Steve Palec, a former senior vice president with the Milwaukee office of CB Richard Ellis and one of the most prominent office real estate brokers in Milwaukee, will become the leader of CresaPartners in Milwaukee.
Palec will be the president and managing principal of CresaPartners in Milwaukee.
Boston-based CresaPartners is a corporate real estate advisory firm that exclusively represents tenants in commercial real estate transactions.
Palec has represented some of the most prominent tenants in major office space deals in Milwaukee including ManpowerGroup, Cramer-Krasselt, GE Healthcare and the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office.
CresaPartners in Milwaukee quietly opened for business early this year. Michael Levine, an attorney and real estate investor and developer, launched the company. The CresaPartners Milwaukee office functions as an independent entity with a relationship to CresaPartners that is similar to an affiliation, but at a higher and more involved level, Levine said.
The addition of Palec provides a major splash for CresaPartners in the Milwaukee commercial real estate market.
“When Steve left CB Richard Ellis we jumped at the opportunity to meet and talk with him,” Levine said. “We really wanted a senior guy to come in and lead our Milwaukee office. Steve will be running the show. We’ve been low on the radar. We’ve done quite a few deals in Milwaukee, but we haven’t been public about them. Now we want to make our presence known.”
Palec worked for The Polacheck Company for years, which was later acquired by CB Richard Ellis. His experience in growing a commercial real estate firm will be valuable for CresaParnters in Milwaukee, Levine said.
“I think he understands how to grow a commercial real estate firm from a small group of guys into a professional, elite team,” Levine said.
Palec declined to comment on the circumstances of him leaving CB Richard Ellis earlier this year. CB Richard Ellis executives could not be reached for comment.
After leaving CB Richard Ellis, Palec said he, “felt like Reggie White in free agency. I had an opportunity to sit down and decide what I wanted to do. This is an opportunity to put my own mark on an organization.”
Palec said he is not bringing any of his clients from CB Richard Ellis over to CresaPartners. He is finishing up deals from clients there but, “those are CB (Richard Ellis) deals,” he said.
Levine said he will stop working on real estate developments once the sale of his properties for the downtown Marriott hotel development are complete and will limit his law practice to focus primarily on CresaPartners. He is a principal with the firm in Milwaukee.
CresaPartners’ philosophy of only representing tenants is an advantage over competitors that represent tenants and landlords, Levine said.
“I see such a value added of being somebody who is the tenant’s sole advocate not concerned about doing business with that landlord (in the future),” he said. “If I’m dealing with somebody that wants to do business (later) with a landlord, how hard are they going to push that landlord? We’re not interested in the landlord or their business. We’re only interested in the tenant’s interest and the tenant’s needs.”