Did You Hear? Former Subway Franchisee Finds New Home at SVN

A Daily Look at the Movers and Shakers in Commercial Real Estate

From left: Tanner Switzenberg, Reece W. Lowry and Thad Switzenberg, immediately after doing the 134-meter (440-foot) Nevis bungee jump in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Thad Switzenberg learned everything he knows about being a broker while running a Subway sandwich shop in New Zealand. Not really, but his experience doing so has certainly helped his career in commercial real estate.

Switzenberg, part of a family with commercial real estate in its blood, just joined SVN | Desert Commercial Advisors, a real estate services firm in Phoenix. In his new role, Switzenberg will help SVN | Desert Commercial Advisors grow its land development business while also working with its retail investment sales group.

Switzenberg, who previously worked at Phoenix Commercial Advisors, said the decision to join Desert Commercial Advisors was an easy one, once he met Rommie Mojahed, director of retail and sales investments. Mojahed had established relationships with some of Switzenberg’s brothers, who also work in commercial real estate. “When I met with Rommie, everything just kind of clicked,” Switzenberg said.

The Switzenberg name is well known in Arizona commercial real estate. Switzenberg’s father, Donald Switzenberg, has been in the land development business in the Valley of the Sun for decades. Thad Switzenberg’s older brother Tyson Switzenberg is a senior vice president in the Phoenix office of Jones Lang LaSalle, and his younger brother Trask Switzenberg is a vice president at Kidder Matthews, a West Coast-based commercial real estate services firm. Thad Switzenberg has another brother, Tanner Switzenberg, who works in the construction business.

“All of us ended up coming back [to real estate] in one form or the other,” Thad Switzenberg said.

He hadn’t always planned it that way. Switzenberg started out playing baseball at Maricopa Community College, but quickly realized that would not be his eventual profession. So, seeking something else, he headed to New Zealand. “I was looking for an adventure at the time,” he said.

In January 2005, Switzenberg built, owned and operated a Subway franchise on Wairakei Road in Christchurch, New Zealand, and fell in love with the country and its people. “New Zealand is the size of California with the population of Phoenix,” Switzenberg said. The local residents were friendly and wanted to get to know Switzenberg, he said. “It was a lovely pace of life.”

While in New Zealand, Switzenberg joined an indoor cricket league, as cricket and rugby were the country’s top sports. Several of his baseball skills transferred to cricket, and he said he became a good “mid-level” player.

About three years later, Switzenberg sold his Subway franchise and headed back to the states, where he got a job as a property manager at Americor Investment Group. His time running a Subway has helped Switzenberg in the brokerage business, he said. The huge company had its operations systems down pat, and that helped all employees do their jobs. “The best systems are simple and repeatable all the way up and are the path to be successful,” he said, and this strategy works in real estate, too. Moreover, what Switzenberg learned as a franchisee helps him work for SVN, a commercial real estate franchisor.

Today, settling into his new job at SVN | Desert Commercial Advisors, Switzenberg said he already enjoys the culture and smaller-firm feel of his new company. While he still misses New Zealand, he has no plans to return for good at this point, but will return for vacations there.

Did you know?  While in New Zealand, Switzenberg and a group of friends founded Leap of Faith Productions and put on the musical “Rent”. “No one there had seen ‘Rent,’” he said. “It was a fantastic artistic success.” Financially, the production broke even.



Mall Owner Says No to Thanksgiving Shopping


To Stephen Lebovitz, Thanksgiving is a day when it’s important to be with family and friends – not at shopping malls. As such, the chief executive of shopping center real estate investment trust CBL Properties once again will not open its malls on Nov. 23, Thanksgiving Day.

“We felt it was important to give the holiday back to our customers and employees, and allow them the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving the way it should be celebrated,” Lebovitz told CoStar News via email.

Department stores, movie theaters and restaurants at CBL malls that have exterior entrances can decide for themselves whether to open. But the general shopping and common areas will be closed until 6 a.m. on Black Friday, when CBL mall stores will offer exclusive “door-busters” and events.

CBL has closed its malls for the past two years, and with feedback from customers, doing it again this year was an easy decision. “The support that we’ve received over the last two years from our customers and retailers has been overwhelming,” Lebovitz said.



more moves


JLL Landlord Rep Heads West


As it works to increase its landlord representation business in Southern California, Jones Lang LaSalle has relocated a top office leasing broker to Orange County.

Managing Director Monica Moore moved to Southern California from Chicago, where she made a name overseeing leasing at some of downtown’s premier office buildings. She brings 20 years of office landlord rep experience and a history of helping owners reposition assets with her.



Cushman Promotes Industrial Leader in Chicago


Global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield promoted David Friedland to executive director and Chicago Industrial Group leader.

In his new role, Friedland, who joined Cushman two years ago, will work with industrial brokers to drive tenant and investor client relationships. As part of the firm's Chicago’s leadership team, Friedland will collaborate with John Morris, head of industrial for the Americas at Cushman & Wakefield, and Chicago Managing Principal Vicki Noonan.

In his 22 years in commercial real estate, Friedland has completed more than 750 transactions with an aggregate value of over $1 billion. Before joining Cushman & Wakefield, he was a co-owner of Epic Realty Partners, which he sold to Transwestern.


Did You Hear? is a new column focusing on real estate's movers and shakers. Send new executive hires and promotion announcements to news@costar.com.  |  Check out yesterday's issue of Did You Hear? and follow the news on Twitter @TheCoStarGroup and @TWilbert.