a roster of impressive clients with them and then expanding their book of business to have coverage throughout the metropolitan markets as well as suburban Boston for both industrial and office activity.

Efforts to garner an official review of the evolving situation were unsuccessful as of press deadline, with calls to Transwestern and C&W not returned, and attempts to contact CBRE/NE officials were also unsuccessful.

Among the most consistent rumors are Joyce joining C&W, and the supposed campaign by CBRE/NE to secure other professionals from the group. A side aspect of the latter piece are reports parent company CBRE may be aiming to simultaneously dissolve a unique 50/50 partnership with Whittier Partners, the venerable real estate services firm which the international giant absorbed as a way to make inroads into New England.

The arrangement has been a fruitful one, combining local expertise with global resources, a formula that has since been repeated regionally in the merger of Colliers International with Meredith & Grew, JLL with Spaulding & Slye and Fallon Hines & O’Conner with Cassidy Turley. The original CBRE/NE deal was said to be much more favorable than others in terms of local control, revenue sharing and other aspects, and the latest theory would have the partners in that deal be bought out by CBRE to make way for a more streamlined union with Transwestern.

“Absolutely,” one CRE professional says when asked whether that notion is being mulled over, although those spoken to stressed the capricious nature such negotiations often foment could disrupt the process at any time. Also, should Transwestern show indications it will not survive the evolving situation as an entity, it is expected other companies will be—or already are—pursuing brokers and other talent. Among those regularly cited as a likely recruiter is Newmark Knight Frank, with the Boston office led by Capital Markets ace Robert E. Griffin Jr.

Real Reporter unveiled earlier this month that Newmark had recruited a four-member industrial team from JLL, the hires coming in the wake of a new public offering by the company that observers speculated would enhance the ability to reel in leading producers. Reached on Thursday, Griffin concurred the popularity of industrial real estate—“it’s the hottest asset class by far,” he says—enticed his firm to pursue professionals who could best lead the operations.

“We are very excited about it,” Griffin says of the arrival of Managing Directors Edward Jarosz and Richard Schuhwerk plus Anthony Coskren and Brian Pinch. “They are an incredibly talented group who will be (concentrating) all of their efforts on leasing and sales of industrial, and we think that is going to be a great advantage for us going forward,” Griffin relays.

As to Transwestern, he declined to say what Newmark may be doing in terms of monitoring any changes, but Griffin also does little to hide his admiration for the company and its assembled pool of brokers and support staff. “I have no idea how that will play itself out, but I am definitely impressed by the caliber of talent (at Transwestern) . . . and we would be excited for Newmark to (be considered) if any of them decide they need to go in a new direction,” he says, concurring the IPO should be a benefit competing for professionals.

Steve Purpura Robert Richards Michael Joyce Kevin Doyle Andy Hoar