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January 8, 2018 WBJ 2018 Best of Business

NAI Glickman Kovago & Jacobs on the edge of the new Worcester

NAI Glickman handled the sale of 85 Prescott St. in Worcester and now manages all the leasing for the building's owner.
James Glickman
Peter Kovago
Michael Jacobs

At long last, Worcester is the site of true urban revitalization, and on the edge of anticipated projects is a homegrown commercial real estate firm spreading its own wings.

NAI Glickman Kovago & Jacobs started as a one-man show, with founder James Glickman at the helm since 1990. Over the next 25 years, by partnering with other professionals and merging with a global real estate services company, NAI Glickman has grown into a full-service company offering brokerage, property management and construction services.

“A lot of our clients use us for all three,” Glickman said. “That's what differentiates us from other competitors.”

While other major commercial real estate firms do business in Central Massachusetts, NAI Glickman is arguably the most prominent, locally-based company offering a full suite of services. This has landed the NAI Glickman name on the exteriors of key downtown buildings and properties being redeveloped, after decades of little interest from outside investors.

This year, NAI Glickman moved downtown to 1 Mercantile St., to be in the fray, said Glickman. Of late, NAI Glickman has made headlines for its role in attracting a restaurant to the Hanover Theatre, a challenging location because of the perception the theater district hasn't seen the investment necessary to drum up enough foot traffic to support a restaurant, said Troy Siebels, president and CEO of the Hanover Theatre.

NAI Glickman is the broker for retail space at 145 Front St., a mixed-use project that includes 370 luxury apartment units.

Siebels said the theater selected NAI Glickman to land a restaurant tenant because it was representing other key properties nearby and he wanted to leverage interest from their existing leads.

But Michael Jacobs, a principal at NAI Glickman who is heavily involved with downtown dealings at NAI Glickman, had to take a more dogged approach, making calls and sending mailings to restaurateurs throughout New England, over a two-year period. Siebels described NAI Glickman as tireless, and in November, the effort paid off the theatre announced a 1920s-themed restaurant, Josephine, would open at 551 Main St.

“It really is about tenacity and just pushing,” Siebels said, of NAI Glickman's approach.

Two years ago, the owners at NAI Glickman were looking to grow, and found an opportunity to merge with New York City-based NAI Global, the fourth-largest commercial real estate firm in the world, with offices in 55 countries. Now, the firm has branched out to other states, and with 25 employees and 14 brokers, it's ripe for growth.

“There's no ceiling to our opportunity now,” Jacobs said.

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