With Virginia broker exodus expected, CBRE on the hunt for new talent

California-based CBRE Inc. is planning to open new offices around Virginia. (J Elias O’Neal)

In the face of a looming split with its Virginia affiliate, a commercial real estate giant is making initial moves to try to rebuild its broker ranks across much of the state.

California-based CBRE on Tuesday announced preliminary plans to open new offices around the commonwealth, including in Richmond, after the affiliation with its Virginia franchise, CB Richard Ellis of Virginia, ends on Dec. 31.

The move will bring the company’s Virginia branches under its wholly owned corporate umbrella, as opposed to its previous longstanding franchise model.

In October, CBRE announced plans to end its affiliate agreement with the Virginia franchise, which operates locally as CBRE | Richmond, by year-end. The move also includes terminating affiliations with operations in Charlottesville, Hampton Roads and Fredericksburg.

The existing roster of CBRE brokers in Virginia is expected to announce this week a new affiliation, likely with another brand that doesn’t have a presence in Richmond.

CBRE offered few specific details of its plans on Tuesday, other than announcing that it has tapped Jim Reid, its former eastern division president, to launch recruiting efforts in Virginia. That will include a search for a statewide market leader, as well as leasing, property management and capital market brokers and specialists to join the company by or after Jan. 1, 2019.

Robert McGrath, CBRE spokesman, would not disclose how many brokers are currently employed by the firm and how many of those, if any, will stay on board with CBRE.

The company also did not say how many brokers it’s looking to hire around the state.

The current local CBRE franchise has maintained a flag in the Richmond area 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.

The only Virginia market not affected by the split is Northern Virginia, where CBRE owns and operates its brokerage operations.

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