Page 21 - RENJ June 2021
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 for three years before joining CBRE’s Saddle Brook office to launch his career as a broker.
Admittedly, the ensuing 24 months were somewhat unsettling for Didio Jr., who recalled the awkwardness of “sitting at a dinner table with my father, my mother and my siblings when I knew that for some time I was trying to call on my father’s clients and do business with them, while they’re doing business with him.”
But it also meant he was all the more experienced and well-rounded by the time he joined JLL in June 2020. With positions in lending, private equity and brokerage, Didio Jr. feels he has “built a foundation for what I’m doing now, whether it’s with my father or with other people in the company around the country,” and believes he has much to offer.
He added that JLL’s broad overall platform “was just a big selling point” for joining the firm, citing its “ability to access alternative sources of capital” such as correspondent life insurance lenders.
“I think my prior business dealings in real estate on the debt and equity side has had a focus primarily in the (multifamily) space,” he said. “And
I think that is an area where our office — New Jersey, the New York metro and the Northeast — can grow over the next couple of years and I’m happy to try to add some value.”
That knowledge has proved especially useful since he joined JLL, as multifamily has remained one of the most resilient asset classes during the pandemic. He noted that “the debt markets are hungry to put out capital” for apartments as well as industrial assets. The team has also completed deals for grocery-anchored retail and office properties — albeit on a more selective basis — but has stayed busy during the COVID crisis.
The Didios have in fact worked together on several of those transactions, including a recent $48 million loan for a 240-unit multifamily development in Elmwood Park.
Still, Didio Sr. noted that the office has eight professionals that work interchangeably in groups of two or three, depending on the project.
“We just have a good group of guys here that know what they’re doing,” he said.
The elder Didio — who has two other children, a daughter who works for a startup in New York City and a son who is pursuing a Ph.D. in gravitational physics — said he doesn’t know of another father-son duo that works together in the brokerage business. Multigenerational firms are far more common on the ownership side, he said, including many JLL clients in New Jersey.
Didio Jr. said the commission-based brokerage business, with no physical assets to pass down and no recurring stream of income, is thus more reliant
on trust and relationships.
“That doesn’t assure me anything in terms of success in the industry,” he said. “This is a different animal, a different side of the business that we’re excited to tackle together.”
Naturally, Didio Jr. has learned
much from his father and the other senior leaders in JLL’s New Jersey capital markets office, including the importance of “treating the lows as well as you can but also not getting too high when things are good as well.”
Didio Sr. knows that it goes both ways, pointing to the younger
professionals in the office who have shown themselves to be nimble and creative in their approach with clients. That includes not only his own son, but fellow debt and equity brokers Matthew Pizzolato and Max Custer.
“They do things a different way than the more seasoned guys in our office,” he said. “And it’s just great to listen to them and to understand how they go about things — and to try to maybe help them with a little direction here and there — but they’re very good at what they do and they actually teach me more than I teach them.” RE
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