BGC, owner of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank brokerage, has agreed to acquire Apartment Realty Advisors (ARA) for $110 million, according to this breaking alert from Ralph Bivins of RealtyNewsReport.com. Official word came from James "Jimmy" Kuhn, the cool-looking guy pictured to the left.
ARA, which touts itself as "the largest privately held, fullservice investment advisory firm in the nation that focuses exclusively on the brokerage, financing and capital sourcing of multihousing properties," has called Atlanta home for a long time, or at least since I covered commercial real estate in the city. Atlanta is home to ARA's National Office and C-level executives including COO Lisa Robinson.
The Wilbert Group represents MHA, the Southeast's premier multifamily investment brokerage and a competitor to ARA. MHA ranked No. 10 on Atlanta Business Chronicle's 2014 Top 25 Commercial Real Rstate Brokerages List. ARA placed 17th.
Here's the official word from ARA: “We are delighted to announce this agreement with BGC and to join with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank as we work together across the capital markets spectrum. The combined resources will prove of great benefit to our business, our employees and, most importantly, to our clients,” said Blake Okland, Chairman of the Executive Committee of ARA and Principal of ARA’s Carolinas member.
Of special interest on the national level is the growing influence of Jimmy Kuhn in the Southeast. I met Jimmy when Newmark worked hard to lure away some key Julien J. Studley execs to open Newmark's first Atlanta commercial brokerage business.
Kuhn's presence grew big time with the recent DTZ acquisition of Cassidy Turley and now is even bigger. Erika Morphy of GlobeSt.com tells it this way:
ARA's acquisition is another sign that the commercial real estate brokerage community views consolidation as a key growth strategy. In this case, bringing ARA under BGC's corporate umbrella will give Newmark Grubb Knight Frank a sizeable leg up in the market. BGC acquired NGKF in 2011.
It's cool to see Kuhn emerge as a national figure. He's a real estate reporter's dream – he tells you what you want to know, and he uses colorful language. See for yourself in this snippet from an interview I had with him in 2002 while at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
BYLINE: TONY WILBERT; Staff
DATE: April 2, 2002
PUBLICATION: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (GA)
Newmark & Co. came to town Monday and opened an office with 20 workers from competitor Julien J. Studley.
Newmark Southern Region, part of the New York-based commercial real estate firm, will be led by Bert Sanders and Patrick Duffy, both of whom resigned last week from Studley's Atlanta office. They were joined at Newmark by several other former Studley brokers — James Cate, Kay Davis, Marty Pinover, Ed Kercher, David Todd and Monty Harris.
However, Newmark had to open the office without the former Studley executive it wanted most: Neal Golden. It was his resignation that prompted the others to quit Studley's Atlanta office last week.
Newmark President Jimmy Kuhn said he still is pursuing Golden and hopes he will lead Newmark's national expansion.
"We're going after him with as much gusto as [New York Yankees owner] George Steinbrenner pursues free agents," Kuhn said in at interview.