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Sunday, Jun 4, 2023

CB to Consolidate Valley Offices

CB Richard Ellis is combining its Glendale and Sherman Oaks offices into a San Fernando Valley headquarters operation at 10 Universal City Plaza. The controversial move, greeted with a mix of responses by brokers inside and outside the company, will immediately double the size of the office and its revenues, and officials said they expect it to produce another 40 percent growth spike in two to three years time. “When I took over Glendale it was a $7 million office,” said Bart Reinhard, senior managing director who oversees CB’s Glendale and Sherman Oaks offices. “Now it’s at $16 million. The Sherman Oaks office has maintained in the $16 million to $17 million range. From a business standpoint that range is really no man’s land. So when you combine them together, you can have a $30-million-to $35-million office and now you have some resources.” Reinhard declined to comment on reports that the new office will be housed at 10 Universal City Plaza, saying that no final decision had been made. But brokers inside and outside of CB all said that the new headquarters will be housed at 10 UCP, as the building is called. “We’re going to the 27th floor of 10 UCP,” said Greg Barsamian, a broker with CB’s Glendale office. “The powers that be thought strategically it was a better location to serve the North County area. CB officials declined to provide details, but said the cost of the move would be “sizable.” Long term, however, other sources said they would expect it to result in a reduction of operating expenses. The move is expected to take place in January. CB operates a number of satellite offices in the region in Westlake Village, Ventura and Santa Clarita Valley. The current Ventura office will be moved to Camarillo, a location closer to the hub of Conejo Valley activity. Reinhard said the satellites will give brokers who live and work in those areas greater flexibility and convenience. “They’ll have a cubicle in both offices,” said Reinhard. “So they’ll have the luxury if they want to go from home to Camarillo and then come into the hub office.” Local brokers, most of whom were familiar with the plans, said that the opportunity to share information with a larger community of agents can increase leads and improve service to clients. But physical proximity is no guarantee that brokers will share information, they added. “It depends on who the people are and how they work,” said Stacy Vierheilig Fraser, senior managing director at Charles Dunn Co. “There are some companies where people lock their doors all the time.” On the other hand, the Universal City location is likely to challenge brokers whose business is centered in the central Valley or West Valley. In order to take advantage of the synergies in the combined office, brokers who spend most of their time with clients in Sherman Oaks, Encino or Warner Center, will have to spend a significant amount of travel time to get over to the East Valley. “Someone with listings in Encino, if he’s got a three o’clock appointment, and he lives in Woodland Hills, is he going to want to go back to take advantage of those resources and spend 35 minutes in the car to do it?” said Trevor Belden, a broker with Lee & Associates L.A. North/Ventura. “From a practicality standpoint, I think it’s pretty unrealistic.” Reinhard noted that the move is not without its naysayers, but CB has had a successful history with the concept. “Every time we’ve done a hub office, it’s been a giant success,” he said. “And everyone goes kicking and screaming. Everyone is out there leasing and selling buildings, yet we’re the last ones that want to change. My job is to get everyone to follow because no one wants to move.” CB has opened these mega-offices, which Reinhard said is unrelated to the company’s recent public offering, in Ontario, Phoenix, Atlanta and Chicago. In Ontario, which went to the mega-office concept about seven years ago, revenues increased dramatically both for the agents and the office as a whole. He expects the North L.A. office to grow to $50 million as a result of the move. “When you bring up an idea and have two people to respond, you get x amount of information back,” Reinhard said. “When you bring up an idea and have 12 people respond, you get a lot more.”

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