Well, no one can say it’s business as usual under the new regime at Studley. The Manhattan-based firm whose decades-long MO was tenant rep in the office sector is now a retail broker and advisor too, and will on a limited basis go after ownership business as well. The agent of change is Robert Pressman, the former Barney’s chairman and CEO. Those credentials alone would prove his seaworthiness, but Pressman has also logged time at both Newmark and Cushman & Wakefield where, he says, he launched similar retail initiatives. Well, not really similar, as the now three-month veteran of Studley explained in a recent exclusive interview:

GlobeSt.com: Since Barney’s, you’ve been at Newmark, C&W and now Studley. Why the hopping around?

Pressman: It wasn’t hopping around. When I left Barney’s after the business was sold to new investors, I was determined to use my experience in finance and real estate to consult for major companies. I had known the Newmark folks for many years and joined them. In 2002 an opportunity was presented to me by Cushman to run their consulting practice on a global basis. It was a more expansive and global role. So I decided to take the opportunity. I wasn’t looking to leave Cushman, but an interesting situation occurred when Studley approached me about doing a joint-venture consulting project. We were retained and I learned that they were looking to start a new retail group on a much broader platform than the others, where I would be running both brokerage and consulting.

GlobeSt.com: Cushman was just brokerage?

Pressman: It was really consulting and specialized brokerage. Studley wanted to do a much more comprehensive national consulting and brokerage-services practice for the retail industry. The opportunity was really exciting, and I couldn’t ignore it.

GlobeSt.com: If you were the guiding force behind both the Newmark and C&W initiatives, how could they be so distinct?

Pressman: The piece that’s proprietary to me and my team is the advisory piece. When you mesh that group of people with the retail brokerage business, you have a much more complete offering of services. With brokerage you’re limited to sourcing space. But if you have the retail expertise, if you’ve sat on the retail side of the table, you can advise. You can write business plans and source capital and advise land owners and property owners on shopping-center development. It’s a much stronger business model.

GlobeSt.com: As a former retailer, what have you found that most brokers miss?

Pressman: They don’t understand how retailers think. The difference is that retail real estate is the business. It’s where the revenues and profits occur. That requires you to understand what the retailer’s needs are and how they operate. Their operations directly impact the site, so your response has to be more than, “OK, I’m going to lease you space on the corner.” It’s about your client’s business model, their customers, and their issues in growing or contracting the business. It’s understanding how they make money.

GlobeSt.com: What about Studley’s traditional tenant rep model?

Pressman: We will on a selective basis advise property owners as well, but only in retail.

GlobeSt.com: It’s an interesting time to launch the practice. What if the economy cools?

Pressman: We run several businesses here. We run a traditional brokerage business, finding and sourcing retail space. But we do much more than that. We also assist troubled retailers and retailers in bankruptcy. And we’ll develop business plans and ways to restructure. We also have a third piece that assists retailers who want to expand. Retailing is in a constant state of flux. Not only does it follow cyclical trends in the economy, but retailers are cyclical as well. At any point in the day one retailer is doing well and one is doing poorly. We’re working both ends of the spectrum all the time.

GlobeSt.com: Where do you see your retail revenues in a year?

Pressman: I’m not going to discuss revenues, but we’ll be one of the top players in the US both in terms of size and revenues. Studley currently has 17 locations in the US, and we intend to be in most of them.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Dig Deeper



Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2024 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.