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Retail pioneer, Charles Aug, dead.

Charles Aug, the man hailed for creating the concept of retail brokerage, died September 1, 2006, after a battle with the rare bone disease, Amyloidosis. He was 68 years old.

Aug will be remembered for his trail-blazing efforts to bring retail to mainstream brokerage and carve a niche for store leasing that helped launch the careers of some of the biggest brokers in the business.

"He was the guy who invented retail store leasing as an entity in itself and understood the emergence of specialty retail in the 1970's and 1980's through the present," said Ben Fox, executive vice president of Newmark, Knight and Frank, who began his career with Aug's Garrick Aug Store Leasing Inc. "Because he was the first in the field he attracted a legion of successful real estate brokers who were very loyal but who also were able to branch out on their own and continued to thrive."

Aug was born in Rockville Center, Maryland ,and lived in New York City most of his life. After a stint at office real estate, Aug partnered with Michael Hirschfeld in 1974 to take advantage of a void in the market and helped create Garrick-Aug. After Hirschfeld left in 1974, Aug dug his heels into the firm which soon became one of the most formidable retail leasing companies in the world.

"When I go to conventions and meet people having the same last name as him, they talk about him like he was a rock star. He was very well loved and won't be forgotten," said his son, James Aug.

Aug was renowned known for his dynamic personality which electrified the office, pitting brokers against each other in a highly competitive commission-based business that sharpened the teeth of those who ultimately rose the very highest echelons of the industry..

"When Charlie walked into the office, you could just feel the energy level rise," said Peter Nelson, a former Garrick-Aug staffer.

"I ran the back office and I came in completely green and quickly learned how the commission industry worked. He was certainly an innovator, and anyone involved in the field learned the industry from Charlie."

Peter Botsaris, president of Botsaris Realty Company and former partner at Garrick-Aug, remembers how Aug would scream encouraging words at the top of his lungs at sales meetings to motivate employees.

"Charlie had a truly aggressive nature and that aggressive nature filtered down through the ranks," said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman, retail leasing and sales division with Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, another former Aug protege who went on to establish the firm's international division in the late 1980s. "If you were smart enough to take the positive part of his energy and run with it, then you were successful.

"If I had an idea I wanted to put into action, he would say okay, lets do it, and we would do it. He encouraged us to think outside the box and when we did, and as long as we were making money, we were the chosen ones, the ones who were able to help him realize his vision."

Fox joked, "He was the only guy I knew who could string together a sentence filled with expletives that came out as sheer poetry."

Aug provided fuel for the fire by setting up the business and then expected his employees to blaze their own trail. He was known to coax his employees, including his son James Aug, to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities available, in the New York market.

He was also respected for the integrity he displayed towards clients, never compromising a tenant by herding them into the first available store, but carefully researching the market to let them know all of their options.

The business rounded out Aug's personality. He worked hard but played hard too, and was committed to enjoying the fruits of his labor. He built a 60-acre farm in Rupert, Vermont, which his son called his "first real accomplishment," and was known to spend a lot of time there. He loved his family, horseback riding, fishing, sailing and golf.

Shortly after Garrick-Aug was sold in 2004, Aug went on to continue his business independently, purchasing properties in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, New Jersey, South Beach, Florida, and Hollywood, Florida.

But perhaps his real legacy can be found in the scores of retail brokers whose careers he helped launch at Garrick-Aug.

"If you look around New York today in the retail leasing business, you will find Charlie has left his mark in almost every company," Botsaris said.

Aug is survived by his son Jimmy Aug, his sister, Louise Mitchell, and his two grandchildren, Anika, 7, and Kieran, 4.
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Author:Wolffe, Danielle
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 13, 2006
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