Commercial real estate professional Brian Whiting has launched The Telos Group LLC, a commercial real estate leasing, marketing and consulting firm.

Whiting is joined by landlord representatives Jack O’Brien, Matt Pistorio and Joy Jordan at the new firm.

Prior to founding The Telos Group, Whiting was a senior vice president with the commercial real estate agency J.F. McKinney & Associates. He has been involved in more than 11 million sq. ft. of lease transactions.

O’Brien is formerly a vice president of leasing for investment firm M&J Wilkow Ltd. He has represented more than 20 different downtown Chicago office buildings and has negotiated and completed transactions with a total value of more than one billion dollars.

Pistorio was a member of Whiting’s team at J.F. McKinney and has been involved in more than 800,000 sq. ft. of office leasing transactions in both downtown and suburban Chicago. Jordan joins the firm from U.S. Equities Realty and was a member of teams that leased more than 1.2 million sq. ft. in 3.5 years.

Telos has 6.5 million sq. ft. of leasing assignemnts in place, including The Citadel Center (131 S. Dearborn), The Civic Opera House (20 N. Wacker), 203 North LaSalle and 300 S. Riverside Plaza in downtown Chicago.

NREI talked to Brian Whiting about launching a business in today’s economy and how he plans to compete.

An edited version of that interview follows.

NREI: The economy is improving _ let's say it's not on life support anymore, but it's not out of the hospital yet. What is it like to launch a new company during these times?

Brian Whiting: Of course, for everyone’s sake we are always happy when the economy is doing better. However, in our particular niche we can actually do well in a good economy or bad [economy].

In a good economy, there is growth and deal velocity giving us many opportunities to push occupancy and rates for our clients. When the economy is bad, it creates problems and we are problem solvers so it creates opportunities for us as well. The real driver for our business is having inventory to lease which is why we generally are involved in large scale, turnaround or repositioning projects. The fact that we are involved in a market that is improving, yet still has significant vacancy gives us confidence that our new venture will have plenty of opportunities.

NREI: How do you see yourself competing with the bigger, more established companies in the field?

Brian Whiting: We respect the larger players and in fact collaborate with many of them on projects where the clients are looking for a best-in-class solution. The common characteristic of our clients is that they demand better than market results, so they seek out those providers, big or small, that can help them achieve that goal. They tend to hire on the basis of personal trust and results. We have been blessed that they have put their trust in us. As long as we keep creating positive results, I am confident that we will be successful in winning business.

NREI: What is the biggest issue facing the commercial real estate industry now?

Brian Whiting: I’m not an economist, so I don’t want to get too far out there on what is the biggest economic issue, but I can comment on what is affecting my owners the most and impacting the leasing in their buildings. Fundamental changes in hiring demographics are having a significant effect on where employers locate, how they use space and the type of space they are looking for.

Many companies today tend to seek a younger, tech-savvy and urban-based workforce. Hiring needs favor downtown, urban environments and more employers are choosing to move into city centers. While this is a boon for city downtowns, many buildings and building owners are not prepared for these types of users.

Obsolete environments and old ideas on space use keep them from effectively competing. As more and more traditional users such as insurance, financial and legal firms adopt the trends started by the digital and creative [space] users, this issue will only get more acute. If owners do not evolve, they will be left behind suffering anemic leasing activity, under-market rents and chronic vacancies.

NREI: How do you see Telos helping its clients to face this challenge?

Brian Whiting: We help clients face it by advising them to embrace change. Building environments that help attract and retain the most sought-after employees will attract and retain the most sought-after tenants; structuring deals that better conform to the needs of today’s users will translate into more deals. The strategies we develop and implement give our clients improved leasing velocity, better returns and better residual value.

CBRE Brings Change to London, California Offices

CBRE Group Inc. has named Darcy Mackay executive managing director, global transaction management services.

In this role, Mackay will oversee the delivery of strategically-driven real estate portfolio analytics, acquisitions and dispositions on a portfolio-wide basis for CBRE’s Global Corporate Services (GSC) clients.
Mackay, based in CBRE’s London office, has served as executive director, client accounts and strategy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, since 2010, where she has overseen GCS client account performance, the GCS account management platform and the EMEA consulting business. In this role, she was also instrumental in securing new clients and expanding existing relationships, including CBRE’s recent appointment as global strategic property and transaction advisor for HSBC, which occupies approximately 72 million sq. ft. worldwide.

CBRE is also strengthening its institutional investment team in California. Russell Ingrum, the practice leader for CBRE’s office institutional group nationally, will relocate to San Francisco. Currently, he is based in Houston, where he serves a stable of institutional investors in meeting their needs in markets across the country.

Sean Sullivan has rejoined CBRE as executive vice president in the investment properties institutional group, and will also be based in San Francisco. Most recently, he was with Eastdil Secured in Los Angeles, but he had been with CBRE from 1992 to 2005.

The Northern California institutional investment team will be led by Ingrum and Sullivan as well as Joseph Moriarty, a senior vice president in the San Jose office. Also joining the team is Tyler Meyerdirk, an associate in CBRE’s San Francisco office who has been key part of the institutional group in that market for seven years.

JLL Boosts Capital Markets With Two Hires

Jones Lang LaSalle has hired two new professionals to strengthen the firm’s capital markets research platform.
Marisha Clinton has joined the firm as a director of research for capital markets. Based in New York, Clinton will work closely with the firm’s capital markets experts across the nation to create and effectively leverage sales and financing research.
The firm has also named Brady Titcomb the research manager for multifamily. Based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fa., Titcomb will lead the firm’s data collection analysis and reporting on the apartment market.
Clinton previously served as a director at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. within the firm’s research area/ with a focus on the REITS and Real Estate sectors. Titcomb previously served as Jones Lang LaSalle’s Director of Research for the state of Florida.

C&W Expands Multifamily Group in California

Cushman & Wakefield has expanded its investment sales services in its Northern California offices, welcoming a team of investment brokers specializing in apartment sales and high density multifamily development sites.
Todd Vitzhum will serve as the team’s executive director and will lead the growth of the multifamily investment sales platform in the San Francisco Bay area, including Sacramento.

Other members of C&W’s San Francisco multifamily group include Directors Jeremy Cline, Simon Herrmann, Rawley Nielsen, Jason Parr, and Mike Nguyen, client services.

Massey Knakal Welcomes New COO

Massey Knakal Realty Services has brought on Neil H. Heilberg as the firm’s chief operating officer.

Heilberg will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the firm and will have direct management responsibility for the firm’s sales management in Manhattan and Brooklyn/Queens as well as the firm’s marketing and public relations departments.

Heilberg served most recently as executive vice president at Edison Properties, where he oversaw all asset management activities of the Hippodrome Building, a 680,000-sq.-ft. class-A, office building in Midtown Manhattan. Additionally, he was responsible for the strategic and day-to-day management of all aspects of executive suites and pre-building suites at the Hippodrome, including financial management, marketing, sales and facilities management.

Heilberg first acted in a COO capacity with Denholz Associates, which was, during his tenure, an 8-million-sq.-ft. development, investment and management commercial real estate company.

Hires at Lee & Associates in Oakland, Kansas City

Lee & Associates has brought on Erik Murray as principal and Cory DeLong as associate to the Kansas City office.

Specializing in industrial services, Murray was most recently a principal at Point Commercial. He has been responsible for over 6 million sq. ft. of industrial and investment transactions valued in excess of $250 million.

DeLong partnered with Murray on the industrial services team at Point Commercial and primarily manages the day-to-day operations of the team’s sales and leasing clients and coordinates the transaction management process for national corporate services clients.

The firm has also hired Neil Cowperthwaite to its Oakland, Calif. office as associate. Cowperthwaite specializes in sales and leasing of warehouse, industrial and R&D properties in the Newark and Fremont marketplace.

Major Expansion at Schulte Roth & Zabel

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP is welcoming 11 private equity and real estate attorneys to the firm in a major expansion of its New York office.

The lawyers were all previously with Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.

Joseph A. Smith joins as a partner in the investment management group. Internationally known in the area of private equity and investment fund formation, Smith focuses his practice on the representation of fund sponsors, asset managers and institutional investors in connection with the formation of private investment funds, the acquisition of portfolio investments and the implementation of exit strategies.
Marshall S. Brozost joins as a partner in the real estate group. He focuses his practice on all aspects of commercial real estate, including purchases and sales, formation of joint ventures, real estate fund formation, mortgage and mezzanine financing, workouts and leasing.
Sanford W. Morhouse joins as of counsel in the real estate group. Morhouse centers his practice primarily in the areas of corporate and real estate finance.
Russel G. Perkins joins as special counsel in the investment management group. Perkins focuses his practice on the structuring, formation and negotiation of private equity funds and hedge funds.

Shawn R. McCune joins as special counsel in the investment management group. McCune represents a wide variety of fund sponsors, asset managers and institutional investors on the structuring, formation and negotiation of private equity funds and hedge funds.
David C. Miller joins as special counsel in the investment management group. Miller centers his practice on the representation of institutional investors in connection with investments in managed accounts, private equity funds, real estate funds, hedge funds, secondary funds, funds of funds and other alternative asset classes, both domestically and internationally.

Jason L. Behrens, Jennifer M. Lew, Lauren E. Cook and Lauren King join as associates in the investment management group. Geoffrey L. Butler joins as an associate in the real estate group.

New Unit at TriLyn, Partner Joins Firm’s Founder

TriLyn LLC has formed an investment management platform focused on opportunities in high-yield commercial real estate debt.

The new unit, TriLyn Investment Management LLC, is a SEC-registered advisor and is capitalized by Dallas-based Akard Street Partners, an investment partnership operated by Hunt Realty Investments with the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

Joining TriLyn's founder, Mark A. Antoncic, to run the investment management unit is John J. Feeney Jr.. The two will be co-managing partners. Prior to joining TriLyn, Feeney held various positions at Brookfield Investment Management and its predecessor companies, including chief executive officer and head of the investment committee.

New Hire at Xceligent

Xceligent Inc., the nationwide provider of proactively researched commercial real estate information, has hired George Slusser as the company's executive vice president of business development.

Slusser most recently served as the chief operating officer of Sperry Van Ness. While there, Slusser helped lead an impressive growth in earnings and national expansion. He is a published author and widely recognized expert in mergers and acquisitions, business development, and executing growth strategies on a national scale. During his career, Slusser has participated in over 150 company acquisitions and the opening of hundreds of offices.

Marketing Directors Promotes Natalie Johnson

The Marketing Directors Inc. has promoted Natalie Johnson to project coordinator for the Manhattan-based real estate marketing, sales and leasing firm.

In her new role, Johnson will be responsible for managing the day-to-day marketing and sales/leasing programs for a number of new condominium and rental properties in New York and New Jersey.

Johnson joined The Marketing Directors in 2010 and is now working on the real estate marketing and sales/leasing programs at several key properties including The Vue, a high-rise building in New Brunswick, N.J.; Trio, a new luxury condominium building in Palisades Park, N.J.; Willow 14, a new green luxury rental building under construction in Hoboken, N.J.; and two new condominium properties from Cord Meyer Development Company that will debut later this year in Port Washington, N.Y. and Forest Hills, N.Y.

Real Estate Manager Joins Opus in Denver

Opus Development Corporation is welcoming John Bauknight as a real estate manager in the Denver office.
In his new position, Bauknight will assist with the execution of current projects and expansions into new business, both in the Denver market. Prior to joining Opus, Bauknight worked at The W.W. Reynolds Companies, providing financial analysis and project management for a variety of projects.

New Hire at reQuire

Pat Carney has joined reQuire LLC, the Virginia, Va. release tracking company, as director of product development.

In his new role, Carney will develop new products and enhance existing products, create business plans, perform market-analysis research and monitor industry trends to bolster the company's expansion.

Prior to joining reQuire, Pat was a performance consultant working with title and other real estate industry related companies managing projects on both business and technology levels including software development and implementation. He has also owned and operated multiple successful title companies.

SIOR Welcomes Lee & Associates Principal

Rusty Williams, a principal with Lee & Associates’ North San Diego County office, has been accepted for active membership in the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.

A broker in industrial and office building sales and leasing, Williams has negotiated sales and lease transactions totaling in excess of $375 million.

Savanna Brings on Analyst

Savanna, a New York-based real estate private equity and asset management firm, has appointed Justin Oates as an analyst.

In his new post, Oates will be responsible for acquisitions and asset management, including underwriting and due diligence, financial modeling, and deal structuring.
Oates comes to Savanna from the real estate investment banking group at Eastdil Secured in New York, where he held the position of analyst. There he worked on over $5 billion in real estate transactions.

Managing Director Comes to McKinley

McKinley is pleased to announce that Alexandra Jackiw will be working as managing director, residential client services.

In the past 10 years Jackiw has built a long-term management portfolio of more than 12,000 units with clients, including blue chip institutional firms as well as private investors. Jackiw is also the chair-elect of the National Apartment Association, a past president of the NAA Education Institute and a frequent speaker at national conferences.