WEST LOS ANGELES-Newmark Knight Frank Retail of New York City has expanded into the L.A. market with a new office here and has named Lasia Casil Sonmez to head the new operation. Casil Sonmez is a specialist in launching international retailers in the US.

Newmark Knight Frank Retail, which provides consulting and site selection services for retailers, has opened the new office here because “L.A. is a key market that retailers look at when establishing their game plan,” says Jeffrey D. Roseman, EVP of the New York-based company. In addition to the many US retailers that view Los Angeles as a key market, Roseman adds, overseas retailers increasingly are targeting L.A. as part of their expansion plans.

Beyond site selection, Roseman adds, Newmark Knight’s strategy is to “take a retailer that’s coming from overseas or just launching in the US and effectively roll them out across the country.” One of the Southern California markets that is prime for new retailers is Downtown L.A., Roseman comments, describing Downtown as “underserved” and one of “many hidden markets we believe will take off.”

Casil Sonmez will expand the West Coast coverage currently provided by Newmark Knight Frank’s San Francisco office. She joined the firm in 2002 at its Manhattan headquarters and, the company says, she will maintain a strong presence in New York City while serving as the primary point of contact for retail and restaurant clients searching for space in Southern California.

Working primarily with international clients breaking into the US market, Casil Sonmez is focused on tenant and owner representation. Since joining Newmark Knight, she has represented overseas brands in the opening of their flagship stores in SoHo, New York. Some of her international fashion clients include Custo Barcelona of Spain, Onward Kashiyama and Via Bus Stop of Japan, the Swedish restaurant Smorgas and a number of others.

Before joining Newmark Knight, Casil Sonmez worked for a boutique residential real estate firm that sold luxury lofts in Downtown Manhattan. She has also served as a project manager for a real estate development company that converted factory lofts into residential and office units.

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