Prior to founding Odyssey Retail Advisors, Richard Johnson created Johnson Retail, the forerunner of Odyssey. Rich’s vast experience of both in house running a real estate department for a powerful ensemble of retail tenants and consulting for both tenants and landlords is unparalleled in the retail real estate field. His expertise has made him a sought-after consultant, guest lecturer and advisor.
Rich is assisting Crown Acquisitions in the planning, leasing and merchandising of the retail space at the Wynn Las Vegas, wherein the span of 12 months he led the lease up of an 80,000 square foot expansion, as well as WS Development of Boston Seaport and The Royal Poinciana in Palm Beach. Rich has consulted for brands such as Burberry, Stella McCartney, Sergio Rossi, Clarins and many others.
Prior to consulting, Rich was recruited by Kering (then known as PPR), for a newly created role as head of real estate – Americas. In this role, he oversaw the group’s portfolio of real estate for North and South America, performing all site selection, market research and negotiation for the entire portfolio of brands, including Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta. In addition to retail, the role included servicing the group’s office and industrial real estate needs, and most importantly, finding savings through oversight and maintenance of the real estate portfolio.
Prior to Kering, Rich was a practicing real estate attorney and then a consultant at a boutique tenant representation firm, assisting a variety of retail clients including Vince, Lacoste, and Faconnable, throughout the US and Canada, in a wide variety of formats.
Rich is a member of the New York State Bar, with a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law and a B.A. in History from the State University of New York at Geneseo. He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, has lectured at the NYU Schack Conference on Capital Markets in Real Estate and is a frequent guest lecturer on retail real estate at Fordham School of Law.
Charlie Koniver is a retail real estate specialist with 15 years experience who has helped guide some of the world’s leading luxury brands through their real estate strategy and implementation. In 2019, Charlie and Richard Johnson co-founded Odyssey Retail Advisors – a company created to specialize in retail real estate advisory services both on the landlord and tenant side of the business. The intent and focus will specifically be in the luxury, high end contemporary space. Since its inception in 2019, Odyssey Retail Advisors has added several key members in an effort to further enhance their teams experience and professionalism.
In 2014, prior to founding Odyssey, Charlie was recruited by Richemont, one of the world’s leading luxury groups, to create their first ever in house real estate department for North America. The focal point of his role was to oversee all real estate related activity on behalf of the brands in Richemont’s portfolio. Most notably, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vacheron Constantin, Panerai, Montblanc, A. Lange & Sohne, IWC, Piaget, Alaia and Chloe. It was here where Charlie became an industry expert in North America’s most prolific high streets and shopping centers.
Leading up to his experience at Richemont, Charlie worked with Rich Johnson at Kering – another one of the worlds leading luxury groups. While at Kering, Charlie was tasked with assisting Rich in overseeing the real estate related activity for the Kering brands in North & South America. In addition to guiding the likes of Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Tomas Maier, Brioni, Girard Perregaux along with Puma & Volcom in North America, given his ability to speak fluent Spanish, Charlie successfully completed transactions on behalf of a handful of the groups brands in hyper challenging South American markets.
Prior to his luxury group experiences, Charlie worked for Thor Equities, one of New York’s leading landlord and developers. During this time, Charlie was part of the initial group that created Thor Retail Advisors, a subsidiary of Thor Equities, Inc, handling representation of leading tenants, in NYC and Nationally.
Following an NCAA soccer career and attaining his degree from American University, Charlie went on to play professionally, coincidentally in his hometown of Miami. Shortly after, he began his Real Estate career initially as a broker for Colliers International and then as a leasing representative for Equity One, Inc, a publicly traded REIT. He is also a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Rick Strauss is a retail real estate professional with a 33-year record of leading complex portfolios and executing deals that result in exceptional merchandising and revenue. His career includes the pre-leasing of 29 shopping centers across the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia, with a deep history in the luxury segment. His leadership has included launching and grooming the careers of over 60 real estate professionals along the way.
Rick joined Odyssey in 2020 as the Managing Partner of Odyssey’s landlord advisory business, wherein he oversees all activities related to our developer clients. Odyssey is rapidly growing the reach of the Landlord work with project visioning, merchandising and marketing strategies, as well as the day to day execution of deals.
Prior to joining Odyssey Retail Advisors, he was the Executive Vice President of Leasing for The Howard Hughes Corporation, where he lead the company’s retail leasing efforts across the US. Mr. Strauss directed the execution of leases from the Seaport District, New York City to Ward Village in Hawaii. Mr. Strauss successfully diversified the commercial core of the portfolio, continuously seeking out and acquiring world renowned tenants creating uniquely desirable shopping destinations.
Mr. Strauss’s successful track record includes time at the Westfield Corporation, having managed leasing for the Eastern half of the US portfolio and all luxury leasing throughout their worldwide portfolio. Rick worked on projects including Westfield World Trade Center, Garden State Plaza, Valley Fair, Century City and the pre-development of Westfield Milano.
The largest and arguably most impactful portion of Rick’s career was at The Taubman Company and their portfolio of super regional shopping centers for twenty years, bringing luxury pre-leasing to an entirely new level. At the Crystals at City Center in Las Vegas, he successfully pre-leased space to dozens of luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Hermes, Christian Dior, and many, many others. In addition and concurrently to his work in the US, Rick was integral in creating luxury shopping venues globally including Studio City, Macau China; IFC Mall, Seoul South Korea and The Mall of San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Prior to joining Odyssey Retail Advisors, Daniel focused on tenant and landlord leasing representation for GLA Real Estate. Daniel represented the Atlanta Braves in their $1.3B mixed-use, ground up development The Battery Atlanta, and helped secure deals with Silverspot Cinema, Punch Bowl Social, The VOID, Ph’east Asian Food Hall, Pepper Boxing, Mizzen+Main, and others, in addition to helping Garden & Gun Magazine and Mizuno with their initial retail launch of the Mizuno Experience Center and the Garden & Gun Club. Daniel also consulted with Acadia Realty Trust’s leasing and acquisitions teams to create value in their nationwide urban high street portfolio in Manhattan, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, and Savannah.
Prior to GLA Real Estate, Daniel worked for Michael Kors. As the company grew from 40 to 400+ global retail locations, Daniel’s role evolved as he implemented multiple large-scale projects, lead change management initiatives, and guided cross-functional partnerships across multiple business units in the North American, European, and Japanese offices. This role required Daniel to partner with executive teams to evaluate and improve the full value chain during the company’s accelerated growth cycle as a private and public organization. Large-scale projects were implemented in the merchandising, planning, allocations, web, omnichannel, distribution center, logistics, and information technology areas. Previously, he had worked in a planning and allocation role for all in-house and licensed product categories within the runway, full price, and outlet divisions for the American and European offices.
Daniel is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and has a B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Business Administration from Furman University and has attended the Consortium Institute of Management and Business Analysis in Italy.
As a nationally recognized leader in the field of retail real-estate and place-making, Liz McLay is known for her balance of creativity and strategy. Her breadth of experience leading the leasing for Mall or America and Brookfield Midwest has given her a broad platform of experience in bringing together landlords and tenants to create sustainable projects where people gather to work, learn, laugh, shop and dine. Caring for the future of our environment and retail landscape, Liz is an advisor and broker to mission-based ventures.
As the SVP of Real Estate Leasing at Mall of America, Liz McLay led the team that developed and leased the largest (5.6 MM SF) collection of luxury, flagship, and first-to-market retailers in the nation, generating over $1B in sales, 42MM visitors annually and connecting thousands of brands.
Previously, as the Vice President, Retail Leasing at Brookfield Properties, she drove the strategic re-positioning of 1.3M SF of urban, street-front retail assets and over $80MM in redevelopment capital across a tri-state region of Denver, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.
Liz’s mission is to create connections, building holistic retail environments known for their contribution to communities and return on investment.
Liz sits on the Board of the University of Minnesota’s College of Design and Retail Merchandising Program, is a Mentor/Advisor to the Carlson School of Business, MN CUP finalists and is Secretary of the Board for NASA Challenger Space Center of MN.
Liz holds a Bachelor and Masters of Science from Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration.
Prior to joining Odyssey Retail Advisors, Gabriel focused on Tenant Representation at Crown Retail Services. During his tenure at Crown, Gabriel successfully represented Inditex’s Bershka in their first ever U.S store in SoHo, Daniel Crémieux at Hudson Yards, Christian Louboutin in New York and Toronto, as well as A Bathing Ape in their national expansion efforts.
Having grown up in Paris, France, Gabriel’s biculturalism has proven to be an asset in advising European retailers wishing to enter the North American retail landscape.
Prior to working at Crown, Gabriel worked alongside the developers of the Marin Country Mart in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he was exposed to the development facet of the industry. Gabriel has also worked in various roles at Christian Louboutin in their New York City and Paris corporate offices, assisting in Press, Wholesale and Retail Operations.
Armed with first hand understanding of a luxury retailer’s needs, Gabriel has joined Odyssey to further assist global brands with their retail leasing endeavors.
Geoffrey Smith is an experienced international retail commercial real estate expert, with over 17 years’ experience. Geoffrey possesses extensive knowledge in retail new project/development leasing, distressed property leasing strategies and marketing strategies to secure diverse retail brand mixes. Extensive retailer knowledge and an awareness of global retail activity enables Mr. Smith to capitalize on emerging trends and opportunities in the shopping mall industry. Most recently Geoffrey was tasked with retail redevelopment in Panama surrounding the Hard Rock Hotel.
Geoffrey joined Odyssey in 2020, following a his experience working on the development of the Megapolis Hard Rock Hotel, Convention Center, Megapolis Complex and Shopping Mall, in Panama City, Panama, where he led the team in the redevelopment plan and repositioning of 650,000 square feet including department stores, casino, entertainment across 300 retail units.
Prior to his time in Panama, Geoffrey was the Leasing Director – Retail Development, Marketing, Leasing & Specialty Leasing for the Mall of Qatar, where he was responsible for pre-leasing of the center up until its opening. In this position Geoffrey completed leases for 110 food & beverage outlets, family entertainment retailers as well as a full range of retail shops & kiosks, including La Duree, Bulgari and Valentino.
Geoffrey started his real estate career with Grubb & Ellis in California, where he balanced his work between tenant representation and agency leasing, wherein he completed transactions on over a million square feet in leasing assignments and four shopping center developments.
Prior to his entry into real estate, Geoffrey spent several formative years living in Paris and mentored by a buyer from Galleries Layette to working in fashion in Manhattan for companies like Bergdorf Goodman, it was clear that his experiences and knowledge of fashion and retail would continually be an asset in his career.
Geoffrey earned his BA from the University of Southern California and his Masters in Real Estate Finance and Investment/Global Development at NYU’s Schack Real Estate Institute. He remains active with the alumni associations and industry professionals he met during his studies.
Evan is a real estate professional with a background in finance, development and asset management. He has been a lifelong resident of New York and has forged many friendships and working relationships in the fashion, design, and beauty industries.
Prior to Odyssey, Evan founded Trifecta Property Group where he was an operating principal. Evan syndicates and leads the rehabilitation or ground-up development strategies for multifamily apartment buildings, mixed- used investment buildings, retail buildings, industrial properties, townhouses, and single-family residences. Evan managed a real estate investment portfolio with over 550 residential units, 60 retail units, and a value above $270 million. Evan had a wide range of responsibilities at Trifecta including the arrangement of a wide variety of financial products and loans for a group of syndicated investors. He has also project managed multi-unit developments, undertook raw material bidding procedures, and liaised with NYC’s varying agencies for all development projects and managing agent roles.
Evan is also an operating manager for the ground-up construction of a 19.6MW solar farm, the second largest in Long Island, NY. He decided the best monetization strategy and participated in the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) procurement and bid process with the utility company, where he and his partners achieved a KWh price that has remained superior to pricing trends. Evan also negotiated operating agreement terms with joint venture construction partners, modeled project cash flows and construction costs using complex assumptions such as depreciation schedules, optimal production scenarios, and solar irradiance and degradation factors. Evan also facilitated the sale of Federal Solar Investment Tax Credits (ITC) to institutional investors.
Prior to founding Trifecta Evan was in corporate finance where he served the energy, power, metals and mining industry. He began his career at Deloitte in real estate capital markets consulting where he structured CMBS bonds and transitioned to the energy group at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation after the ’08 recession.
Evan graduated Summa Cum Laude and with honors from the NYU Stern School of Business where he studied finance and marketing. Evan has been a licensed New York State Real Estate Broker for over 5 years.