Hawaii’s ChaneyBrooks rebrands under new Cushman & Wakefield affiliation

The Honolulu-based firm officially rebranded on Sunday, the day after its contract with NAI Global expired after a 10-year affiliation.

Hawaii commercial real estate firm ChaneyBrooks has rebranded as Cushman & Wakefield ChaneyBrooks under a new alliance agreement with the global real estate company and plans to hire about a dozen new brokers over the next year as it expands to all the Neighbor Islands.

The Honolulu-based firm officially rebranded on Sunday, the day after its contract with NAI Global expired after a 10-year affiliation.

ChaneyBrooks President Steve Sombrero and Managing Director Joe Haas spent the weekend in Orlando, Florida, at a Cushman & Wakefield gathering where they were introduced to the company.

Haas, former managing partner of CBRE in Hawaii, told Pacific Business News in an exclusive interview last week that ChaneyBrooks will remain a locally owned company — Sombrero owns the firm — able to service clients on a local level with access to Cushman & Wakefield’s global network and best practices.

It will be the first full-time Hawaii presence for Cushman & Wakefield, which has partnered with Sofos Realty Corp. and Hawaii Commercial Real Estate on specific deals. ChaneyBrooks currently has offices in Honolulu and on Kauai and Guam.

“It’s a priority for our firm to have a strong presence in dynamic markets where Cushman & Wakefield does not currently have a wholly owned presence,” Mike Smith, president of Cushman & Wakefield’s West Region, said in a statement.

“With a shared vision of outstanding service, Cushman & Wakefield ChaneyBrooks brings an enhanced competitive edge to both our local and global clients in Hawaii and Guam who will benefit from Cushman & Wakefield’s global network and ChaneyBrooks’ local knowledge respectively.
— Mike Smith, president of Cushman & Wakefield’s West Region

Haas said that ChaneyBrooks, which was founded in 1958 by Aaron Chaney, has “the local touch here.”

We are a local company serving our community for 60 years, and we know how to do real estate in a way that Hawaii clients want real estate done,” he said. “We’re going to give our clients the benefit of a global platform just like the best global platform in the world yet we’re going to deliver the real estate services to them just the way they want to receive them.

The Hawaii firm will also gain the recognition of an internationally known commercial real estate firm, which will help grow the business Sombrero has cultivated in Asia, particularly in Japan and Korea.

Sombrero said the relationship with NAI Global, which began in 2007, helped build that business.

We were with them for 10 years, and they did help us quite a bit,” he told PBN. “Prior to that we were ChaneyBrooks & Co, a Hawaii company, and I think because of the NAI Global affiliation, we were able to walk in to our international clients’ offices and receive their trust that we can deliver cross-culture, cross-market transactions.

But NAI Global, which is an affiliation of independently owned commercial real estate firms, did not have the same brand recognition as Cushman & Wakefield, which, by most measures, is the second-largest firm in the United States; CBRE is regarded as the largest.

“We had to explain who NAI Global was, that was one of our challenges,” Sombrero said. “But today when you say Cushman & Wakefield, people know who you’re talking about.”

Sombrero said the brand recognition will be important in growing business with Chinese investors, who want to know how long a company has been in business.

“When you say you’re a 100-plus year old company, that’s an immediate benefit to the Chinese,” he said. “They believe that the longer you’ve been around, the smarter you are, the more well-established you are and the more qualified you are.”

The company expects to hire about 12 new brokers over the next year as it expands.
ChaneyBrooks, which has a large property management business on Kauai, is expanding to Maui this month with management contracts for a shopping center in Lahaina and an office building in Wailuku. The new Maui office will also service the Big Island, starting with a management contract in Kona.

“Then we’re going to grow those businesses,” Haas said. “We’re going to dominate this market, that’s the plan.”