Shaun Henderson, a commercial real estate veteran who worked at Benenson Capital Partners LLC for 40 years, has launched his own firm, Henderson Capital Advisors.

The firm will provide investors with consulting and advisory services to help conceive and execute asset enhancement programs for office, retail, industrial and multifamily properties.

Most recently, Henderson served as director of development and marketing at Benenson. During his time with the firm he also served as an owner’s representative, responsible for directing and managing construction of numerous projects.

The new company will deliver consulting services that cover all aspect of the real estate capital business—from architecture and construction to finance, investment guidance, marketing and zoning—for his new venture. The full-service real estate advisory firm is based in New York, but will have a diverse geographic reach, serving high-rise residential properties in Midtown Manhattan, warehouse facilities in Miami and a range of suburban office buildings around the country.

NREI talked to Henderson about why he’s not worried about starting a new company after more than 40 years in the business, and what it takes to market from Miami to Manhattan to Middle America. An edited transcript of that interview follows.

NREI: What is it like to launch your own business at a time when many of your peers are likely heading into retirement?

Shaun Henderson: One of the wonderful things about real estate is that it is not age discriminatory. A lot of the guys who are really successful are working in their 80s because it’s an experience and a knowledge thing. It’s not like I’m making widgets or something physical—it’s a mental act.

Harry Helmsley worked into his 90s. The guy who runs Glenwood Management, Lenny Litman, is 97, and he’s building a new high-rise.

NREI: Is there any perception that someone of your age may not be in touch with all the technological advances right now?

Shaun Henderson: If you can use email and you can navigate around the Internet, I think you’ll be fine. I saw an article yesterday in the New York Times talking about architecture and the long-lost art of drawing, looking at CAD and the things people use now for architectural work. At the end of the day, it’s still an architect with a pencil who is designing something. Technology is very useful, but experience is invaluable.

I’m 65 and 65 is the new 50. I have lots of energy and I want to do stuff.

NREI: Are there any butterflies in the gut launching a new company when the economy is still somewhat shaky?

Shaun Henderson: The real estate economy is shaky in some places and very strong in others. Residentially in New York, it’s extremely strong. Prices have come back to numbers that are better than pre-recession.

If buildings are vacant, you have to try to figure out a solution and it’s that problem solving that I bring to the table. You can’t wait five years until the market gets better, you have to move today. Bad economies don’t frighten me, it’s about opportunity. It does take a little bit more creativity.

NREI: You'll be offering a full service real estate advisory firm—I'm curious— just taking aside one issue, say, marketing—what are some of the major differences marketing a project in New York compared to, say, Miami or somewhere in middle America in the suburbs?

Shaun Henderson: The first thing you have to have is sensible pricing. That’s the lesson we learned from the recession. People are going to ask questions now and not just accept a number thrown out at them. Pricing that seems right is one, two and three on my list.

You also have to have a product that is attractive—you can’t look tired or sad, whether it’s office space or housing, you need to renovate kitchens, bathrooms, lobbies. It’s a continual thing, you’re never finished with real estate.

NREI: Let's look at the retail sector for a moment. What are some of the newest things that are going on in retail now? What do you see that clients want and need in their properties?

Shaun Henderson: Fifth Avenue in New York City, below 49th Street. That has long been not necessarily the best area retail-wise, but it’s having a renaissance because the office space is getting strong. Retailers are tired of being quoted $1,000 a sq. ft. on Madison Avenue compared to $200 or $250 on Fifth Avenue a few blocks away. It’s a 10-minute walk—why should the rent be four times as much? People are discovering value and the spaces on Fifth Avenue are also larger spaces. So if you’re a big retailer that requires 10,000 or 15,000 sq. ft., it’s hard to find a good location in Midtown. That area is ripe for redevelopment of retail.

NREI: You sound like you’re excited, really ready to go.

Shaun Henderson: I’m very excited. It’s great to have a challenge and I’ve been getting some nice responses. I’ve been in real estate for a long time, so I know a lot of people and some of them are saying, “Really? You’re trying something new at 65?” But it feels pretty good.

Lee Opens New NJ Office

Lee & Associates New Jersey has partnered with the former International Realty Group (IRG), to open a second office in Edison, N.J.

Rick Gelmetti, IRG’s founder, will co-head the office as executive vice president and principal in conjunction with Brian Lynch, Rick Marchisio and Jason Lynch, founding partners of Lee & Associates’ Little Falls, N.J. operation. The new office will be located at Raritan Plaza 1, in Edison’s Raritan Center Business Park.

The team will provide brokerage and leasing services capabilities in Somerset, Middlesex and Union counties, with an expertise in office and medical sectors of our business. Two additional real estate pros are also joining the new office: David Saltzman, formerly of Newmark Knight Frank, and Linda Hill, a veteran industrial broker.

Blocher Named EVP, CFO at First Potomac

First Potomac Realty Trust appointed Andrew Blocher as executive vice president, CFO.

Blocher will oversee the accounting, capital markets, investor relations, corporate communications and information technology functions. He will also focus on further refining and executing First Potomac’s capital plan, and will work closely with investors, advisors and capital providers for the $2 billion REIT.

Blocher comes to First Potomac Realty Trust with more than 20 years of finance and capital markets experience, including 15 years in the public REIT sector. He most recently served as senior vice president and chief financial officer for Federal Realty Investment Trust in Rockville, Md.

Partner Joins MedProperties

MedProperties Group Advisory Board and Investment Committee hired Stephen A. Smith to serve as partner in the capital markets area.

Smith will lead Chicago-based MedProperties’ efforts in seeking new equity investors for its co-mingled funds as well as for separate accounts, joint venture partnerships and co-investments. He will also be a member of the firm’s advisory board and investment committee, where he will provide guidance on investment and client activities.

Smith comes to MedProperties from GlenArbor Partners Inc., where he was president of the Chicago-based real estate investment and advisory firm.

JLL Welcomes SVP and Two VPs in Cali Plus VP of Supplier Diversity

Jones Lang LaSalle welcomed Senior Vice President Phil Friedl, who will expand the firm’s project and development services capabilities in Los Angeles.

Friedl will oversee project delivery and client relationships in the market. He will also be responsible for leading the Los Angeles team, as well as handling the procurement and processes of complex developments.

Prior to joining JLL, Friedl was principal and owner of FriedlUrbanFocus LLC, where he provided project management, construction management and development services to developers and private equity investors.

JLL also hired David Thomas and Bryan Cunningham as vice presidents, retail brokerage. Thomas will work in Los Angeles and Cunningham in San Diego.

Thomas is a former senior vice president at a major retail real estate firm, where he worked with landlords and tenants on lease negotiations, business plans, market research and strategic analysis. During his career, he has led leasing efforts for more than 4 million sq. ft. of new developments with a total value of $600 million.

Since January of 2010, Cunningham has completed more than 150 transactions, with a combined total consideration of about $100 million.

JLL additionally named Rabiah Reyome vice president of supplier diversity.

Reyome has more than a decade of experience in supply chain management and procurement in the corporate real estate field. She will take on leadership of the supplier diversity program, including the firm's annual Supplier of Distinction awards.

Reyome has held numerous positions in supplier diversity and global strategic sourcing. She is active in national industry organizations, including the Institute for Supply Management, Sourcing Interest Group, National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, Women's Business Enterprise National Council and multiple regional organizations.

Finally, JLL Vice President Chris Masloroff has also been appointed as speakers’ bureau chairman of the Health Care Institute, an alliance partner of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA).

IFMA consists of hospital administrators, facility managers, design and construction professionals, consultants, vendors and students serving academic medical centers and community hospitals, retirement facilities, specialty hospitals and clinics.

In the newly created post, Masloroff will further the Health Care Institute’s mission to enhance the skills of facility management professionals within the health care industry by helping determine topics and arranging speakers at HCI events. The speakers’ bureau works with dozens of experts to improve the knowledge base of hospital administrators, facility managers, design and construction professionals, consultants, vendors and students.

Masloroff, who is also national healthcare business development lead for the firm’s project and development services group, joined Jones Lang LaSalle in 2012 after working for a major architectural firm, where he led regional business development for the healthcare group.

Henry S. Miller Brokerage Hires SVP

Henry S. Miller Brokerage added Bill Knopick to the Dallas-Fort Worth office-industrial division as senior vice president.

His team will focus on the growth Miller’s office leasing and office project management business. Prior to joining Miller, Knopick was senior vice president of the corporate services division at The Weitzman Group, where he managed leasing efforts for class-A and -B office properties.

Eastern Consolidated Launches New Retail Sales Group

Eastern Consolidated has launched a new retail sales group for New York’s five boroughs, naming Adelaide Polsinelli to serve as the new group’s senior director.

The firm has also hired Matt Crosby, Robert Khodadadian, Patricia Garcia, Mat Avital, Ari Schwartz and Jamie Rogovin to focus on new business opportunities in the retail arena. The group will provide sales brokerage, advisory, research, financial structuring and marketing services.

Polsinelli has handled more than 27 retail deals in the past 24 months. Her recent retail sales include the Diesel and Kardashian stores in Miami Beach, The Stefano Ricci flagship on Park Avenue, as well as several retail condos in New York City.

Three Added to NGKF Team in Miami; Two Join in Denver

Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Capital Group added Adam L. Greenberg, Michael Lapointe and Michael Noll its team in Miami.

Greenberg and LaPointe join the firm as executive managing directors. Prior to joining NGKF, the two held senior positions at the BayBridge companies based in Florida.

Greenberg, a former managing director with BayBridge, has specialized in the brokerage of entitled and un-entitled development opportunities, condominium conversions, office, retail and portfolio sales. In his capital advisory role, he represents clients with senior, mezzanine and equity capital placement, both locally and globally; also, he is practiced at securing construction/bridge, semi-permanent, permanent and structured financing for clients.

Lapointe, formerly president of the BayBridge companies, has been involved in over $400 million in financing and brokerage transactions in Florida. He has experience across all asset classes and submarkets, including shopping centers, office buildings, fractured condominiums time shares, land and hotels.

Noll joins NGKF as associate. He served as the principal of an architecture and construction consulting firm, M3 Design + Development, for the previous seven years, concurrently with his position as associate at BayBridge. As a licensed architect and development consultant, he has advised on over $750 million worth of construction projects in the South Florida area.

At the Denver office, NGKF also named two brokers executive managing directors.

Riki Hashimoto and Dan Grooters specialize in the acquisition and disposition of office, retail and industrial investment properties throughout the region. Prior to joining NGKF, both served as senior vice presidents at CBRE Group Inc. Over the course of their careers, they have closed more than 165 investment transactions valued at more than $1 billion. Current clients include Shea Properties, Capmark Bank, DPC Companies, The Broe Group and Gart Properties.

CBRE Promotes, Hires Pros in Ohio, Manhattan and Seattle

CBRE Inc. promoted John Latessa to senior managing director, with expanded executive management responsibilities.

Latessa, who has led CBRE’s operations in Detroit and southeast Michigan since 2008, will assume responsibility for the company’s operations in Ohio.

The CBRE market leaders in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus will now report to Latessa.

Prior to joining CBRE in 2008, Latessa was a principal/managing director of JFK Investment Company LLC and a project manager/director of marketing with Hines Interest Limited Partnership. His past responsibilities include office, retail, hotel and strategic land and building acquisitions, development, leasing and new business procurement for the region.

CBRE also brought on Elaine Kleinberg as a managing director in the Manhattan office brokerage.

Kleinberg, a senior attorney with more than 20 years experience in commercial real estate, will be responsible for the management and development of mid-level sales professionals and oversight of the legal agreement process. She will also assist in the development and delivery of sales training, as well as support sales operations and business development activities.

Kleinberg comes to CBRE from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, where she was general counsel and developed and managed the firm’s national legal department for nearly two decades.

CBRE also brought Eli Hanacek to the firm’s Seattle office, where he will specialize in apartment property and residential land sales.

Hanacek comes to CBRE from Holland Partner Group, where he was the investment management COO. During his tenure there, he was the lead producer for more than $1.8 billion in transactions and operated a diverse portfolio with more than 20,000 multifamily units in over 70 communities in five states.

New Managing Director for Colliers

Colliers International in Ohio hired Joseph Hartmann as managing director, corporate services for Ohio.

Hartmann will spearhead business development in the corporate marketplace. Prior to joining Colliers, Hartmann served as managing director for CBRE Inc., where he oversaw all aspects of asset services and facilities management for industrial, office and retail properties in Central and Southwest Ohio, as well as Kentucky.

His portfolio included 20 million sq. ft. of commercial property and more than 60 clients.

Arbor Appoints Smith in Boston

Arbor Commercial Mortgage LLC appointed Trevor Leslie Smith as director in the company’s Bostonoffice.

Smith will originate loans under all of Arbor’s multifamily and commercial product lines, including Fannie Mae, FHA and Bridge.

Prior to joining Arbor, Smith served as senior financial analyst and team leader of the multifamily lending group at Key Bank Estate Capital, during which time he originated Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA financing. He also managed the workflow of the Eastern Region and national accounts analyst pool, assigning deals, reviewing deal packages prior to submission to investors and maintaining quality control.

Two Attorneys Join Holland & Knight

Colin Smith joined the law firm Holland & Knight as a partner in its Tysons Corner, Va. office.

Smith comes to Holland & Knight from Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald and brings with him senior counsel Briana Stolley.

Having practiced law for more than 25 years, Smith focuses primarily on sophisticated commercial real estate transactions, including development, sales, acquisitions, financings and leasing. He is also well-versed in the leasing and operation of parking facilities.

Stolley represents owners, developers, investors and tenants of office buildings, shopping centers, industrial parks and mixed-use developments in connection with the leasing, development, and acquisition and disposition of commercial real estate.

TriState REALTORS Names Executive Director

TriState REALTORS® Commercial Alliance named Elvira Illiano-Trovato to serve as the organization's executive director.

Illiano-Trovato will oversee the day-to-day operations and marketing of the organization, which caters to the professional needs of the commercial real estate professionals in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware through legislative advocacy, commercial-specific education, networking opportunities and other resources.