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Service: formula for all seasons.

Service: Formula for all seasons

At Julien J. Studley, Inc. the emphasis, according to its chairman, president and founder, is on being a terrific service firm rather than being a brilliant sales organization.

According to Studley, who is an active participant in transactions as broker/consultant or investor, it would be an embarrassment to do the "fast deal" with a tenant. They act, he said, as "intermediaries" offering analyses and promoting understanding.

"Often a tenant is unaware of the all the pitfalls in the lease transaction... our business, in part, is to identify those and deal with them," he said.

If they do it well, they believe, they will probably be given the opportunity to do another.

George Martin, senior vice president, director, branch manager, downtown New York office, concurred that a lot of their work is education. "We try and take people through the process that says your pre-conceived notion may be wrong." There is a lot of work done "post-deal", he said, with no further compensation.

Founded by Studley 36 years ago, the full service commercial real estate firm boasts 15 offices nationwide. While the firm's primary focus is tenant brokerage, it does owner representation in some markets. The firm also offers investment sales expertise, development consulting, and a Debt/Equity Advisory Division. Studley, Inc. is based in New York and its New York office, with 60 brokers in the Midtown and Downtown branches, is the largest of the "Studley umbrella."

In 1989, Studley, Ira Schuman, senior vice president, Midtown branch manager, and Don Schnabel, vice chairman, acted as real estate advisors to Solomon Brothers through 120 days of negotiation to be the first major tenant at Larry Silverstein's 7 World Trade Center. Solomon signed a 20-year, $1 billion lease to occupy 1 million square feet, about half, of what is now their headquarters building.

The New York office prides itself on having many times placed the first or major tenant in a new or completely renovated building -- such as Solomon in 7 World Trade.

According to Studley, "Sometimes the first tenant gets the best deal... You really have to look for market opportunities."

Other trail-blazing leases, have included placing Commonwealth Bank of Australia at 599 Lexington Avenue; CNN at 420 Fifth Avenue; National Bank of Canada at 125 West 55th Street; Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker at 150 East 42nd Street; Nederlandsche Middenstandsbank at 135 E. 57th Street; U.S. Trust at 114 W. 47th Street; and NASDQ at Broad Financial.

Being tenant brokers in a slow market makes for a lot less tension in the office environment, said Maurice H. Solomon, Studley vice chairman, and leader of the Midtown branch.

"As the market get worse, those firms that have an abundance of leasing agencies usually experience a malaise," Solomon said.

Recent tenant representations by the New York office include the expansion move of Arnold & Porter, a national law firm based in Washington, D.C. The firm signed a 15-year lease to occupy 69,000 square feet at 399 Park Avenue, with several options over the term of the lease covering an additional 140,000 square feet. Mitchell Steir, manager director in the midtown office and Peter Speier, vice chairman in the Washington, D.C. office of Studley, handled the lease transaction.

In another expansion move, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. through Studley, leased 58,550 square feet of office space at 420 Fifth Avenue. Jeffrey K. Shrago, senior managing director, and Paul Chandler, managing director of the firm's Washington, D.C. office and Ira Schuman acted on behalf of TBS which will be the first tenant in the building occupying the fourth and fifth floors. Studley also represented the company's Cable News Network (CNN) in a separate lease in Washington, D.C.

Petry Television renewed its lease, through Studley, at 3 East 54th Street for the entire fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth floor. Petry Television, one of the largest sales representatives for over 110 television stations in the United States, was represented by Mitchell Steir.

Studley Environment

Professionals at Studley attribute the firm's success to the corporate culture that exists there. While remaining competitive in the industry, Studley and his managers have created and nurtured a family environment and have even fired brokers for being "too aggressive."

According to Steir, there is an "unusually positive spirit", and, says Howard Grufferman, senior managing director, Midtown office, "The firm rewards those that are creative."

According to Solomon, Studley brokers are "trained extremely well" so that they may have the knowledge and tools to be the "best of the best." Experienced brokers that come from other firms are retrained, he said. For beginning "Studlians" there is also a mentor program.

The firm's managers report turnover is low and all new offices have come about when Studley brokers stationed in the New York office relocate to other parts of the country. "We lose a lot of our good people to open other offices," said Martin.

The company is 100 percent employee-owned, and the Stock Ownership Plan is the second largest stockholder with 16 percent of the company's shares. There is also the opportunity to participate in profit-sharing plan, as well as an in-house equity program, which focuses on the acquisition and development of investment ventures.

The firm's trips and outings have become famous in the industry. "Sometimes we're criticized for doing too much for ourselves," said Studley.

Each year the firm's managers and top producers go away for a "winter retreat" , which, Studley says, can be both relaxing and intense. In recent years the firm has gone to far and exotic places as the Egypt, Morocco, Guatemala and Argentina. There is also a three-day affair -- two days training and one day of fun -- bringing together Studley professionals from around the country. They also recently brought together all of their computer people to discuss "cutting edge" software and applications.

Other Services

While the firm concentrates on promotional brokerage, they do handle some leasing for owners in certain markets. The Midtown office has recently been named the exclusive agent for the Manhattan Brewery Building, located on the corner of Thompson and Watts Streets in the Soho district of Manhattan. Substation Realty, owners of the six-story, newly renovated structure, is being represented by Allan Clearly, associate director, and Michael Berman, assistant director.

The firm has been working to expand its work in investment sales with the hiring of 15 sales professionals last year. The firm recently acted as consultant to Touko America Co., Inc. in the purchase of 1 East 42nd Street and the attached 4 East 43rd Street, one of its first U.S. acquisitions, for approximately $30 million. In 1987, Touko America, a U.S. subsidiary of Touko Haus, a Tokyo-based developer, purchased an adjacent building situated on the northeast corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. The building, considered to be the cornerstone of the assemblage, was owned by Studley and some of the firm's senior offices.

The firm also negotiated the sale of 341 and 341 Madison Avenue to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the sale of 15 E. 26th Street to a group of three pension funds.

Studley, senior level executives of the firm, and outside partners, are also involved as principals in a number of projects. Teams headed by Studley were designated developers of Hudson River Center, a $500 million project located along Manhattan's western waterfront, and have recently started construction of a $193 million, 1 million square foot facility for the federal government at the City Post Office in Washington.
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Title Annotation:Profile: Julien J. Studley Inc.
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:company profile
Date:May 15, 1991
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