2017 Commercial Awards!

Columbus REALTORS® held its tenth annual Commercial Awards Banquet on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph. Nearly 200 commercial movers and shakers, supporters and leadership were on hand to applaud the outstanding accomplishments of our 2017 honorees. Pictures from the event.

The evening featured a panel on ‘Why Columbus’ with Keith Bennet, Special Projects & Development Manager, Brew Dog; Doug McIntyre, Founder, Cult Marketing; and Kenny McDonald, President & Chief Economic Officer, Columbus 2020. Nick Fortine, President & Publisher, Columbus Business First, served as moderator.

After dinner and speaker presentations, Tim Maly, 2017 Commercial Recognition Committee Chair, took to the podium to present awards to the following honorees:

2017 Erika Blumenstein Memorial Award

Jim Merkel, NAI Ohio Equities, LLC
Award winner picture

For his professionalism and outstanding commitment to the commercial real estate industry and to the central Ohio community, Jim Merkel, Senior Vice President of NAI Ohio Equities, REALTORS® has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Erika Blumenstein Memorial Award.

Jim has been in the real estate industry for over 45 years and specializes in office, industrial and investment brokerage. He provides value-add, comprehensive real estate services for his clients, whether selling, leasing, buying or managing properties. 

A 1963 graduate of Miami University where he earned a bachelor’s Degree in Business/Finance, Jim also took courses in advanced graduate real estate and finance from The Ohio State University and attended the New York Institute of Finance in New York. 

Jim joined Ohio Equities in 1971 where he has spent his entire brokerage career. He joined Columbus REALTORS® that same year and has served 12 years on the Association’s Budget, Finance and Investment Committee.

He has also served as president of the Columbus Commercial, Industrial and Investment, REALTORS® (CCIIR) and holds the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and the Society of Industrial and Office, REALTORS (SIOR) professional designations.

Earlier in his career, Jim managed the New York office of the Ohio Development Department under Governor James Rhodes. Prior to that, he was a naval officer and is a Vietnam Veteran.

2017 Commercial Rookie of the Year

Derek S. Lichtfuss, Newmark Knight Frank (Continental Realty)
Award winner picture

Derek’s confidence, strong work ethic and sales, recruiting and project management skills makes him an excellent choice for the 2017 Commercial Rookie of the Year Award. 

In just 11 months, Derek completed 20 transactions, consisting of gross square footage in excess of 325,000 and total gross lease/sales volume of more than $13 million. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont where he majored in political science and minored in business administration and recreation management. He also played Division 1 Lacrosse for the university.

Derek has carried over many of his leadership skills honed on the lacrosse field in to his professional life. According to his colleagues, “He’s fiercely competitive, but consistently maintains a level head through any situation.” 

Within months of starting at Newmark Knight Frank, Derek placed in the top three (among 65 plus brokers) in the company in prospecting with 22 meetings set in a quarter.

In addition to his professional life, Derek is head coach of the boy’s lacrosse team at Columbus Academy and spent the previous two years in the same role at Thomas Worthington.

He and his wife, Katie, frequently attend and donate to charity walks, including the Light the Night Walk, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Derek has also helped sponsor the “Shootout for Soldiers” – a 24-hour lacrosse tournament that raises money and awareness for soldiers who are struggling to assimilate back in to society upon their return from abroad.

Derek has become an invaluable team member of Newman Knight Frank. His highest praise comes from his peers, who believe Derek has all the skills needed to have a very successful and lucrative career in commercial real estate. 

2017 Most Unique Transaction Award 
John W. Mally, NAI Ohio Equities, REALTORS®
Award winner picture

Representing Justin McAllister, owner of Fortner, an upholstery and custom furniture manufacturer that has been serving Columbus since 1929, John worked through nine transactions to get this one deal closed.

Fortner had outgrown its 21,000 square foot manufacturing and warehouse space on Johnstown Road and was looking for a minimum of 50,000 square foot facility to accommodate their growth. 

They became intent on the 230,000 square foot complex built by Seagraves Manufacturing in 1890 and occupied by the Jet Container Corrugated Company located at 2000-2060 South High Street. 

Timing became a challenge as the buyer was under contract to sell his existing buildings, but had to wait for Jet Container to disassemble and move their large box manufacturing equipment, and then wait for extensive clean out and renovation prior to move in.

Clean up included an extended due diligence period for environmental testing, soil borings, and the removal of an underground tank. 

Ohio Equities was able to negotiate a three-month lease on the property prior to closing so Fortner Upholstery could renovate a 35,000 square foot work space to maintain their growing production schedule. 

 In this time, the buyer’s two buildings on Johnstown Road were sold and used in a 1031 exchange for a portion of the purchase price and all completed just one month prior to closing. 

This deal included six parcels, six acres of land, multiple structures, a unique courtyard, and closed at the end of June of 2017.

While navigating through the purchase, John Mally was also marketing the available spaces and within months of the closing, finalized leases with five additional companies that would join Fortner in their new complex.  

As a result, this transaction was not only unique, but bringing the Fortner company and the McAllister family to this South High Street Complex has been very energizing to the Southside.

Largest Commercial Transactions –Sale or Lease

2017 Largest Transaction Industrial (sale)
– Rick Trott and Kevin McGrath, CBRE, received this award for the sale of 1,020,255 square foot of industrial building located at 3780 TradePort Court in Columbus. 

2017 Largest Transaction Industrial (lease) - Michael Mullady, Jeff Lyons, Matthew Lehman and Joe Kimener, CBRE, received this award for the lease of 1,142,400 square foot of industrial warehouse/distribution space located at 125 Enterprise Parkway in West Jefferson, Ohio. This transaction between Kellogg’s Sales Company (tenant) and DH West Jefferson, LLC (landlord) closed on Dec. 20, 2017. Award winners picture

2017 Largest Transaction Office (sale)
– Philip Pelok and Don Roberts, CBRE, took home this prize for the $77 million sale from the Blackstone Dublin Portfolio. This transaction, which included nine multistory buildings clustered around interstate 270 in the Dublin market and totaled more than one million square foot of office space, was purchased by RMC Group and closed February 2017. Award winners picture

2017 Largest Transaction Office (lease) – Phil Pelok, Todd Greiner, Greg Thomas, Doug Jackson, Terry Mathews, Bill Whipple and Brandon Ellis, CBRE, received this award for negotiating a deal between DCP2, LP (landlord) and United HealthCare Services (tenant) for the $24.2 million lease of 164,900 square foot of office space at 5900 Parkwood Place in Dublin. Award winners picture

2017 Largest Transaction Multi-Family (sale)
- Paul Schadek, agent with Donald R. Kenney and Company Realty won this award for brokering the $26.2 million sale of an apartment community located in Columbus in March of 2017.  Award winner picture

2017 Largest Transaction Retail (lease) – Steve Siegel and Larry Lehring, Newmark Knight Frank (Continental Realty, LTD), were presented this award for brokering a 27,127 square foot retail lease located within the Lincoln Village Shopping Center at 4740 West Broad Street in Columbus. 

2017 Most Co-op Transactions – Andrew Jameson, Colliers International | Greater Columbus Region, was presented with this award for closing 67 co-op deals with more than 22 different companies last year. Award winner picture

2017 Top Producers

Award winners picture

Brett Cisler, Colliers International; Daniel Dunsmoor, Colliers International; Wayne Harer, Newmark Knight Frank; Andrew Jameson, Colliers International; Matt Lasky, Equity, LLC; Michael Linder, Colliers International; Michael Mullady, CBRE; George Skaff, ARA Newmark; Brent Stamm, Newmark Knight Frank; Patrick Wathen, Equity, LLC; Shane Woloshan, Colliers International; and Joel Yakovac, Colliers International.

This event was organized by the Columbus REALTORS® Commercial Recognition Committee and was made possible by the generous support of our gold, silver, bronze and commercial-affiliate level sponsors:

NAI Ohio Equities

Colliers International
Keller Williams Commercial
Newmark Knight Frank

Carney Ranker Architects 
Christian Capital Group, LLC
Elford Realty, LLC 
Park National Bank 
The Robert Weiler Company 

Taft, Stettinius & Hollister

A special note of thanks goes to Columbus Business First and to Brent Ardit and Rea & Associates for providing its services in determining the 2017 Top Producers.

Pictures from the event