Brokerage reshuffling is continuing at area firms

More change at Charlotte’s commercial brokerage firms: Colliers International has hired Rob Speir, formerly of Keystone Partners and Jones Lang LaSalle, as a vice president of industrial brokerage.

Speir spent his entire career — almost nine years — with Keystone before it merged with JLL in late March. He says it was a difficult decision to leave, but he couldn’t resist the opportunity to build something new with Colliers.

He also sees similarities between the new Colliers office and Keystone. “It was like being in a family,” he says of Keystone. “I see some aspects of that with what Greg (Copps) and Lawrence (Shaw) are going to be doing at Colliers.”

Clarus Properties affiliated with Colliers late last year and has been ramping up since, adding veteran brokers Brad Grow, Brent Royall, Mike Fahey and now Speir, who started this week.

The firm also has added Meg Grow (Brad’s sister) as an office broker, and Ed Fahey, formerly with Pinnacle Properties, has joined Colliers as director of property management. Before joining Pinnacle, Fahey (no relation to Mike Fahey) spent several years with Colliers Pinkard, the previous Colliers affiliate in Charlotte, which is now Cassidy Turley.

Nick Morgan also has joined Colliers as a construction manager, and Lauren De La Paz has been hired as a brokerage assistant.

Meanwhile, there have been a couple of notable departures at CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.: tenant brokers Steve Garrett and Tom O’Brien. The two were part of a four-person tenant-representation team that included Mark Decherd and Tripp Guin.

Garrett, a vice president at CBRE, had been with the firm for seven years. He has joined development firm RED Partners.

He started there last week. Garrett says he’ll continue to focus on office-tenant representation. But he will also be working to generate office and medical office build-to-suit development opportunities for RED Partners.

Garrett began talking with RED Partners over a deal: He recently represented Mecklenburg Neurological Associates Inc. on its acquisition of an 18,000-square-foot building on Scott Avenue that RED Partners is redeveloping for the practice.

He says the opportunity for equity positions in development deals with RED Partners is exciting.

“Brokers wake up January 1st of every year with the meter set at zero,” he says. “Being able to have some recurring income is attractive after 25 years in the business.”

It’s unclear what O’Brien’s next step will be. He was a senior vice president at CBRE. He had been with the firm since late 2006, when it acquired Trammell Crow Co., where he had been for four years before that.

He notes his and Garrett’s departures were weeks apart and were unrelated. But he declines to elaborate on his plans.

Orr exits Pinnacle to launch firm

Chris Orr has left Pinnacle Properties to start his own firm, Romans Properties, in the Midtown Plaza building on Baxter Street.

Orr handled leasing and investment sales for Pinnacle. He says changes in the commercial brokerage market have created an opportunity for smaller firms. “This is a great opportunity for a smaller firm to go out there and serve those small clients who may get lost in the shuffle with all these firms merging.”

Since late last year, several local firms have merged or affiliated with national real estate organizations.

Park Abbey signs new tenant

HireRight Inc., a provider of employment background and drug-screening services, has signed a 10-year lease for 16,977 square feet in the Park Abbey building.

The deal marks the first major lease at the building since SunTrust Banks Inc. dismissed foreclosure proceedings against its owner earlier this year.

It’s also the first major tenant for Park Abbey since Wyndham Capital Mortgage exited in 2009. Wyndham was previously the largest tenant at the five-story office building at Park Road and Abbey Place.

HireRight is based in Irvine, Calif. The local office is relocating from the former headquarters of National Diagnostics Inc. on Idlewild Road, near Independence Boulevard. In late 2009, HireRight acquired National Diagnostics, a Charlotte-based provider of drug-testing and physical-exam services.

The foreclosure dismissal at Park Abbey was tied to an equity restructuring by the building’s owner, an affiliate of The Dilweg Cos., according to a news release. The restructuring “validates the landlord’s commitment to the long-term health of the asset,” the release states.

Kent Lamm and Adam Farber of Percival McGuire represented the landlord, and Xan Law Jr. of Investment Partners of Charlotte represented HireRight. The Park Abbey building totals 110,000 square feet and has a quoted rental rate of $14.50 per square foot.

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