Newmark Knight Frank Boosts New England Presence with Codman Acquisition

Newmark Knight Frank has bolstered its presence in the Greater Boston market and throughout New England by acquiring The Codman Co., the region’s oldest privately held real estate firm. The Codman team brings experience and deep roots in New England as well as a property management portfolio of 5.5 million square feet with it.Financial details were not disclosed.The merger comes less than a year after New York City-based Newmark Knight Frank opened its Boston office in April at One Federal St. and had hired James Thomson, formerly of Cushman & Wakefield Inc., as managing principal to run it.“This expansion brings us much nearer to our goal of becoming a dominant force in the Massachusetts commercial real estate market,” Barry Gosin, Newmark Knight Frank CEO, said in a release. “We made these hires following a lengthy and exhaustive search; based on these gentlemen’s talent and reputation it was quite clear that they were an optimal fit.””We’re excited about it,” Gosin told CPN today. “It’s a great market.” Gosin said it was Newmark’s intention all along to grow the Boston office by seeking out smaller companies to acquire and he expected there might be other similar deals in the future. “We want to fill out areas where we may be weak and disciplines where we might be complementary,” he said of looking for merger partners. “Our goal is to be a market leader in Boston.” Asked where he saw some weaknesses there, he said Newmark might try to further boost the financing operations of the Boston office as well as look to increase downtown investment sales. “We’re always looking for good people,” Gosin added. Former Codman principals joining Newmark Knight Frank are: David Campbell, Drew Nelson, Christopher Curley, James Belli, Tom Powers and their group of brokerage professionals. Principal Stephen Prozinski will bring his management team to the firm. Gosin noted that Codman’s property management portfolio was attractive. “It supports our business model elsewhere,” he said. The additions significantly increase the size of Newmark Knight Frank’s brokerage operation. The firm also gets a big boost in its property management portfolio, which will now total about 7.5 million square feet.“With this expansion, we are bolstering our coverage of the market and the ability to execute the growing needs of our clients,” Thomson stated in the release. “We are hiring the best local talent, people who can provide intimate, individualized service and who already have exceptional local knowledge.”Codman, founded in 1872, had been based at 50 Rowes Wharf in Boston. Gosin said that office would be closed and the Codman staff would move to One Federal St. The Boston Business Journal reported Monday that about 19 brokers and 23 Codman staffers were expected to join Newmark.The Business Journal story quoted Prozinski as saying the Codman principals had been exploring merging with another firm before opening negotiations with Newmark Knight Frank, one of the largest independent real estate companies in the world. The firm has more than 165 offices around the globe. Besides Boston, Newmark has U.S. offices in major markets such as New York City, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Dallas and Houston. In 2007, Newmark and its London-based partner, Knight Frank Newmark, made deals worth more than $37.3 billion and had annual revenues of over $537 million.Locally, the Codman deal brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Newmark’s Boston office. Prozinski, who joins Newmark as a principal, had been a principal at Codman, where he oversaw all the property assets managed by the firm. He was CFO, COO and director of property management.Also joining Newmark as principals are: Belli, who had been a principal at Codman since November 2002 and directed the firm’s investment sales; Campbell, a Codman principal since 2004 who oversaw brokerage in Boston’s Western suburbs. Belli had previously been with Cushman & Wakefield while Campbell had arrived at Codman after spending 12 years with Trammell Crow Co.Curley, a Codman principal who had been a vice president with GVA Thompson Doyle Hennessey & Stevens, has been focusing on landlord and tenant representation in the Northern suburban markets. Nelson, who held senior positions at Insignia/ESG and CB Richard Ellis Inc. before going to Codman, has been handling technology-related clients and general office leasing.Newmark has been adding additional talent to its Boston office for the past several months.