Cushman & Wakefield doubles local size and focus

Greg Kaufman (left to right) and Weston Thomas have joined Peter Scoville and Greg Phaneuf at Colorado Springs Commercial Real Estate Cushman & Wakefield.

Colorado Springs Commercial Real Estate, which has an affiliation with national brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, doubled in size and scope this month.

Gregory Phaneuf and Peter Scoville, who bought the company in January, brought on two new brokers Aug. 1 with the aim of diversifying the firm’s services and increasing its attractiveness to potential commercial clients.

“We want to grow into a boutique firm in Colorado Springs that’s privately owned, but with that national affiliation,” Scoville said. “There isn’t really anything else here like that anymore.”

With the addition of Greg Kaufman, the brokerage’s new senior managing director of retail services, and Weston Thomas, an associate broker, Colorado Springs Commercial doubled its size.

But Phaneuf said the goal is not to be the biggest firm in the city, just to be able to provide what clients need in different sectors of the market.

“Most brokerages here tend to be a jack-of-all-trades,” he said. “We have a few more pieces of the puzzle here with these guys.”

Phaneuf and Scoville always have focused exclusively on commercial office space. When they took over then-Palmer McAllister early this year, their expertise gave the firm a distinct focus on office real estate.

Scoville said they decided to take the Palmer McAllister name off of the firm so the Cushman & Wakefield alliance would have more power.

Kaufman, with 14 years of experience in retail real estate, brings a different expertise and area of focus that will allow the firm and the four brokers to grow together, Phaneuf said.

Trading places

Both Kaufman and Thomas moved over to Colorado Springs Commercial from Landmark Commercial Real Estate, a local firm established in 2010. Kaufman was a principal in the other four-man brokerage, along with founding brokers Patrick Kerscher and Robert Aertker.

Thomas is newer to the commercial real estate world. He used to work in finance and spent the past two years at Landmark Commercial Real Estate.

“The kind of contacts you pick up in finance aren’t usually interested in getting into retail,” Thomas said.

He primarily worked with clients in office real estate. Teaming with Phaneuf and Scoville provides him a chance to have a deeper education in the field and learn skills specific to the office market that he was on his own developing at Landmark, he said.

“It made perfect sense for him, with that office focus, to make the transition,” Kerscher said. “It was a good career move for him.”

Landmark is still alive and well with an expanding portfolio of business, Kerscher said.

“I think we’re going to keep our focus on retail for now,” he said.

There are no active plans to find new brokers to team with, but he and Aertker will keep their eyes out for talented brokers if the right fit comes along, he said.

Kaufman made the transition for much the same reason Cushman & Wakefield wanted to bring him on — diversity.

“I wanted to surround myself with people in other disciplines,” he said. “I think there’s a synergy in that.”

Phaneuf said the reason for diversifying the real estate services the company offers is so all four brokers will be able to hand off leads that need help in areas outside of their expertise instead of recommending them to someone outside of the brokerage or venturing into fields outside their expertise.

Why now

There are a few reasons now is the time for an expansion like this one, Scoville said.

“First, these guys were available,” he said. “We’re not just filling chairs with warm bodies. We needed the right fit.”

Brokers are individual business owners who come together to do business under the same banner and it’s important, even more so than in a typical work environment that they complement each other, Scoville said.

The other reason — the market is improving.

“The market conditions the last four years had people feeling very apprehensive,” Phaneuf said. “Now there’s more stability and predictability in what’s going to happen next. We’re preparing to take advantage of an improving market.”

As office brokers, Phaneuf and Scoville are among the first to know if jobs are coming or going. And they say job growth has been slow. Most of the transactions in the office market have been local players trading places.

“Job growth is what we need, and job growth is why we continue to see things bouncing along the bottom,” Phaneuf said.

But that’s starting to shift and there have been some positive inquiries from outside companies looking to move in.

The two said they expect to hear by the end of the month about a company looking for 40,000 square feet of office space for a call center that will bring 400 jobs to the city.

The company, which works on government contracts, already has another division in Colorado Springs and was already decided on the city for its new call center location, Phaneuf said. But he wouldn’t say who the company is or what part of town it’s considering until the contract is signed.

But he said the company expects to be up and running by the end of the year.

 

Colorado Springs Commercial Real Estate

Independently owned and operated

Affiliated with national brokerage Cushman & Wakefield

Gregory Phaneuf, principal

Peter Scoville, Principal

Greg Kaufman, senior managing director of retail services

Weston Thomas, associate broker

Cushman & Wakefield

Global commercial real estate brand with:

13,000 employees

231 offices

In 58 countries