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Corporate exec turns consultant.

Corporate exec turns consultant

Having been a broker, an appraiser, a construction lender, a corporate advisor and a real estate manager, Peter S. Brooks, MAI, CRE, is now wearing the hat of consultant for corporations and their real estate needs.

Brooks, a former senior vice president and head of Corporate Services Division for Chemical Bank, recently signed on as a partner with Austrian Roth & Partners, a new consultancy formed by industry veterans James A. Austrian and Stanton F. Roth. He will advise corporations on the acquisition and disposition of their holdings, the relocation of facilities and the organization and operation of corporate real estate departments.

According to Brooks, the move was triggered by the merger between Manufacturers Hanover Trust and Chemical Bank.

"It really has given me the opportunity to do something I've thought about doing for a while," he said.

At Chemical, Brooks managed a portfolio of 8 million square feet, overseeing the $300 million annual rent and occupancy budget and 500 employees. According to Brooks, this space represented all the branch locations, operations centers and corporate offices around the country and the world. These were mostly leases and Brooks served as in-house tenant representation.

Just prior to the merger, Brooks negotiated an important package of benefits from New York City to keep Chemical Bank headquartered in the city and negotiated a complex 1 million-square-foot renewal lease for the bank's headquarters at 277 Park Avenue.

Corporations Seek

Helping Hand

The current business climate, Brooks said, has increased the need for corporate real estate consulting.

"A lot of corporations, either because they merged or soft economic times, are declining their need for space so many corporations are faced with excess space," he said.

Many companies, therefore, Brooks said, find themselves suffering some of the same problems that property owners are. And while corporate America downsizes, their real estate departments may be losing some of their strength. Austrian Roth, Brooks said, will not replace these departments but rather act as a supplement.

"The in-house resources they may have had are getting stretched," he said.

Austrian Roth, Brooks said, has so far done a lot of work in corporate relocations. Partner Charles Shapiro has a "refined" model for companies moving from one city to another and evaluating the related costs - real estate costs, human resource costs.

"It's not easy for corporations to figure out what it all costs.

Brooks said he will be bringing the full-scale approach to the firm.

"Some corporations are known for good corporate real estate divisions," he said. "Some, for whatever historical reason, have not focused on that issue."

Brooks joined Chemical in 1977 as an appraiser. Before rising to director of the Corporate Services Division, he held the positions of commercial loan officer, deputy district head/New York City Real Estate Lending Group; director of leasing; and director of Leasing and Branch Development.

Brooks is also busy as the president of the New York Chapter of Appraisal Institute. The appraisal business is facing a new challenges because of market decline and the Savings and Loan crisis. The FIRREA (Federal Institution Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act), the regulations now require all appraisals to be done by a licensed appraiser. This, Brooks said, has place appraisal organizations under pressure to distinguish themselves. The Appraisal Institute is a recent merger between The American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and the Society of Real Estate Appraisers.

Austrian & Roth, Brooks said, was an ideal place to apply his experience. Formed in 1991, the firm pursues five major areas of concentration: Enhancing the value of problem properties; corporate relocation counseling, including geographic, market and financial analysis and location counseling for national and regional chains, asset management and investment guidance; and special assignments.

Austrian Roth has also acted in place of the owner "In Loco Domini" for offshore investors, individuals, families, trustees, devisees and non-profit organizations as counselors and overseers in the management, operations and marketing of real property.

The firm also publishes The Austrian Roth Manhattan Land Price Index, and has become active in advocacy representation involving valuation disputes and rental arbitrations.
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Title Annotation:Peter S. Brooks
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Biography
Date:Jan 22, 1992
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