by Robert S. Nardella, MAI, MRICS, Executive Managing Director
Tri-State Area Leader, Valuation & Advisory
We’re recognizing the individuals within our Valuation & Advisory (V&A) group who have hit major anniversary milestones this year, by asking these veterans a few questions. After having been with the firm for 20 years or more, it’s interesting to hear about their experience, tenure, and what keeps them going. I had the chance to talk with Mike Leddy, who has worked in our Tri-State region for the last 30 years…
You’ve now been with the firm 30 years and focus on Industrial and Office. What changes within the appraisal industry and/or your market have you seen since you began your career? Where do you think it is heading?
The two biggest changes I have noticed are technology, and as a result the timing and pace of our assignments. Clients need (and want) results sooner than in the past. The 4-5 week turnaround is now 12 business days. This would not be possible without the changes in technology. Hunting for tax or flood info on microfiche, a process that took time and patience, is now only a few keystrokes away. The availability of aerial and street level maps and comparable data is another huge advantage from when I started.
How did you get your start in commercial real estate/why did you choose to go into the appraisal profession?
My start in commercial real estate began when I was a junior in college. As part of a cooperative education program, I started doing research for a Cushman & Wakefield broker in Princeton, NJ. Upon graduation from college, I began my career in market research in the Cushman & Wakefield Lyndhurst, NJ office. After six months of calling brokers and property owners for updates on availabilities, I was looking for another challenge. Around this time, “The Art of the Deal” was #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list (…I wonder what that author is up to now?!?), so brokerage was my first choice. However, the New Jersey office manager at the time told me that there wasn’t any opportunity in brokerage.
What is it about Cushman & Wakefield that has helped you reach this anniversary/keep you here?
The fact that Cushman & Wakefield has been considered to be a best in class firm for so long has kept me here.
What was the most unusual assignment you’ve ever had or what has been the most memorable/your favorite?
Specializing in industrial, I have enjoyed touring some of the old manufacturing sites throughout the state. Patterson, New Jersey was originally known as the “Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution” and the State played a large roll during WWII. I’ve had the opportunity to appraise several facilities that were converted to support the war effort.
In Wood-Ridge, NJ, Curtiss-Wright built and operated a 2.1 million square foot facility that manufactured aircraft engines. The facility was built below grade of the surrounding roadways and the roof was covered in grass. The theory was the site would look like a park from the air and would not be targeted by enemy bombers. Now a multi-tenanted industrial building, I have appraised this site for financing.
The second interesting site was a former Fischer Body plant in Ewing, NJ that was built to manufacturer body parts for General Motors. The plant was converted in December, 1941 to manufacturer Avenger torpedo bombers for the U.S. Navy, including the plane George H. W. Bush was flying when he was shot down over the Pacific Ocean by Japanese anti-aircraft fire. I appraised this site in the late 1990’s when the facility was shut down.
When you’re not out appraising an asset or writing a report, what do you like to do?
When I’m not in the office, I enjoy doing anything outside. Besides coaching my daughter’s soccer games, I enjoy running and motorcycles. I have run the Marine Corp Marathon in DC, and twice have completed the New York City Marathon. My fingers are crossed to get picked in the lottery to run again this year. My passion for motorcycles has taken me across the U.S. twice, and through the Alps of Europe. I was a competitive club level racer for 15+ years with only one win after many, many attempts. I am currently semi-retired from racing, but I haven’t hung the for-sale sign on the bike just yet.
Cushman & Wakefield has been a leader in the New York Tri-State Region since the company’s founding in New York City in 1917. Today our regional presence includes 14 offices throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, with more than 450 brokers and sales professionals, and more than 1,300 total employees. In 2016 we completed more than 2,000 lease transactions and nearly 700 sale transactions. We managed 175 projects, engaged in nearly 5,000 valuation assignments, and managed more than 71 million square feet of property, making us the region’s top property manager.