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Engel & Völkers has announced the launch of its first yachting shop in the Americas.

Paul Benson, license partner of more than 27 Engel & Völkers real estate shops in Utah, California and Nevada, will oversee the newly established yachting business in Newport Beach, Calif., which comes as the result of a partnership with Walter Johnson and Leeann Iacino of Walter Johnson Yachts. Johnson, an accomplished sailor with more than 30 years of industry experience, will serve as president and continue to lead day-to-day operations of the business, focusing on client service, talent attraction sales and growth. Iacino, with a professional background in both real estate service and yachting, will serve as chief operating officer with a focus on marketing and operational support for the Newport Beach location.

“This is a tremendous milestone for our growth in the Americas,” says Anthony Hitt, president and CEO, Engel & Völkers Americas. “We’ve seen the value for our clientele by offering both luxury real estate and yachting services, which very much complement one another. This also opens exciting new referral opportunities for our global real estate network and strengthens the portfolio of offerings to our clients in the Americas and abroad.”

Engel & Völkers Yachting has been a leader in servicing the Mediterranean since 2007 and provides comprehensive services related to buying, selling and chartering yachts, including slips and moorings, yacht management, servicing, shipping and owner experience. In 2018, Engel & Völkers Yachting successfully brokered the luxury yacht “Regina” featured in the James Bond film “Skyfall.”

Currently operating out of the Engel & Völkers Newport Beach real estate shop, this Engel & Völkers Yachting location boasts eight advisors, with plans for expansion in the near future. This shop is the newest addition to the brand’s existing locations in the yachting hubs of Monaco and Antibes in the South of France.

“There was no yachting brand in the Americas with the reputation and ability to service both new and resale boats at all levels, which presented a huge untapped market opportunity for Engel & Völkers,” says Benson. “Yachting has traditionally been an insular, niche community, on a global scale. Engel & Völkers’ brand recognition and esteemed heritage opens up this new opportunity to our clients in the closely adjacent luxury real estate market with the added value we bring as a known quantity with a reputation for attention to detail and the highest level of service.”

Johnson remains a competitive sailor in addition to his business role, which fuels his passion for yachting, and Iacino, a real estate professional for the last 30 years, has seen the fluidity between the yachting and real estate industry garner strong referrals and strengthen business offerings.

“We believe wholeheartedly that yachting is a people-first business,” says Johnson. “We’re not just selling boats; we’re helping our clients to achieve their dreams and create memories that will last a lifetime. It was Engel & Völkers’ like-minded business ethos that initially drew us to the brand, and we feel the time is right to introduce a fresh approach to modern yachting to the market in Newport Beach. It’s not about waiting and hoping for clients to find you; it’s about being proactive and understanding what a client is looking for, before they have to ask. The power of the Engel & Völkers global network, the tools and resources they provide and the familiarity of a brand name known for luxury will help us meet this need in the market and take our business to the next level.”

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