The local chapter of KCRAR Commercial is shuffling the way it decides which member of the brokerage community deserve its highest annual awards. KCRAR Commercial Vice Chairman Tom Houts of Cushman & Wakefield described the changes the committee was making at the KCRAR Commercial annual awards ceremony, held last week at Populous’ new space at 4800 Main St.
“It’s amazing the animosity and pushback you receive from collecting this data. The committee was wondering why we were pushing something that people were resisting? We made a decision at that point to change this. We get it that not everyone wants to list out their deals. Starting today, we’re going to look at more holistic volumes and the complexity of deals,” he said. “Moving forward, we’re going to take the burden off the brokers of submitting numbers, and their deals, and really put it on the awards committee. They’ll analyze data and figure out the appropriate winners.”
This year, seven brokers from five area brokerage houses took home top honors in their respective categories. Here’s a look at each of the winners.
The top volume dealmaker of the year in the investment world was Jeff Stingley of CBRE. Stingley had a capstone 2015 year with a total transaction volume of $480 million. But his favorite statistic of the year represents the fact that half of his transactions in 2015 brought a new owner to the market.
“I think it shows the desirability of Kansas City as a market for these guys to place millions of dollars of investment in. They don’t do that lightly. They do due diligence and they like what they see,” Stingley said.
All in all, the Kansas City market saw $950 million in total transaction volume for the year, and because some deals manage to sneak under the rug, he feels completely confident calling Kansas City a billion dollar market. Compare that to cities like Twin Cities, which also had a billion dollar year but is double the size of Kansas City. St. Louis, in comparison, brought in $650 million in deals while Cincinnati saw roughly $350 million.
The retail volume dealmaker of the year went to David Hickman of CBRE, who completed more than 2 million square feet worth of transactions in 2015, including the sale of Metro North Mall and an 88,000-foot-lease with AMC.
“Nothing is accomplished without a great team of coworkers at CBRE KC retail department, and the unbelievable network of talented retail brokers in KC that I shared many transactions with in 2015,” Hickman said in a statement.
In the industrial world, Whitney Kerr Jr. of Cushman & Wakefield took home the award for top volume, having completed some of the largest industrial transactions in the city in 2015.
Greg Swetnam of Kessinger Hunter took home the top volume award for the office category, thanks to his involvement in one of the largest renewals at the Country Club Plaza and in Crown Center.
“As most of us know, it’s all about relationships,” Swetnam said. “We do a lot of transactions, but it’s really a transactional business around a relationship.”
The KCRAR Commercial annual Rookie of the Year award is an award based upon production, community service, ethics, education, and contribution to the local association. The award winner, Matt Ledom of Block Real Estate Services, began his career in 2013 as an investment sales specialist — or as Ken Block calls it, “Probably the hardest thing you can do.” To date, Ledom has been involved in the sale of more than 400,000 square feet of commercial space worth more than $43 million.
But it wasn’t always easy. Ken Block says he and other company leaders would give Ledom pep talks, encouraging him to arrive to work early, leave late, make a lot of calls and relationships, and promised him he’d get the hang of it.
“Let me tell you what I think,” Block said. “The guys that have luck are the people that put themselves in that position by hard work, by dedication, and by being in a place to be lucky. You don’t get lucky if you’re not working. He kept at it with a lot of dedication and I have to tell you, he got lucky.”
The next award on the docket, the Roger Cohen Salesperson of the Year award went to Michael Sonnenberg of NAI LaSala-Sonnenberg Heartland. The criteria is based upon an exceptional record of ethics, cooperation with fellow brokers, contributions to the association. Sonnenberg, a partner with the firm, has served as a commercial realtor in both Kansas City and St. Louis and has been involved in more than $100 million worth of transactions in office, medical office, and retail sales.
Finally, Pat McGannon of Kessinger Hunter took home the Allen J. Block Broker of the Year award. Named in honor of an icon of the local brokerage community, the award highlighted McGannon’s career, which began in 1994 and now entails overseeing the industrial arm of 8 Kessinger Hunter brokers who handle leasing and sales for more than 9 million square feet of industrial properties in the Kansas City area.
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