John C. Cushman, III

Cushman Realty Corp.

Age: 56

Specialty: Commercial Brokerage Services, Tenant Representation

Recent Deals: Representing Fluor Corp. in its 550,000-square-foot world headquarters lease in Aliso Viejo.

Five generations of his family had made their mark in real estate. So when John C. Cushman III decided to keep doing what had become a family tradition, he had a lot to live up to.

Cushman has not only lived up to the family name but has blazed his own trail. In 1978, Cushman, along with his twin brother, Louis B. Cushman, founded Cushman Realty Corp. Since that time, he has established a reputation as one of the premiere tenant-side brokers in the world.

"He is my real estate hero," said Bill Boyd, senior vice president at CB Commercial Real Estate Group Inc. "No one individual has had more of an impact in the real estate market than John."

His portfolio of deal-making is vast: In the late '80s, he negotiated what still stands as the largest lease transaction in history, obtaining 4 million square feet for Merrill Lynch's world headquarters in Manhattan.

Last year, he negotiated the country's largest lease, dollarwise, placing PaineWebber in 600,000 square feet in New York a deal valued at more than $600 million. Also last year, Cushman negotiated the largest lease in California, in square footage a 600,000 square-foot lease for AT & T; in Pleasanton.

Doing deals across the country translates into some serious frequent flier mileage. Cushman chalks up about 6,000 to 8,000 miles a week, a rate he says he has kept up for the past 20 years. In one sample week, Cushman took a flight to Orlando, two separate flights to New York and a quick jaunt to Colorado Springs, Colo.

"I'm having more fun today than ever," he said. "Every minute, every day is a challenge. The thing I like is understanding the complexities of a big deal, with lots of moving parts and no obvious solutions." Cushman especially enjoys the challenges of New York City which, with 446 million square feet of office space, is the "ultimate location to test your skills," he said.

A seventh generation Cushman has also found New York and real estate to his liking. One of Cushman's four sons is keeping the tradition alive, working as a broker at Rockefeller Center.

Lisa Steen Proctor

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