Julien J. Studley, the soft-spoken New Yorker who helped shake up Atlanta’s commercial brokerage community in the late 1990s, died suddenly this week. He was 88.
From a humble beginning in Belgium, Studley created a tenant-rep-only powerhouse that went from 0 to 60 mph in May 1997 when it launched its Atlanta office with all-star brokers Patrick Duffy, Bert Sanders, the Kercher brothers, Andy Lechter and Frank Quatro.
Studley showed that a firm not know outside of the Northeast could come down South and establish a beachhead using other firm’s stars. No way this spooked him, given what he did in Europe as Hitler’s forces kicked off their sinister Blitzkrieg. Here’s how Studley told the story to me:
Growing up during World War II in Belgium, 13-year-old Julien — who had earned a Red Cross travel pass as a Boy Scout — hopped on his bicycle and helped sneak his family into France at a time when the French banned Belgian refugees. Secretly escorting his family past a checkpoint as German soldiers took over his homeland didn’t seem to faze him.
“When you’re 13 years old, it’s almost like kind of an event,” he said of his family scurrying from Belgium to stay one step ahead of the invading Nazis. “I know it’s probably bad to say, but I almost had a good time. I wasn’t really aware of the risks.”
Studley’s Atlanta office itself was raided by Newmark when its established its office in Atlanta. I’m sure Studley had no hard feelings, though, it probably hurt him personally when some of his closest business partners left to join Jimmy Kuhn and Barry Goslin.