Cushman's Former Head Of LIC Investment Sales Forms New CRE Brokerage
David Chase left Cushman & Wakefield in Nov. to start ONE Commercial Realty Services
By Rey Mashayekhi
After more than two years as director of investment sales in Long Island City, Astoria and western Queens for Cushman & Wakefield, David Chase decided to strike out on his own this fall.
Chase departed Cushman in November to start his very own real estate firm: ONE Commercial Realty Services, or ONE CRS. The newly-formed company will look to offer investment sales, retail leasing and capital markets services in all five boroughs, Chase told Living LIC in December.
“We’re going to cover everything in commercial real estate,” he said of the new brokerage. “We’re going to focus on multifamily, commercial, retail and industrial, including development sites and manufacturing buildings, in the $1 million to $50 million range. If we get [listings] over $50 million, we’ll do them as well.”
ONE CRS is the most ambitious endeavor in Chase’s 13-year career in commercial real estate. He is familiar with the Long Island City real estate market after becoming head of investment sales for the neighborhood and surrounding area for Massey Knakal Realty Services in 2014. The firm, a stalwart on the NYC real estate market, was acquired by Cushman & Wakefield in 2015.
In his time at Massey Knakal and later Cushman, Chase worked on some of the firm’s biggest listings – including major Long Island City deals like Savanna’s attempted sale of One Court Square (a.k.a. the Citigroup Building) in 2015 and Atlas Capital Group’s $48M acquisition of FreshDirect’s former warehouse facility, on Borden Avenue, in 2016.
Prior to working up to investment sales, Chase joined Massey Knakal in 2011 as director of retail leasing, with a focus on the Upper West Side market. He soon became one of the firm’s top leasing brokers – building on the experience he had previous gained as a commercial leasing agent at brokerage Manhattan Spaces and, before that, as a rental agent at residential brokerages In Town Realty and Citi Habitats.
“I’m a self-made person,” Chase said of his motivation to leave Cushman and start his new endeavor. “I feel that I have a lot of experience in the industry, I know a lot of people and I’ve demonstrated good team management.”
The 39-year-old Chase – who has previously gone by his given last name, Chkheidze – spent 2008 to 2010 working in his native country of Georgia in eastern Europe, where he managed and oversaw the development of a 10-story residential building in the capital city of Tbilisi. His work in Georgia also includes philanthropy; Chase helped found a school there serving underprivileged children.
Chase said one of the reasons he decided to start ONE CRS is because “I like to start businesses.” That includes restaurants; he is one of the founding partners, alongside his brother Vasil, behind the authentic Georgian restaurant Old Tbilisi Garden, which opened on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village in 2014.
“I felt that I’m ready to take it to the next level,” Chase said of the new venture, adding that it was his decision alone to leave Cushman. ONE CRS already has offices in Midtown and Queens, and Chase is looking open another office in downtown Brooklyn. He said investment sales will carry the bulk of the brokerage’s business, with retail leasing and capital services more “supplemental.”
ONE CRS brokers will specialize in specific regions of the city and will be known as “neighborhood experts,” according to Chase. He plans to eventually have six to eight teams working in Manhattan, five teams in Brooklyn, three teams in Queens and one team in each of the Bronx and Staten Island. Chase said he’s “very busy with interviewing” candidates for positions at the firm – having already lured former colleague Josh Lipton away from Cushman to work on ONE CRS’s upper Manhattan team (focused on properties above 96th Street, including in Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood).
Despite being responsible for numerous facets of the company’s operations, Chase wants to stay involved in the LIC, Astoria and Sunnyside markets he has come to know well – and will continue to be responsible for ONE CRS’s investment sales team covering those Queens neighborhoods, he said.
When asked about the Long Island City real estate market’s prospect heading into the new year, Chase said the “main focus should be to build up retail activity in Long Island City.”
“In the next few years, we’ll be bringing in a lot of retailers, but we need more. We see thousands of [residential] units coming online in the next few years, so to create a live/work/play environment we need a diversity of different retailers.”
Chase added that “I hope Albany will make a final decision on 421a,” the now-expired developer tax abatement that subsidized the construction of affordable rental housing in New York. “We definitely need 421a back – not necessarily in Long Island City [because of the number of new units being built], but in New York City at large it’s a necessity.”
“I think Long Island City will continue to grow,” Chase said. “I think demand is going to be strong [in 2017], to be honest with you. For that reason, I don’t think it’s going to drop.”