After 10 years as a top office broker in the Phoenix market, Blake Hastings, 34, was looking to transition from dealmaker to manager. He found that opportunity as the new managing director of CBRE Group’s Minneapolis office, a position he started on Jan. 1. He’s responsible for all of the real estate services firm’s operations in Minnesota and oversees more than 150 real estate professionals.
The Tulsa, Okla., native was most recently a senior vice president at Cassidy Turley/BRE in Phoenix. He has completed more than 800 transactions with a total value of $800 million during his career. While Hastings had never worked in the Twin Cities real estate market, he has local ties. His father-in-law is Pat Ryan, CEO of Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. US Inc., a major developer/builder. Hastings succeeded Whit Peyton, a well-known industry veteran, who stepped down after running the office for more than two decades. Peyton stayed on through the transition and is actively involved in the company’s business development efforts in Minnesota.
Q: You completed 800-plus transactions in Phoenix. What drives you?
A: When I was doing it, I never thought it was that much. We had a great team. We built a great business. We had the benefit of a fast-moving market. Fast-up, and unfortunately in the latter couple of years, fast-down, so with that garners transaction velocity.
Q: Why pursue this CBRE position?
A: I’ve been looking in Minneapolis for opportunities for the past couple of years. Obviously, with the downturn, it has been a little bit more difficult, and really, I’ve been waiting for the perfect job, and this was that.
Q: What makes it the perfect job?
A: I felt like after doing 800 transactions in 10 years, I was looking for a new challenge. … I needed a new passion, and I felt I could use my brokerage and real estate background and become a leader of an organization rather than be a producer. … The switch into management is very exciting for me; it’s an exciting challenge.
Q: Do you miss doing deals?
A: You know, no. I can still get the deal mentality with our teams pursuing business, trying to grow our team here, talking to other producers in the market. It’s a different “deal,” but there’s still that deal-making mentality.
Q: Did you feel that you had big shoes to fill taking over for Whit?
A: They were big shoes to fill. … He has been a great help to me in the transition, so I can be nothing but indebted to him for the help. I’m going to soak up as much from him as I can and then try and put my own twist on it.
Liz Wolf is a freelance writer in Eagan. She can be reached at email@example.com.