A number of smaller North Bay commercial property brokerages are forming and collaborating.

New brokerage North Bay Property Advisors has grown to five offices, Meridian Commercial resurfaced in Marin County after almost three years, Bradley Real Estate has added a commercial brokerage and Prudential California Realty Sonoma Gold is doing likewise.


Bill Severi brought in former North Bay Commercial Real Estate agent Nick Abbott and loan broker Kevin Klein at the end of last year to create North Bay Property Advisors–Santa Rosa (northbayprop.com). Mr. Severi then formed a co-operative with two other brokerages as well as agents in Sacramento and San Jose.

The model is based on pulling together independently owned and operated offices made up of agents with at least 10 years of full-time commercial real estate experience in the market. Broker-owners would retain their deal fees and share in common marketing costs such as signage and subscriptions to information services that provide site photos, comparable transactions and other market details.

“It frees up people who are experts in the industry and don’t need to be dependent on the standard brokerage model of the past,” Mr. Severi said. In early 2008 he left North Bay Commercial for Keegan & Coppin, the North Bay’s largest commercial property brokerage, before going out on his own.

The first brokerage to join the co-op was Losk Commercial Real Estate, now called North Bay Property Advisors–Novato. Early last year, broker David Losk affiliated his half-dozen agents and property managers with North Bay Commercial Real Estate.

Mr. Severi has three property managers in a separate Santa Rosa company, Commercial Investment Real Estate Management.

Losk Commercial and Bryant Moynihan’s Nexus Realty Group in Petaluma formed a brokerage alliance with North Bay Commercial in early 2009. Nexus Realty currently isn’t part of the co-op, but Mr. Severi said he wants to extend the network to Petaluma as well as San Francisco, Oakland and Walnut Creek.

Gerrett Snedaker and Earl Shuttleworth, co-owners of Frank Howard Allen, The Wine Country Group in Sonoma, joined the co-operative in May as North Bay Property Advisors–Sonoma. Key to the commercial property focus is 15-year veteran commercial agent Isaac Raboy and property manager Lori Bremner.

The commercial side of the Sonoma office was affiliated with Orion Partners, which closed earlier this year.

Also this year, Mr. Severi became the broker of record for an agent each in Sacramento and San Jose, calling those operations Capitol Property Advisors and San Jose Property Advisors, respectively.

Mr. Severi had been discussing a co-op licensing agreement with Matt Brown, a 24-year market veteran who left BT Commercial’s San Rafael office in October. BT was in the process of joining St. Louis-based Cassidy Turley, a move completed in March.

Mr. Brown and four other partners in Marin County-based brokerage Meridian Commercial Inc. joined BT in October 2007, closing down the Marin County-based brokerage started in 1993. Late last year Mr. Brown formed a new corporate entity under the Meridian name (meridiancommercial.com).

“There is a place for all of us,” he said. “Our focus is local.”

Many local property owners generally hold their properties longer and thus have less pressure to make debt payments, he said. Also, they may be more responsive to adjusting rents to match market conditions. Mr. Brown noted that a number of institutional investors have a pro forma–based lease strategy that may not reflect the current market and could be unproductive in down times.

Exceptions to that include aggressive deal-making by Equity Office, owned by The Blackstone Group, to keep southern Marin properties filled and Connecticut General Life Insurance Co.’s moves to fill 455,000-square-foot Marin Commons after getting the office building back in foreclosure a year ago.

In late March of this year, Mr. Brown brought on agents Nick Egide and Anthony Robello both from BT’s San Rafael office.

In May of this year, Bradley Real Estate President Robert Bradley formed Bradley Commercial as a complementary service to the residential brokerage, which has about 350 agents in nine offices. It will likely grow to have a dozen agents, he said.

“We saw demand from our own clients,” Mr. Bradley said. “When you’re referring out business continually it makes sense to form your own division.”

Based on the third floor of the San Rafael headquarters, Bradley Commercial builds on the experience of longtime Marin County apartment investment specialist Katherine Higgins, who joined a few years ago, and the real estate law background of Mr. Bradley and in-house counsel and training director Eric Burris. Mr. Bradley managed international commercial properties for large companies before coming to Bradley (bradleyrealestate.com).

[caption id="attachment_23150" align="alignleft" width="108"] Bill Hart[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_23151" align="alignleft" width="108"] Mark Cooper[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_23152" align="alignleft" width="108"] Rick Trono[/caption]

Hired in the past few months at Bradley were Bill Hart, formerly of Orion Partners; Hawley Smith, CCIM, formerly of RE/Max of Southern Marin; Mark Cooper, who came from Keller Williams Realty-affiliated KW Commercial; and Rick Trono, a broker and certified distressed property expert who was at Frank Howard Allen Realtors in Greenbrae.

[caption id="attachment_23153" align="alignright" width="108"] Craig Cosentino[/caption]

In Sonoma County, Craig Cosentino, who operated the brokerage and project-entitlement consulting firm Commercial West Real Estate in Santa Rosa, joined Prudential California Realty at the beginning of this year as a broker and partner in the commercial side of the Sonoma Gold brand (sonomagoldonline.com) launched by managing broker Paula Gold-Nocella in June. The two worked together at Ragatz Resort Realty.

“We have a very high-tech, high-touch relationship with buyers from all over the world because of our wine country destination and the San Francisco market,” Mr. Cosentino said.

Sonoma Gold focuses on luxury residential, vineyard, horse and acreage properties, condos and townhomes, as well as bed-and-breakfast, business, and commercial opportunities.***

Cornish & Carey Commercial joined the North Bay Leadership Council, a Petaluma-based public policy advocacy group whose members employ more than 20,000.

Cornish & Carey, which has 11 offices in the rest of the Bay Area, in March expanded to the North Bay with offices in Santa Rosa and Larkspur. Senior Vice President Haden Ongaro, who manages both offices, represents the brokerage on the council.

“The council is excited to have the commercial real estate sector represented in our membership by one of the foremost commercial real estate brokerages in Northern California,” said Don Chigazola, board chairman and director at Medtronic CardioVascular of Santa Rosa. “We are eager to work together on bringing new jobs to the North Bay by better marketing this region and making the North Bay attractive to business.”***

Correction: In the story about Zephyr Express' lease of 770 Skyway Court in Napa, Bill Kampton and Phil Garrett of Colliers International represented Zephyr. Incorrect information was provided for "Commercial Real Estate: South Napa wine warehouse deals push down vacancy" [July 5].•••

Submit items for this column to Jeff Quackenbush at jquackenbush@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4256 or fax 707-521-5292.