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December 18, 2019  

Eastdil Exec Firestone Moving to New York

Jonathan Firestone, a long-time Eastdil Secured executive on the West Coast, is relocating to New York to boost the firm’s capital-markets presence in the country’s largest market.

As a managing director in Los Angeles and a member of the firm’s management committee, Firestone has focused largely on debt deals. He’ll start in Manhattan next month, tasked with lining up investment-sales and debt-placement assignments, largely by tapping the relationships he has built with borrowers and property owners across the country. He’ll also advise clients on deals and help them secure equity.

“This is all part of our next generation raising its hand to try to guide the firm forward on behalf of our clients,” said Eastdil chief executive Roy March.

The move could help Eastdil increase its market share in New York, where it topped the investment-sales league table for eight straight years through 2016. Since then, Cushman & Wakefield has moved to the top of the league table, while Eastdil fell to third place for 2017 and placed second last year, according to Real Estate Alert’s Deal Database.

March said that the relocation was Firestone’s idea, and fits the “2.0” version of the firm evolving since its management buyout this summer from parent Wells Fargo. The firm’s executives, with backing from Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings and institutional investors advised by Guggenheim, bought a majority interest from Wells, which retained a small stake.

In Manhattan, Firestone will work alongside managing directors Gary Phillips and Will Silverman. Phillips, who joined in December 2018, was previously head of acquisitions for Allianz Real Estate of America. Silverman started in June after 16 years as a New York broker at Hodges Ward Elliott and Savills Studley.

“The opportunity is in essence to provide further support to what we think is an outstanding team,” March said. “From our standpoint, it’s obviously a huge opportunity in New York, and we want to put our best talent on it.”

Firestone said he understands the level of competition in New York — by far the largest investment-sales and debt market in the country — but is undaunted. “I’m not afraid to take on any type of challenge,” he said. “I recognize the competition is fierce, but on the other hand, if it wasn’t so fierce, I wouldn’t be so excited to go in and get our fair share. To me, the opportunity is the challenge, and the challenge is the opportunity.”

March said that being atop New York league tables isn’t the firm’s goal, though he added that increasing sales volume should be a byproduct of Firestone’s relocation. “We want to be the most relevant capital-markets advisor globally and in the New York capital markets,” he said.

Firestone began his career in New York, working at Credit Suisse in the real estate finance division. He moved to Los Angeles in 2001 to join Secured Capital as an associate. Secured was bought by Eastdil in 2006.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Jonathan now for 20 years, and I’ve watched him become one of the top professionals in our business,” said Michael Van Konynenburg, former chief executive of Secured and current president of Eastdil. “And I’ve watched him significantly grow his relationships, both on the East Coast, in London and on the West Coast.”