Date established: 2005
Number of brokers: 11
Joseph McLaughlin took an alternate route to becoming a brokerage owner.
Prior to founding Capstone Realty Advisors in 2005, McLaughlin was running delivery company Gotham Courier. The State University of New York Oneonta graduate with a business degree founded the courier company in 1998, five years after working for another delivery company in Manhattan.
When he worked with a broker to find office space for his courier company at 555 Eighth Avenue, he realized that he could become a broker. So he sold his business to rival Breakaway Courier.
“I like sales, I knew Manhattan very well, and I had a lot of contacts in Manhattan. It was an easy transition for me,” McLaughlin said.
He went to work for Kaufman Organization in 2000 as a leasing agent. His first deal involved relocating a company to 1,500 square feet in Kaufman’s 450 Seventh Avenue from 1 Penn Plaza, he said. After four years, McLaughlin then went to work for Newmark & Co. (now Newmark Knight Frank) in 2004.
The following year, he finally partnered with a college buddy and fellow broker Jack Wynne to form Capstone. (Wynne left the business in 2008.)
The firm has been focused on commercial deals for tenants ranging from 2,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet since its inception. It also has represented landlords and dabbles in investment sales.
The company completed about 50 transactions last year and has already done 29 this year. That includes representing game company Atari; McLaughlin and colleague Matthew Geery brokered the deal for the company to relocate to a 5,672-square-foot space at 286 Madison Avenue in June, leaving 475 Park Avenue South.
McLaughlin also did a deal in May to bring branding and design firm Donovan/Green to 49 West 37th Street. The company took the entire 6,800-square-foot 15th floor of the building.
While the firm has grown since its earliest days to 11 brokers, in 2014 it had as many as 20 brokers (in 2014). But McLaughlin thinks the team is stronger now.
“We have been larger than 12 people, but I think this year we are slated to have probably our best year,” he said. “Having more people doesn’t equate to the company billing more or being more profitable. I think it’s the quality of the people [that matters].”. —L.L.G.