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.