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Did You Hear? Colliers D.C. Grabs Top CBRE Broker

A Daily Look at the Movers and Shakers in Commercial Real Estate
October 1, 2018

Michael Blunt and Kate Howarth

Colliers International has hired a top investment sales broker from CBRE as it aggressively works to increase market share in the region.

Colliers hired Michael Blunt, who joined the global real estate services firm after spending 13 years at CBRE. Blunt joined Colliers two weeks ago as an executive vice president on Colliers’ investment sales team. The company also hired Kate Howarth as a senior vice president in its retail investment sales group. Colliers said both new team members will focus on closing major institutional sales opportunities.

As Colliers works to increase its business in the D.C. area and across the Eastern Seaboard, it is aggressively recruiting and acquiring talent. Last year, Colliers acquired Tysons Corner, Virginia-based real estate services firm Serten Advisors and added its 15 advisors to the company. The firm was founded by Steven Hubberman and Paul Schweitzer, a top tenant rep in the D.C. area. Hubberman and Schweitzer are now vice chairmen at Colliers.

Blunt said the momentum that Amsterdam and his team have created at Colliers played a key role in his decision to join the firm. “I was inspired by it and wanted to be a part of it,” Blunt said. He also said he looks forward to working with investment sales pros Bill Kaye and David Gast, both of whom are executive vice presidents at Colliers D.C., as well as with Howarth.

Howarth joined Colliers from the investment sales team at H&R Retail, a retail real estate services firm that focuses on D.C., Maryland and Virginia. At H&R, Howarth specialized in selling retail properties valued at $10 million to $100 million.

In his 23 years in the business, Blunt has closed more than $10 billion in transactions, having specialized in the sale and recapitalization of office and industrial properties. His clients include private equity investors, REITs, lenders and major corporations.

The Washington, D.C., region will continue to present opportunities to increase investment sales because it’s a gateway market favored by both domestic and international capital sources, Blunt said. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave CBRE, and at times “it’s bittersweet,” he added. “They’re a strong competitor. It was a great experience.”

A graduate of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Blunt has been ranked on CBRE’s Region Top 20 List and on its list of the top 20 percent of brokers nationally.

Did you know?  Blunt played football at Lehigh University, but he came close to playing for Tubby Raymond, who tried to recruit Blunt to play at the University of Delaware. Raymond, the late legendary college football coach who won 300 games coaching the Blue Hens from 1966 to 2001, “is near and dear to my heart,” Blunt said.

WeWork Hires Top Executive to Lead Powered by We

The shared space provider WeWork hired Craig Robinson as global head of enterprise services for Powered by We. The Powered by We’s enterprise group works with large, global companies to design, operate and manage their workplaces. In its highest-profile deal, UBS hired Powered by We to revamp its offices in Weehawken, New Jersey. Powered by We recommended adding a meditation room and juice bar to help modernize and reinvent the aging space.

The work Powered by We does for companies with more than 1,000 employees also creates work environments where employees can “innovate and thrive,” WeWork said on it's website.

In his new role, Robinson specifically will oversee Powered by We’s offerings including program and project management, facilities management and design and build services. Powered by We will work with WeWork’s development and construction services to create new environments in enterprises companies’ owned or leased spaces.

In Robinson, WeWork is getting an executive who helped lead and build several large brokerage firms, including Newmark Knight Frank, Colliers International and Cassidy Turley, now part of Cushman & Wakefield. At NKF, Robinson oversaw all sales, operations and platform investments for its occupier, or tenant, services. He served as president of Colliers International, overseeing 150 offices and day-to-day operation of the business, and helped build Cassidy Turley into a national operation before it was sold.

“Above all, Craig has a deep understanding of, and appreciation for, the role of data and technology in delivering an optimal workplace experience,” WeWork Chief Growth Officer Dave Fano said in a blog post announcing the Robinson hire.

Robinson, who serves on the board of advisors of CRE Technology Firms, which works with venture-backed commercial real estate tech companies, earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s in information technology management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

more moves

Fast-Growing Cortland Hires Investments Executive

Cortland, an Atlanta-based multifamily investment and development firm, plans to double in size over the next five years and has hired a new executive to help it do so.

Cortland, known until last month as Cortland Partners, has hired Bruce Cohen as senior managing partner of investments and strategic initiatives. Cohen has been a member of Cortland’s board of directors for the past four years and an advisor to the company for the past six months. He will report to Cortland Chief Executive Steven DeFrancis.

Cohen will lead several of Cortland’s growth initiatives, including increasing the amount of its discretionary capital under management and geographic and product expansion. He joins Cortland’s investment team at a time of steady growth. The company now has more than $8 billion of assets under management and expects to double that by 2023.

Prior to joining Cortland, Cohen served as chief executive of Wrightwood Financial, a successor of Wrightwood Capital. At Wrightwood Capital, Cohen oversaw more than $5 billion in investment activity before it sold its operating platform to Ares Management.

Vail Resorts Promotes Tech Executive

Vail Resorts Inc., a Broomfield, Colorado-based company that manages mountain resorts and urban ski areas, has promoted Timothy April to senior vice president and chief information officer, effective Oct. 29. April, who joined Vail Resorts in 2002, currently is vice president of information technology and guest experience.

April, who also will join the company’s executive committee, will oversee all aspects of Vail Resorts’ technology. This includes the launch of “Emma,” a digital mountain assistant that uses artificial intelligence to provide guests with ski lift wait times, parking information and rental and dining recommendations.

“I'm confident that Tim's passion for innovation and capacity to embrace disruption will ensure that we continue to leverage technology to reimagine the mountain resort experience around the world." said Vail Resorts Chairman and Chief Executive Rob Katz in a statement.

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

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