NEW YORK CITY-Silverstein Properties, the developer of the World Trade Center site, has hired a new director of asset management as the family-run company plans to expand its commercial real estate offerings beyond Manhattan. Michael D. Berman, most recently senior vice president and head of asset management at Gramercy Capital Corp., will oversee SPI’s 35 million square-foot portfolio and expansion efforts into markets such as Florida, Eastern Europe, Israel and China, with a specific focus on the company’s operating model.
“Silverstein has a long history of operation here in Manhattan and has gone through some growth,” Berman tells GlobeSt.com. “A natural progression of that is to add some more structure to the organization. They have begun to develop an asset management team, and my job is really to help build and refine the asset management group and help the operating platform work as efficiently as possible.”
Previously the head of leasing for Equity Office Properties’ 7.5 million-square-foot Manhattan portfolio, including World Wide Plaza (now on the sales block), Berman has also worked in leasing at Brookfield Office Properties, Reckson Associates, LaSalle Partners and Studley Inc., which he describes as a “solid foundation” for his new position. “I’ve got a good institutional background which bodes well for an organization like Silverstein that is really at its inflection point in its development, from what has historically been Larry and the family-type of business to one that is growing and becoming more institutionalized,” he says.
Late last year, the company announced its succession plan, appointing Martin Burger as co-CEO of SPI, who will allow the company to finance new development projects, acquire new properties and form new joint ventures around the globe. The company—which has grown from 120 employees in 2006 to 290 employees in 2012—has also undergone reorganization over the last six years, led by SPI president and CEO Larry Silverstein and COO Mickey Kupperman.
Berman says he will work to institutionalize the company model to a greater degree. “We’ve taken on some institutional partners, and part of the role of our group and part of my job is to interact with the relationships we have with our investors to make sure we are not only running our organization the best way that we can, but reporting to them in a manner that we are more used to,” he adds.