Local CBRE brokerage to part ways with national flag

CBRE Inc. has announced that it will end its affiliate agreement with CB Richard Ellis of Virginia. (J Elias O’Neal)

One of Richmond’s biggest commercial real estate brokerages is splitting off from its corporate brand – and may be in search of another.

California-based CBRE Inc. announced Monday it has agreed to end its affiliate agreement with CB Richard Ellis of Virginia, which operates locally as CBRE | Richmond, by Dec. 31. The move also includes terminating affiliations with operations in Charlottesville, Hampton Roads and Fredericksburg.

Sources familiar with the dealings said officials overseeing the Virginia divisions would disclose a new formal agreement and business plan in 45 days, adding that tying the Virginia branches with another national affiliate was important.

CBRE Inc. spokesman Robert McGrath would not elaborate about what prompted the split.

J. Scott Adams, president of the CBRE Virginia franchise, said breaking away from the CBRE flag was a mutual agreement.

“It was no surprise,” Adams said. “The announcement was fully expected.”

But he, too, would not disclose what led to ending the relationship.

“All of our operations and support services are completely independent, so this transition will have minimal impact on the ways we do business,” Adams said. “We remain committed to best-in-class service to our customers and employees, and we look forward to our next chapter as a commercial real estate services industry leader.”

The decision follows the launch in recent weeks of apartment management firm WPM MidSouth Multifamily, which involves several of CBRE’s heavy hitters from its Richmond and Hampton Roads offices, including Adams.

WPM MidSouth said at the time of the launch announcement that the venture was a side gig that did not affect full-time positions at CBRE. Adams said Monday’s decision to vacate the CBRE flag is not associated with the formation of WPM MidSouth.

The current local CBRE franchise has had a flag in the Richmond and Hampton Roads markets since 2000.

CBRE | Richmond is one of the largest commercial brokerage firms in the region, employing about 155 people as of 2017, according to the most recent tally by BizSense. That included about 30 licensed brokers.

Some of the larger local deals the firm has helped broker include Owens & Minor’s 90,000-square-foot lease in Riverfront Plaza’s East Tower in 2017, as well as the state Department of Environmental Quality’s lease of 82,000 square feet in the Bank of America building at 1111 E. Main St.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that CBRE | Richmond brokered the sale of the Bank of America building. Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer brokered that sale.

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Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam

The largest commercial realtor in the world will be left with a hole in its national geography the size and shape of Virginia. Somehow I doubt we’ve heard the last of them on the local business scene. There will be more re-branding and job shifting ahead.

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson

Got to keep those sign makers and brand kids employed; not as many bank merger/names change like there was in the late 90s/early 2000s.