Hartford’s Dean Of Commercial Real Estate Retires

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After 53 years in the local commercial real estate business, Bill Farley figures it’s time to retire.

“It feels good to retire and look back on a great run,” Farley told me, after his retirement from CBRE/NE was announced at the firm’s annual commercial real estate market outlook conference in downtown Hartford.



Farley, 77, got his start in the business in 1961 and founded his own company, The Farley Cos. in 1968. The Farley Cos. prospered as an independent commercial real estate brokerage for nearly the next three decades until it merged with Whittier Partners of Boston in 1994.

Three years later, the firm merged with CB Commercial and the Farley name faded away from the marquee. But Farley retained an active, vital role and was long acknowledged as the foremost forecaster from Greater Hartford real estate trends.

Farley also honed a high profile in the Hartford community, leading efforts involving education, poverty, spiritual issues and the health and welfare of the city’s residents.

Friday, Farley said he has seen Hartford’s “ups and downs over the years and that will continue.” But Farley said he believes the most recent wave of redevelopment involving housing and the move of the University of Connecticut to downtown Hartford will make a change that will be long-term and lasting.

Jeffrey Livingston, managing director of CBRE/NE’s Hartford office, praised Farley’s contributions to the commercial real estate industry.

“One of Bill’s great strengths is his ability to reinvent himself,” said Jeffrey M. Livingston, managing director of CBRE/NE’s Hartford office, told me. “He was able to adapt to change.”

For instance, Livingston said Farley embraced the changes that came in the Internet age and the ever-quickening pace of doing business.

“Some people in their 60s, 70s don’t do that,” Livingston said.

Farley said he still will still remain active in the local community. Farley and his wife, Ruth, will be spending more time in Florida and Vermont and with their eight children and 18 grandchildren.

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