It must be the season for real estate companies to reallocate, relocate and revamp their line-ups and strategies. At least two companies made real estate history this month.
Take ERA Shields Real Estate’s recent acquisition of Stuart Scott Ltd, for example.
Bill Hurt began his career as a broker with Cres and Mary Shields during 1996 and went on to buy the company. Stuart Scott opened his brokerage during 1977 in southwest Colorado Springs.
Through the years, both men earned a reputation for their public spiritedness and for treating their employees and clients well. Kindred spirits in many ways, their recent decision to combine operations and to work out of ERA Shields’ Rockrimmon and Cheyenne Mountain offices made sense to both.
While the current economy has forced several companies to re-evaluate how to trim their operations and maintain market share, this seemed to be a “marriage made in heaven,” based on compatible business philosophies and mutual respect.
Hoff & Leigh Real Estate is in an expansion mode — rare news during today’s flagging commercial real estate market.
In fact, Holly and R.D. Trinidad, along with Chris and Rob Smith, are forging new ground and building an entirely new business model based on franchising. Their first franchisee, Tommy Franjesh, is opening an office in Akron, Ohio, next month.
To launch their concept, the partners contributed time, talent and yes, some money (that included H&L co-founder Tim Leigh). In return, they are counting on the scalability of “backend” support systems for broker/managers — access to online contracts, marketing input and technology — so a new operation can get up and running with little upfront cost. The group expects to grow their franchise network to at least five affiliates within the next six months — and 50 offices nationwide within five years.
“The next cities we’re targeting are San Antonio and Austin, Texas, Salt Lake City and Denver,” said broker Holly Trinidad, adding that the Hoff & Leigh concept includes no initial buy-in payment and higher than industry standard commission splits.
“A typical broker’s commission split with a national commercial brokerage usually runs 50-50 or 60-40,” she said. “We’re offering a 95-5 split for the managing broker and a 70-30 split for broker agents.”
Under the flag of Hoff & Leigh Commercial Real Estate, Trinidad said that brokers who want to start their own office but are worried about leaving a big company with lots of support services, will find an ideal transition.
“There’s less ramp time required to get up and running,” she said. And not surprisingly, the new Hoff & Leigh Commercial proprietary technology enables its franchise brokers to write a lease from an iPhone.
When asked why the local Hoff & Leigh team chose to launch during such a tough economy, Trinidad is clear.
“There’s still business out there, deals happening all the time,” she said. “Tommy (Franjesh) already has 40 listings — and one of them is owned by a group that includes investor Warren Buffet. (Franjesh) was one of his former brokerage company’s top producers — and he’s very motivated. And, business isn’t that bad. In spite of all the bad news out there, this year R.D. and I will probably double what we made last year.”
The Round House at 600 S. 21st St. continues to attract an interesting tenant mix.
The latest addition to Carmichael Training Systems and ProCycle will be Synergy Manual Physical Therapy, which has leased 2,351 square feet in the remodeled historic building.
“They’re going to be great co-tenants,” said listing broker Manny San Fernando of Kratt Commercial Real Estate, who hinted that he’s still working on an upscale restaurant lease to fill remaining space on the building’s north side.
Nicola Myers-Murty of Sierra Commercial Real Estate represented Synergy.
As Fort Carson troops return from deployment, they’ll have plenty of new retail and restaurant choices along South Academy Boulevard.
Hancock Plaza negotiated a deal with Rob-Kraft Inc., a Burger King franchisee, to build a new 2,800-square-foot drive-thru restaurant at 2850 S. Academy Blvd.
Manny San Fernando represented the tenant and the landlord, H. Plaza LLC.
The store, which is scheduled to open during February 2010, will be a new prototype.
Another tenant, Rainbow Apparel, has leased 5,150 square feet at Hancock Plaza.
The tenant was represented by Kimberly Waldera of Sullivan-Hayes Brokerage in Denver.
Based on these and other retail tenants at Hancock Plaza, Gateway Plaza and Mission Trace, San Fernando sees new energy along the entire South Academy Boulevard corridor.
“It’s great to see this area so revitalized,” he said.
Becky Hurley covers real estate for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.