Real Estate

Broker puts together commercial brokerage

New full-service real estate company won’t really be new.

November 22, 2013
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Broker puts together commercial brokerage
With a background in mortgage banking and experience in real estate Chip Hurley is now managing director of Newmark Grubb Cressy & Everett based in Mishawaka, Ind. Photo by Johnny Quirin

A new commercial real estate brokerage is opening here, led by a veteran commercial real estate broker who has worked in the local field for the past 16 years. However, Chip Hurley feels the firm won’t actually be a “new” player in the standard sense.

Hurley recently became managing director of Newmark Grubb Cressy & Everett, a full-service commercial brokerage, development and management firm based in Mishawaka, Ind., that has been in business since 1946. Newmark Grubb CE represents more than 5.3 million square feet of commercial space and nearly 2,000 square feet of commercially zoned property in Michigan and Indiana.

Hurley joined the firm after completing a three-year stint at Macatawa Bank, where he handled the lender’s portfolio of commercial foreclosures. He said having that position turned out to be a terrific learning experience in that it provided him with valuable insight into an area of the commercial industry most brokers don’t have.

Hurley also said the position at Macatawa allowed him to develop some worthwhile relationships with service providers that he might not have been able to establish if he was working solely as a broker.

“My background in real estate has historically been in industrial. I’m still going to focus on that as I still have a lot of relationships there. But I really feel that my calling at this point is to figure out how to add value to the relationships that I have that are tied to the lending industry,” he said.

Before he joined Macatawa, Hurley established his reputation in the field at some of the area’s most successful firms. He has worked at The Wisinski Group, now NAI Wisinski of West Michigan, at Grubb & Ellis/Paramount Properties, now Colliers International of West Michigan, and at CB Richard Ellis.

Hurley was with Grubb & Ellis for almost 10 years, and that is where he learned of Newmark Grubb, a worldwide real estate advisory firm that has a relationship with Grubb & Ellis. Cressy & Everett is an Indiana affiliate of Newmark Grubb Frank Knight in the same manner that Paramount Properties was to Grubb & Ellis. Newmark Grubb FK has been around since 1929.

Hurley sees his new post as a challenge he wasn’t fully planning for, but he said it was one he willingly embraced because its gives him an opportunity to create the firm’s culture instead of having to adapt to one.

“I originally thought I might do my own thing. I have my broker’s license, and a lot of this business is relationships,” he said.

Hurley finished his work at the bank ahead of schedule so his position at Macatawa ended earlier than planned. Instead of leaving the bank at the end of the year, he left at the end of the third quarter. The same week he learned of that change last June, he was contacted by Newmark Grubb CE, a firm with which he still had a relationship, and was offered the position.

“It was unbelievable timing,” he said.

“I’m in charge of the recruiting and getting the office started. We’re quietly looking. We want to do this organically but methodically, in that I’m very focused on culture and making sure the office is developed in a way that is a very supportive and positive culture. So I’m not in a rush to fill desks. I’d rather have quality over quantity,” he added.

Hurley said he hopes to have two highly qualified and experienced brokers on board in each real estate property category in the coming months. “I don’t want to be the biggest office,” he said. “I’m very much focused on creating a culture in that everybody can contribute.”

Another reason Hurley is excited about putting together the new firm is he feels the timing for the company’s debut is right because the commercial market has rebounded enough from the disaster of the Great Recession.

But while Newmark Grubb CE is making its local debut, Hurley said it really won’t be a new company.

“At first blush, to the public’s eye, it looks like there is a new company coming to town, but it’s going to be comprised of people that are already in the industry, currently. We’re not adding additional brokers to the market; it’s just a different platform that will be available for brokers that are interested,” he said.

Once the core group of brokers is established, Hurley said he will get their input into what direction the firm should take and what the rest of the staff should look like.

Newmark Grubb CE is temporarily located on Spaulding Avenue just off Cascade Road SE, but the firm plans to relocate into a permanent downtown office by the end of next year’s first quarter. 

Hurley is pleased about being involved with Newmark Grubb CE because he has fond memories of the decade he spent at Paramount Properties, which was affiliated with Grubb & Ellis then and is another worldwide real estate advisory company.

Equally as important, he said the new position gives him the chance to build something from scratch.

“I’m creating the culture versus adapting to one, so it’s almost like I’m getting my cake and eating it, too,” he said. “I’ve gotten wonderful support, and the staff that is electronically assisting me currently is really making this venture seamless for me.”

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