Mergers good news for local commercial real estate, architecture

Feb. 21—The new year has brought consolidation to the local professional services industry with a pair of transactions joining what had been distinct offices and separate firms.

On Tuesday, the nation’s largest privately owned commercial real estate brokerage, Los Angeles-based Lee & Associates, announced it has launched a local office combining the slate of services provided by Brock Realty Advisors with the farming, renewable energy and water-related focus of Alliance Ag Services.

In an unrelated deal, Ordiz-Melby Architects Inc., Kern’s largest architectural firm, last month acquired another locally based outfit, KSA Group Architects. The deal is expected to merge their respective specialties.

The two transactions represent different strategies for pooling resources for the benefit of customers seeking a broader suite of services under one roof.

Lee’s joining of Brock and Alliance Ag gives its new Bakersfield office the ability to handle not only industrial, office and retail property but also farmland, water-brokering deals and real estate suitable for renewable energy development.

The company’s new, 11-person office at 5401 Business Park South, Suite 122, represents the end of Brock Realty Advisors as a separate entity but not Alliance Ag, which will co-brand with Lee but continue to exist as its own company as it works to expand in the western United States.

Lee’s new Central California office will be owned and operated independently as a licensed offshoot with offices in Bakersfield and Fresno. It will cover the counties of Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings and Tulare.

Chad Brock, co-president of Lee’s new office, previously ran what had been the Central California office of NAI Global. Lee’s customers will receive new access to opportunities in Central California, while local customers will benefit from the office’s connection to a national network. He noted the new office plans to recruit to fill new positions created by the opening.

“We’re already seeing real results in listings and assignments,” Brock said. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, not only to grow the ag division and its resources and its ranks but also to do the same locality within our market for the commercial. It’ll be exciting.”

Alliance co-owner Michael “Mike” Ming, who now becomes co-president of the local Lee operation along with Brock, said some of Lee’s customers already have farmland in their portfolio.

“They just haven’t had that person or company to call and help them with their ag transactions,” Ming said.

The new Central California operation will initially receive support from the company’s operations in northern LA County but is eventually expected to operate on its own.

Lee CEO Jeffrey Rinkov said in a news release the new office presents an exciting opportunity to service clients form Bakersfield to Fresno, including in the firm’s new ag-space capability.

“The team brings decades of experience advising landowners and valuing agricultural land,” Rinkov stated. “They have an expert-level understanding of mineral rights, water rights and other elements of agricultural real estate.”

Ordiz-Melby’s acquisition of KSA has brought together two teams with a combined experience of more than 80 years in real estate. But one is much larger than the other.

Specializing in low-income housing developments and medical buildings, KSA consists of three people prior to the acquisition. Derek Holdsworth, who bought the smaller firm in 2008, will stay on temporarily as a consultant while the firm’s two other employees join Ordiz-Melby.

Ordiz-Melby, whose staff numbered about 30 before the acquisition, has focused on designing schools. The firm welcomes the opportunity to diversify, principal Jeannie S. Bertolaccini said.

Principal Danny Ordiz said in a news release the firm is proud of the work it has done and the relationships it has built with clients.

“The acquisition of KSA Group Architects is a new and exciting step in our growth,” Ordiz stated, “and it will allow us to offer even more diverse and innovative services to our clients.”

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