Newmark Grubb Knight Frank brought in John J. Knott II and Michael R. Parks to the firm to serve as executive vice presidents in the global gaming market.

Knott and Parks were the founders of the Global Gaming Group, based in CBRE's Las Vegas office. They have completed more than $3 billion in gaming property and land sales. Notable sales include: Las Vegas Hilton, Sahara, Caesars Tahoe, Flamingo Laughlin, Trump Marina in Atlantic City, Fitzgeralds and, most recently, Boomtown in Reno. In addition, the team set the land price for the Singapore government for the country's two integrated resorts.

Knott and Parks will be affiliated with the Las Vegas office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.

NREI talked to John J. Knott about the impact of online gaming, the future of the gaming industry and his goals at NGKF.

An edited transcript of that interview follows.

NREI: How does the presence of online gaming continue to impact what's going on with your work?

John J. Knott: Online gaming represents an opportunity for companies to expand their revenue base as well as for new competitors to participate in the gaming sector. This has already occurred in many parts of the world outside the U.S. The online gaming winners will likely need to form relationships with existing bricks and mortar companies. We have seen this in Nevada, which is likely to be the first state to allow online gaming. Helping arrange these types of relationships is a part of the services we offer.

NREI: What is the biggest issue looming on the horizon for the international gaming industry now?

John J. Knott: Capital. For many companies the economic decline that started several years ago eroded or eliminated access to capital. Obviously many companies restructured their debt successfully but continued to operate in a constrained capital environment. Now as the recovery begins, many properties are in need of capital expenditures. Only recently have we seen capital become available for new projects and this has been very limited.

However, the international market is different from the American market. We have seen examples of successful fund raisings overseas and we expect this trend to continue.

NREI: How has investment in the gaming industry fared in the current economic climate?

John J. Knott: Not well, but we anticipate this will turn around. The investors that participated when the downturn began lost substantial portions of their equity and, in many circumstances, the principal amount of their debt. In a few circumstances, debt owners took substantial ownership or even total control of gaming companies. Part way through the downturn, there were a few bright spots such as Wynn and Las Vegas Sands, whose international holdings positively affected their performance. As we enter a recovery, this appears to be an excellent time for debt and equity investors to expect solid returns once again.

NREI: What is your top priority as you take on this new role?

John J. Knott: Newmark Grubb Knight Frank is one of the most innovative real estate services providers in the marketplace. Our platform, which benefits from the strength and resources of BGC Partners and Cantor Fitzgerald, offers the most comprehensive array of services available to the gaming industry and it is my team’s job to ensure that our clients have full access to all of the services and expertise available here. We want to help clients minimize cost, maximize growth and profitability and achieve their vision for the future.

Simon Appoints EVP and CIO

Simon Property Group Inc. appointed Matthew Lentz as executive vice president and chief investment officer.

In this newly created position based in the New York office, Lentz will be responsible for Simon’s investment activity, including the company's international investments.

Previously Lentz was a managing director and portfolio manager at PointState Capital in New York and before that he had a similar role at Duquesne Capital Management. At Duquesne and then at PointState, Lentz managed a portfolio of global real estate securities and also served as a senior analyst for real estate securities.

Hippel Promoted to CFO at Inland Diversified

Inland Diversified Real Estate Trust Inc. promoted Steven T. Hippel to the position of chief financial officer.

Since 2009, Hippel has served as Inland Diversified’s chief accounting officer.

Prior to joining Inland Diversified, Hippel served as the senior vice president and chief financial officer of ORIX Real Estate Capital Inc., directing all corporate and partnership financial reporting, accounting, treasury and tax compliance for a nationwide portfolio of real estate and mortgage assets.

Promotions at C&W

Cushman & Wakefield named Jeffrey Cushman, an executive managing director in the firm’s Manhattan headquarters, to the post of managing broker of the company’s Silicon Valley, Calif. operations.

In his new role, Cushman will relocate to the Silicon Valley area and continue to actively provide brokerage services to clients. In addition, he will directly oversee the firm’s overall strategic business objectives, recruitment goals, day-to-day activities and continued growth of services in the Silicon Valley area.

Cushman joined Cushman & Wakefield in 2003 and served as head of European business development for four-and-a-half years before relocating to New York in 2007. He specializes in leading business development and client relationship management on a global scale, executing on cross-border tenant representation assignments for multinational corporations.

Cushman’s notable agency leasing assignments include; One World Trade Center and Rockefeller Center in New York City, Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, Heron Tower in London, and Capital 8 and Crystal Park in Paris. During his career, he has personally been involved in the leasing of more than 15 million sq. ft. of office space and has worked closely with Dell, Prudential, Qualcomm, Wells Fargo, Kimberly Clark, Marsh McLennan Companies, and Gilead Sciences.

Cushman & Wakefield also promoted Mark McGranahan, an executive vice president in the firm’s San Francisco office, to managing broker of office leasing. In his new role, McGranahan will continue to provide active brokerage services for clients while assuming direct oversight and management responsibilities for the firm’s entire San Francisco office leasing division.

As both an attorney and an accountant, he is one of the founding members of Cushman & Wakefield’s Law Firm Advisory Group and during the course of his career has been involved in the leasing of more than four million sq. ft. of space in the San Francisco market.

EVP Joins Colliers

Colliers International named Kevin McKenna as executive vice president, industrial specialty, based in the firm’s Ontario, Calif. office.

McKenna has completed more than $3 billion of real estate transactions in his 25-year career and has been perennially ranked in the top tier of industrial brokers in the country. He comes to Colliers from CBRE where he served as executive vice president. During his career, McKenna completed numerous significant land sales, represented both tenants and landlords, and managed institutional investment sales.

Two VPs; Workplace Expert Brought on by CBRE

CBRE hired vice presidents Jami Savage and Ryan Eustice for the firm’s retail services group in Phoenix, Ariz.

They join First Vice President Todd Folger to form a new team that will focus its attention on the growing needs of retailers and retail property owners looking to capture opportunities in the greater Phoenix marketplace.

Savage comes to CBRE from the local office of SRS Real Estate Partners, where she has worked for the past two years. Eustice also comes to CBRE from SRS Real Estate Partners, where he worked since 2009, and has more than nine years of commercial real estate experience in landlord leasing and tenant representation.

CBRE has also brought on Georgia Collins as a senior member of the CBRE Workplace team’s global organization in CBRE’s West region.

Collins will directly manage the team’s efforts in the western United States and serve as the technology sector lead for workplace consulting, as well as support the overall growth of the global organization.

Prior to joining CBRE, Georgia led strategic business consultancy DEGW’s North American practice. Georgia established DEGW’s San Francisco office in 2006; notable clients during her tenure included leading technology firms such as Autodesk, Cisco, eBay, Google, Microsoft, and salesforce.com.

Promotion at Ryan Companies

Ryan Companies US Inc. promoted Andrew Finn to vice president of capital markets.

Since joining Ryan in 2008, Finn has been involved in more than $550 million in capital transactions. In his role as vice president, he is responsible for acquisitions and dispositions, raising debt and equity for new acquisitions and development projects. He also plays an important asset management role for the Ryan real estate investment vehicles.

Prior to Ryan, Andy’s career in New York City was in acquisitions and asset management where he was involved in more than $3.5 billion in capital transactions.

VP Promotion at Henry S. Miller

Henry S. Miller Brokerage has promoted Carter Kendall to vice president.

Kendall serves as vice president for the Dallas-Fort Worth executive associates-land division and provides market knowledge and experience to the North Dallas commercial land investment real estate market. He specializes in owner and buyer representation for a variety of commercial property acquisitions and dispositions. In his three years at Henry S. Miller, Carter has successfully arranged the purchase and/or sale of pad sites, investment facilities and developed land, with a unique focus on raw land for development use.

Plaza Names Lloyd VP of Brokerage Services

Margaret Lloyd, leasing specialist at Plaza Companies, has been promoted to vice president of brokerage services.

With more than 29 years of experience in the field, Lloyd had previously worked with Grubb & Ellis and later was recruited as vice president of leasing for The Pederson Group. Since joining the Plaza Companies in 2010, she has focused on leasing and sales of over 1 million sq. ft. of medical office properties.

Wentworth Property Hires Executive Director

Wentworth Property Management Corp. , a FirstService Residential Management Co. has brought on Tim Snowden as executive director in the Philadelphia high rise division.

Snowden has more than a decade of experience in community association management. Previously, he was division vice president for Capital Consultant’s Management Corporation in Scottsdale, Ariz. where he provided advice and guidance to board members as well as supervision and leadership of community managers. He also served as deputy director of property management at Heil, Heil, Smart and Golee in Chicago, Ill., where he developed and oversaw the firm’s high-rise management.

Arbor Appoints Two FHA Originations Directors

Arbor Commercial Mortgage LLC appointed two FHA originations directors.

Allan Rugg will work in Columbia, Md. and Nicholas D. Paez in Broomfield, Colo.

Both are responsible for originating FHA-insured multifamily, seniors housing and healthcare facility loans nationwide on an expedited basis for acquisition, refinance and construction transactions.

Rugg has more than 25 years experience in commercial real estate, multifamily and healthcare loan origination and underwriting. Prior to joining Arbor, he was vice president, director of sales at Great Lakes F.G., where he was responsible for the origination of FHA-insured multifamily construction and permanent mortgage loans within the Eastern U.S. region.

Paez has 20 years of experience in multifamily and commercial real estate finance, development, management and underwriting. Prior to joining Arbor, he was chief underwriter and operating officer at Mortgages USA, where he was an FHA/Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP)-approved multifamily underwriter responsible for review and assessment of compliance with all financing guidelines.

Grossman Names Dawson Director of Asset Management

The Grossman Companies Inc. named Paul Dawson director of asset management for the Quincy, Mass.-based commercial real estate brokerage, development and management firm.

In the newly-created position, Dawson brings 25 years of experience in real estate asset management, development, and architecture and design to help manage and enhance the value of the company’s existing portfolio and execute value-added strategies on future acquisitions.

Dawson is working closely with the company’s acquisitions, brokerage and property management teams as well as third-party brokerage firms.

Industry Vets Join A&G Realty Partners

Peter Lynch and Andrew Margolick joined A&G Realty Partners the firm as partners. There they will work nationwide in dealmaking, real estate dispositions, lease renegotiations and strategic planning.

Lynch comes to A&G after he was a principal and senior managing director at DJM Realty and Margolick was president of his own firm, ARM Consulting, and a vice president at Hilco Real Estate.

Lynch has been the client manager for numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Pier 1, Borders, Discovery Channel Stores, Restoration Hardware, and Pacific Sunwear. Other projects include Design Within Reach and MANN Theatres, which was a Viacom and Warner Bros. company.

Margolick has worked to dispose and restructure more than 2,000 leases nationwide for both healthy and distressed companies and has saved his clients over $200 million in leasehold obligations. At The Margolick Financial Group, he was instrumental in the acquisition of 15 million sq. ft. of enclosed regional mall space and raised $400 million of investment equity and $1.5 billion of debt.

Voit Adds Two New Hires

The Cayton Office Team, led by Jayne Cayton, has joined Voit Real Estate Services' Las Vegas office.

Cayton joins Voit as a vice president and Paula Lea comes as an associate.

Cayton's specialties include tenant representation with an emphasis in the legal industry, tenant prospecting, negotiating lease transactions, location/needs analysis and developing and implementing marketing programs. Prior to joining Voit, Cayton served as a vice president at CBRE.

Lea has specialized in commercial leasing and sales for the past 13 years at CBRE. Lea began her career at CBRE as a marketing specialist but eventually became a broker.

LANE4 Hires Senior Retail Specialist

LANE4 Property Group has brought real estate expert Pat Peery as senior retail specialist.

Peery has worked at Kohl’s Department Stores and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. As senior vice president of real estate for Kohl’s, Pat grew the retailer from 89 stores to nearly 770 nationwide. He has been involved in more than 1500 shopping center developments within virtually every sub-market in the United States.

From 1987 through 1994, Pat served in the real estate department at Wal-Mart where he was successively real estate manager, director of real estate for the Eastern U.S. and director of domestic real estate and engineering. He also served on the ICSC Board of Trustees from 2003-2009.

Peery also co-founded Bryanston Real Estate Opportunities Fund in 2004. Through its management entity, Klaff Realty, he personally directed acquisitions, underwriting and subsequent disposition of more than 600 grocery and drug stores, 300 department stores, and 100 mid-sized appliance stores throughout the country.

With LANE4, Pat will focus on tenant representation and will continue to serve as a Principal and Advisor to Bryanston Real Estate Opportunities Fund and Klaff Realty.

LA office of Pircher, Nichols & Meeks Adds Torres

Paul Torres has joined the real estate law firm Pircher, Nichols & Meeks as a senior litigation associate in its Los Angeles office.

Torres is an addition to the firm’s real estate litigation group and will add to the firm’s expanding land use litigation and environmental litigation practices.

Prior to joining Pircher, Nichols & Meeks, Torres was a litigation associate with Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP since 2005. While there he represented financial institutions, companies, officers and directors in securities class actions and derivative suits, bankruptcy-related matters and other complex business disputes in state and federal courts. In addition, Torres served on the firm’s litigation training committee, helping to develop training programs for the firm's litigation department.

Grossman Joins Cozen O'Connor

Howard Grossman has joined Cozen O’Connor’s business law department as a member in the firm’s real estate practice group.

Grossman has more than 30 years in the real estate industry and will work out of Cozen O’Connor’s Philadelphia office. Grossman’s practice will focus on real estate investment in all segments of the industry, from multi-family rental properties to hotels, retail centers and office buildings. His practice extends to all aspects of investments, including private and public equity, debt financing and joint venture relationships. Grossman also has extensive experience in casinos and casino-related development.

Grossman left Ballard Spahr LLP to take a senior management role at an NMHC top 50 real estate firm focused primarily on multifamily investment. He then moved to a regional multifamily operator as chief investment officer and chief operating officer.