What a Deal … SVN Chicago Commercial Closes Largest Sale in Sperry Van Ness History

A huge congratulations to Jerry Goldner, Vice President of Investment Sales at SVN Chicago Commercial, for recently closing the largest single deal in Sperry Van Ness history.

The property, Walton on the Park South, is located in Chicago’s Gold Coast at 2 West Delaware Street. The sale consisted of 160 units of the 201-unit high-rise rental condominium tower and an adjacent 17,180 square-foot development site zoned for 261 residential units. It was purchased by Miami developer, Crescent Heights, Inc.

Not only is this the largest deal in SVN history, but the largest for Goldner who, acting as sole broker, closed the deal with an unsolicited offer. Goldner has over 34-years of commercial real estate experience in the Chicago market and proved that when you work hard and offer the SVN Difference, you can do anything you set your mind to. Click here for full transaction details.

“This transaction started over 4 years ago when I represented the previous owners. It has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my 34- years as an investment Advisor.”


The Broker List

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

The story behind the Sperry Van Ness Monday Morning Call

One of the hallmarks of the Sperry Van Ness® (SVN) brand is our Monday Morning Sales Call. While almost all commercial real estate teams have a weekly sales meeting of some sort, the SVN call is not only national in scope, but it’s open to the entire brokerage community.  Why do we do this? Because we believe in basic economic fundamentals:

The greater the exposure, the bigger demand; the bigger the demand, the higher the sale price of an asset.  It’s economics 101.

To find out more, view our SVN Difference video.

At SVN we believe that achieving the highest and best price is always in our clients’ best interests. We practice compensated cooperation where we pay equitable co-brokerage fees on all properties to not only our own Advisors, but to any and all outside brokers.  This is where the Monday Morning Sales Call comes in.

Sperry Van Ness National Call
SVN Parke Group watches the Sperry Van Ness national call as an office in their conference room.

With co-brokerage fees motivating the marketplace, compensated cooperation guarantees that more buyers view our clients’ properties, pumping up demand, and ultimately the purchase price.

When an SVN advisor receives a new listing, it’s immediately entered into our innovative cloud-based system, creating instantaneous marketing materials and websites as well as syndication links to multiple listing services.

Qualified properties are then featured on our weekly Monday National Sales call, which is attended by our SVN advisors and other guests who are potential partners for a deal. Following the call, SVN publicizes those properties across the Internet to thousands of more potential purchasers.  The result? Here’s what our advisors have to say:

“I’ve done 4 or 5 deals … with other SVN Advisors and most of them came from the Monday morning call.”

“Sold two [NNN Investment] properties in 2012 [due to Monday morning call].”

“I’ve closed many transactions as Buyer’s broker or Seller’s broker due to the Monday Morning Call.”

“Just this week, I sent a property to my buyer, and that buyer is looking hard at it.”

By exposing listings to not only SVN advisors across the country, but also members of the outside brokerage community our advisors have more opportunities to find the right partner to close more deals.   You may think that Advisors are giving up some by splitting the commission 50/50, but they gain a lot more when they close more deals, more quickly and at a higher price.

This dedication to transparency and collaboration is something we work into every facet of SVN services from investment sales to tenant representation, from property and asset management to corporate, leasing and auction services.

To register for our Monday Morning Sales Call click here.

To find out more about franchise opportunities click here.

Why We Collaborate

Kevin Maggiacomo, President & CEO of Sperry Van Ness Internationa
Kevin Maggiacomo, President & CEO of Sperry Van Ness International Corp.

I’m often asked why we give away some of the (otherwise proprietary) Sperry Van Ness®  systems, tools and resources. I’m further asked why SVN is investing in the development of new tools if only to hand some of them out to the brokerage community at large. “Aren’t we aiding our competitors?” “Are we losing pieces of our differentiated value proposition in doing so?” These are a few of the questions often posed to me. 

While losing market share and eroding gross margin are obviously not the extirpative goals of the aforementioned strategy, in this post I’ll attempt to clarify why we have taken our culture of collaboration up a notch, and how doing so is facilitating growth across all key performance indicators while helping to improve the fractured state of the commercial real estate (CRE) industry. 

By way of background, SVN was founded on the premise that proactively cooperating and collaborating with our brokerage brethren – sharing our fees 50/50 in the process – is the right thing to do for the client and is the only way to ensure maximum value for a property.  Debating the merits of that ethos is a topic for another day, and last month we released the SVN Difference Video, which scrutinized the CRE industry and its asset disposition practices, and was met with strong emotional reaction. 

In terms of opening-up and creating new SVN products for the benefit of the brokerage community, we’ve rolled out the following in the past 12 months, which can be categorized and described as follows:

  • Compensated Cooperation:  The SVN Monday Morning Sales call is now open to the public.  There, we showcase new listings procured by our SVN Advisors over the previous 7 days.  Every listing includes a buy-side commission which is always ½ of what the SVN Advisor stands to earn as a matter of policy.

  • Education:  We collaborated with more than 10 commercial real estate firms and industry organizations to launch www.CREvine.com, an open resource platform for CRE professionals to acquire new skills, gain knowledge, and “level-up” their practices.

  • Marketing:  Lastly, and as a BETA test, we’ve opened up a good portion of our (now retired) OnlinePublisherTM system.  Called CRElaunch, owners and brokers alike can use the tool to create brochures and market their properties (a word of caution here – the product is in BETA and has a long way to go).

But back to the topic at hand.

We collaborate not to merely suggest that “we’re the good guys,” but because we truly believe that making the otherwise dysfunctional commercial real estate market more efficient will benefit all stakeholders, including Sperry Van Ness.

Simply put, collaborating – harnessing the power of broad horizontal networks of participants to achieve a better outcome – will drive market efficiency and liquidity, while simultaneously increasing revenue and profitability to those who collaborate.  At SVN, we’ve aggressively grown our business by subscribing to this ethos and receive direct benefit in the following manner:

  • Recruiting:  As a CRE advisory, one of our biggest economic generators is recruiting talented, ethical and productive advisors.  Our opening-up certain components of SVN has allowed us to create relationships with thousands of brokers and we’ve recruited or awarded a brokerage position or SVN franchise to a small percentage of this new constituency.

  • Retention:  Just as strong as recruiting is a vital key performance indicator of growth, attrition (of producing Advisors) can have devastating consequences for an organization.  Through thought leadership, the contemporary nature of our collaborative growth strategy, and via a transparent business model, our attrition rate is at a 5-year low.

  • Sales:  When one harnesses the power of the entire brokerage community to market a for sale asset, organized competition is generated, multiple offers are posited, the market speaks, and the highest price is achieved.  Our compensated cooperation strategy, coupled with our core covenants, define SVN while moving inventory faster and at a higher price.

  • New Business Development:  It’s tough to argue against the growth strategies of the likes of Google, Skype, and Innocentive in suggesting that their “Freemium” business models don’t create raving fans, loyal customers, and a myriad of cross-selling opportunities (each of these companies offer a free “attraction” product while simultaneously offering paid premium products).  As described above, the SVN story – rooted in harnessing the power of collaboration to affect a better outcome – has been kicked-up a notch, shared with clients/prospects, has enhanced our point of differentiation, increased our “batting average,” and reduced the cost of sales.  We are winning new listings, doing more business – all while putting the clients interests’ first.

Mass collaboration, while not ubiquitous in CRE brokerage, is now a staple of the new economy and it’s here to stay.  As the members of Generation X & Y grow to positions of increasing power and control, collaboration and Freemium business strategies will become the norm in CRE as well.  Until then, I’ll continue to invest in the creation of new products and to share some of those we previously created.

Kevin Maggiacomo is the President and CEO of Sperry Van Ness International Corp.

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.


SVN State of the Company: Change or Die by Kevin Maggiacomo

Kevin Maggiacomo, President & CEO of Sperry Van Ness Internationa
Kevin Maggiacomo, President & Chief Executive Officer of Sperry Van Ness International Corporation

As President and CEO of Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, my role, aside from addressing the perennially evolving needs of the organization, is to spend a good percentage of my time on strategy and “second wave growth.” Creating a real estate services platform, scaling-up new offerings like property management and auction, but also on expanding upon the disruption that our compensated cooperation model has had on the industry is where I spent a considerable amount of my time. In this post I’ll share with you why we’ve funded and embraced such an “innovation lab” at SVN, and describe why it’s an important cause.

Inspired by the Motley Fool, whose two founders I recently spent time with at the Conscious Capitalism conference, let us consider the following notion: Becoming a leading company in an industry requires the right people, and I’m not talking about at the executive level, but at every level. An appetite for change has to be in a company’s DNA.  But being an industry leader also requires a tremendous amount of imagination… imagining a different world. A world almost like the one we live in now, but more efficient.  Becoming a laggard in an industry requires a lack of imagination. And just like any industry on the planet, there are forces that will disrupt commercial real estate brokerage and we are not immune.

Change happens to industries. Just ask a newspaper publisher, or anyone who invested in that industry in recent years. We still read newspapers – in fact we read them more today than in previous generations – but we don’t read them in quite the same way. And without a bridge loan from the then richest man on the planet, even the patriarch of the publishers – The New York Times – would have filed for bankruptcy protection. Were there warnings this would happen? You bet.

Back in 1993, a man named Gordy Thompson worked for The New York Times, and his job title was “Internet Services Manager.” Rest assured that in the C-Suite at The Times, no one knew what the role included, much less understood that it was arguably the most important position at the newspaper. As the story goes, Thompson tried – and failed to deliver the following message to The Times execs: “When a 14-year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you’ve got a problem.”

Thompson was in the habit of hanging out on Internet message boards, if you remember those from back in the day. There, Thompson noticed that fans of the Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry were re-posting Barry’s columns on the 2,000 person strong Usenet so that people who couldn’t read the Herald now could. In other words, the greatest competitive threat for newspapers was the popularity of their own content.  People wanted more of it where and when they wanted – on their terms.

This same trend has occurred in the financial industry when we began facilitating our own trades online – and the list goes on. Did people stop traveling? No, they stopped paying travel agents. And you better believe there was a Gordy Thompson every time, sounding the alarm, telling the corporate executives to use a little imagination. Saying “people want what they want, when they want it, where they want it and how they want it.  And if we don’t figure out a way to give it to them, they are going to get it somewhere else.”

Innovating to develop new methods of providing Commercial Real Estate (CRE) advisory services, working towards making the opaque and antiquated CRE industry more transparent and efficient are a few of the causes which drive the SVN innovation lab’s purpose – embracing the disruptive economic forces inherent in other industries is a big focus of our leadership team. When we talk about opening up parts of SVN – our Monday Morning Sales Calls to anyone who wants to listen or the previous version of our OnlinePublisherTM (www.crelaunch.com) – we’re focusing on increasing our productivity through collaboration with the entire industry, making it more efficient in the process.  This is the Sperry Van Ness® Difference. To learn more check out our SVN Difference Video.

Kevin Maggiacomo is the President and CEO of Sperry Van Ness International Corp.

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.