Did You Hear? Eastdil Exodus Opens Doors in Atlanta
A Daily Look at the Movers and Shakers in Commercial Real Estate
Casey Keitchen, who’s rapidly making a name for himself in Atlanta investment sales, sees even more opportunity for himself and his new firm as Eastdil Secured continues to lose top brokers. Randy Tsuda: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to increase the amount of low- and moderate-income housing in the San Francisco Bay area, home to some of the nation’s highest apartment rents.
Keitchen, who just joined Avison Young’s Atlanta office as a principal, said the shakeup at Eastdil and other shops means more business for real estate brokerage firms in the competitive space. In the past month, several key Eastdil brokers have left the firm as its parent Wells Fargo considers its options for the commercial real estate services arm.
In Atlanta alone, two top investments sales brokers, Kennedy Hicks and Michael McDonald, have resigned. McDonald joined Cushman & Wakefield in Dallas, and Hicks said she will join Cousins Properties, an Atlanta-based real estate investment trust. On the West Coast, top Eastdil broker Rob Rubano left for an executive role at Cushman Los Angeles, and in Dallas, another of Eastdil’s top producers, Jonathan Napper, also left for Cushman.
“With the turnover at Eastdil and [current Holliday Fenoglio Fowler investment sales broker in Atlanta] Hutson Green leaving Colliers, there’s just a lot of moving pieces in the investment sales market,” Keitchen said. “That’s creating opportunity for guys like us.”
Keitchen has been involved in more than $1.5 billion worth of commercial real estate transactions in his 18 years in the business. He specializes in buying and selling office buildings valued at between $5 million and $50 million. As a result, Keitchen has established himself as “one of the top up-and-coming young investment sales brokers in Atlanta,” and that will help Avison Young grow its capital markets business, said Steve Dils, principal and managing director of Avison Young’s Atlanta office.
Keitchen said that HFF recruited him, but he ultimately decided to join Avison Young’s Atlanta office. Avison Young’s principal-led and collaborative culture made the difference, he said. “A lot of people talk that way, but they just don’t put it into action,” said Keitchen, who’s already working with Avison brokers in Chicago and Washington, D.C. “There’s a huge spreading of information in real time and putting the best people on the playing field.”
Keitchen, who previously worked at NAI/Brannen Goddard and Bull Realty, said the collaborative environment is a nice change for him: “Before, I was just basically a lone cowboy.”
However, Keitchen is known for being public with his offerings. Last summer, he posted a call-for-offers on 4501 North Point, a 130,000-square-foot office building he listed with NAI Brannen Goddard. He said he received 40-45 confidentiality agreements based on the LinkedIn posting. An Atlanta-based fund is slated to close on the property as early as next week. The interest in the Alpharetta building is indicative of an ongoing trend in investment sales, Keitchen said. “There’s more buyers than assets to sell to them,” he said. “People don’t want to sell; they just want to buy. I don’t see that changing.”
Did you know? Keitchen is a fan of architecture, especially the design of historic churches, and he seeks them out when traveling. Just last month, he saw “the prettiest church I’ve ever seen in my life” while in Montreal, Canada, for Avison Young’s annual general meeting of principals. That church is Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal. Built from 1824-1829, the church was designed by Irish-born New York architect James O’Donnell in the Gothic Revival style.
Tsuda Hired to Head Palo Alto Housing
Tsuda, an affordable housing expert and urban planning lecturer, has already accepted the job as president and chief executive officer of Palo Alto Housing, a developer and manager of low- and moderate-income housing across the Bay Area. He replaces Candice Gonzalez, who served in that capacity for more than a decade before taking over as chief housing officer and a managing director at Sand Hill Property Co.
Though the idea of building affordable housing in one of the country’s most expensive housing markets might seem daunting, Tsuda has proven he is up to the task. He previously led the City of Mountain View’s Community Development Department, where he worked directly with Palo Alto Housing on its four housing communities in Mountain View. The firm saw firsthand Tsuda’s commitment to affordable housing when working with him, said Palo Alto Housing Chairwoman Sheryl Klein.
Palo Alto Housing has roughly 600 residential units in the planning or development stages on the San Francisco Peninsula. In Mountain View, the developer is nearly finished with Eagle Park Apartments, a 67-unit affordable housing complex that will house low-income veterans and people earning up to 60 percent of the medium income of Santa Clara County. Early next year, the firm plans to break ground on a 67-unit community of one- and two-bedroom apartments in Redwood City in San Mateo County.
Tsuda comes to PAH with more than 20 years of experience in city planning, affordable-housing and commercial real estate. From 1999-2004 he served as corporate real estate and facilities director at E-Trade, the online stock-trading platform and financial services company. He also was a lecturer in the Urban and Regional Planning program at San Jose State University for seven years.
SRS Adds Leaders for Boston Office
SRS Real Estate Partners, a retail-only real estate services firm, has tapped a well-established executive to help lead its Boston office. The Dallas-based firm hired Peter “Monte” Montesanto as principal and market leader to co-lead the Boston office with Jonathan Lapat, who started the office in 2016.
SRS also hired Chris Janelle as a first vice president. Montesanto and Janelle, who joined SRS from Colliers International, will work with retail landlords and tenants across the Northeast.
Montesanto is well known in Boston commercial real estate, having worked in the industry there for more than 30 years. At The Dartmouth Co., he led the retail services team where he worked with several national retailers including Suitsupply, Warby Parker, Crate & Barrel and Kohl’s department stores. Montesanto has completed more than 100 transactions with restaurant chains such as Shake Shack, Chili’s, Panera Bread, Five Guys and Friday’s.
HAP Investments Promotes Lawrence
HAP Investments, a New York City-based development firm, has promoted Andrea Lawrence to deputy chief executive. Lawrence will retain her title as chief counsel as well.
Lawrence, who joined HAP in 2013, will work with HAP co-founder and Chief Executive Eran Polack to plan, develop and manage the company's real estate portfolio. She also will continue to handle all of the company’s legal matters.
Lawrence, who earned her Juris Doctorate degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1994 and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1991, has more than 20 years' experience working on complex real estate transactions and commercial disputes.
Randy Tsuda: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to increase the amount of low- and moderate-income housing in the San Francisco Bay area, home to some of the nation’s highest apartment rents.
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