• Thu. Jun 20th, 2024

Industry Veterans Launch VS Real Estate, Ackerberg Group Promotes President, Blackrock Director Joins Buckingham


Apr 21, 2023
Chris Sutton, left, and Carlos Velasquez, right, bring more than 40 years of combined industry experience to their newly formed company. (VSRE)


Prominent South Florida commercial real estate industry veterans Carlos Velasquez and Chris Sutton have created a firm offering development and brokerage services across commercial property types.

VS Real Estate, the full-service commercial real estate firm, was established to serve clients in the industrial, office and multifamily sectors. In their new roles, Velasquez will oversee VSRE’s brokerage services division and Sutton will manage the company’s development services division.

Prior to co-founding VSRE, Velasquez served as executive managing director at Vivo Real Estate Group, a leading industrial real estate brokerage firm in South Florida, where he was integral in the firm’s growth and success over the past two decades. Throughout his career, Velasquez facilitated more than $2.5 billion in commercial real estate transactions.

Sutton most recently served as president of Flagler Global Logistics, a large industrial developer in Florida. During his 10-year tenure, his team completed more than 50 industrial buildings totaling 11 million square feet and valued at $2.2 billion. Under his leadership, Flagler garnered numerous industry awards, including the prestigious NAIOP Developer of the Year.

In 2020, the partners arranged CenterPoint’s acquisition of four fully leased warehouses totaling 1.5 million square feet at Countyline Corporate Park, which represented one of the largest commercial real estate transactions recorded during the pandemic. They also collaborated on Terreno’s strategic investment into Countyline Corporate Park over the past two years, which included seven fully leased warehouses totaling 1.3 million square feet and 120 acres of undeveloped land with entitlements for an additional 2.2 million square feet of development.

Sutton, a U.S. Army veteran and West Point graduate who began his commercial real estate career with the Staubach Co., is transitioning Flagler’s development team to VSRE.

“As we evolve beyond the Flagler umbrella, we are excited to launch VSRE and offer the marketplace access to one of Florida’s most trusted commercial real estate development teams,” Sutton said in a corporate statement announcing the move. “With a proven track record of delivering world-class development projects on time and within budget, we are committed to maintaining excellence and eager to continue our legacy of success under this new venture.”

VSRE launched with 13 employees in Miami and a client list that includes CenterPoint Properties, Graham Cos., J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Link Logistics, Lucky Property Management, Peter Lawrence Co., Seagis Property Group, Sunbeam Properties and Terreno Realty Corp. Its portfolio spans more than 12 million square feet of leasing assignments, including The Americas Gateway Park, Countyline Corporate Park, Miami Lakes Business Park, Miramar Park of Commerce and South Florida Logistics Center.

In addition, VSRE is currently working on the development of 3 million square feet of commercial space, including the final phase of undeveloped land at Countyline Corporate Park.

Jackie Knight

The Ackerberg Group has promoted Jackie Knight to president of the Minneapolis-based boutique real estate investment and fund management firm. In her expanded role, Knight will run the company and oversee day-to-day operations.

Knight joined Ackerberg in 2011 as a director of property management and was promoted to senior managing director in 2014 before ascending to the role of chief operating officer in 2020.

During her tenure with the firm, Knight co-led the launch, capital raise and management of multiple investment funds totaling $100 million in equity to date and over 40 acquisitions and dispositions, in addition to creating and implementing company-wide programs tied to compensation, values alignment, professional development, sustainability initiatives, health-focused employee programming and community engagement.

Knight is active in the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers, Minnesota Shopping Center Association, Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Women, Institute of Real Estate Management’s national governing council, NAIOP’s national entrepreneurial investment and development forum, Urban Land Institute America’s NEXT steering committee and the National Urban Revitalization Council.

Benjamin Young

Buckingham, a national real estate development and investment company, appointed Benjamin J. Young as chief investment officer and managing director.

In his new role, Young will head the company’s asset management and investment divisions as the firm expands its institutional capital raising, client engagement and investment performance in the multifamily and urban mixed-use real estate sectors across U.S. Midwest and Sun Belt markets.

Young has over three decades of experience at some of the world’s largest private equity real estate firms, including Blackrock, where he served as a managing director for nine years and as a senior member of its $100 billion real assets group. As head of Blackrock’s U.S. real estate private equity business, he was responsible for the growth and management of $11 billion in investments.

Before that, Young was a managing director at Strategic Value Partners, a $17 billion private equity and hedge fund focused on distressed debt, and as a global portfolio manager at Deutsche Bank/Bankers Trust, where he oversaw $7 billion in gross real estate assets and capital raising. He began his career at Kidder Peabody & Co. as a financial analyst in its real estate group. Young holds an MBA in finance from Columbia Business School at Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance and real estate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Imbrogno

Michael Imbrogno has joined Cresa as a principal with the national tenant rep company in its Charlotte, North Carolina, office.

In his new role, Imbrogno will continue representing both local and national occupiers in the office, medical, retail and franchising industries throughout the Carolinas.

Imbrogno brings more than 12 years of industry experience in leasing, sales and development, most recently as an associate director at Mohr Partners. Throughout his career, Imbrogno has completed over 350 real estate transactions around the globe.

Sarah Mueller

Sarah Mueller has been promoted to national director of the Beck Group’s healthcare team.

In her expanded role, Mueller will oversee the group planning, designing and building hospitals, medical centers and other healthcare facilities across the country.

Mueller joined the firm in 2019 and most recently handled Beck’s national healthcare market strategy and new business. She has more than two decades of experience in hospital design, having held several senior-level positions at national design firms and healthcare companies, including The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, where she managed capital architecture and construction projects as administrative director.

Chris Jantz, left, and Scott Isacksen

Chris Jantz and Scott Isacksen have joined Kidder Mathews as senior vice presidents in the firm’s Phoenix office.

In their new roles, the team will continue to specialize in office leasing and sales, with a focus on landlord and tenant representation in the Phoenix, Scottsdale and Southeast Valley markets.

Jantz and Isacksen bring 25 years of experience in commercial real estate. Before joining Kidder Mathews, they were a top-producing team at Cushman & Wakefield and collectively have completed over 12 million square feet of office sales and leasing transactions for a client list that includes Forest Logistics, Post Integrations, Maricopa Ambulance, Gateway Academy Schools and Applied Biologics.

Paul Donahue

National commercial real estate finance company Greystone has hired Paul Donahue as a managing director in the firm’s Boston office.

In his new role, Donahue will continue to focus on advising clients with debt solutions across a range of asset types throughout the country.

Donahue brings more than 35 years of real estate capital markets experience, most recently as a senior vice president at Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, where he assisted pension fund advisers, family office, affordable housing sponsors and institutional clients. Before that, he held similar roles at CBRE, Berkshire Mortgage Finance and Krubb Realty. He holds an MBA from Darden School at the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard.

John Colussi

Institutional Property Advisors, a division of Marcus & Millichap, has hired retail investment adviser John “JP” Colussi as a senior director in the firm’s Philadelphia office.

“The expansion of IPA’s retail division continues to be a top priority,” said Daniel Taub, senior vice president and national retail director, in a corporate statement. “The addition of JP adds depth to our nationwide roster of experienced advisers and provides investors in the Philadelphia metropolitan area with a local market expert who can offer timely, actionable insights.”

Colussi joins IPA from MSC Retail, where he ran the investment sales division. During his eight years as a retail investment specialist, Colussi has completed more than 8.3 million square feet of retail sales valued at more than $1.5 billion.

Angie Trosper

CoStar’s People of Note is a national column published each Friday covering the latest personnel moves in the commercial real estate industry. Send new executive hires and promotion announcements to

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