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Canadian Company Buys Ramsey-Shilling Brokerage

For 58 years, Ramsey-Shilling Commercial Real Estate Services Inc. served the Valley. But now, the company is no more, although its employees are still in the game. In December, the real estate brokerage was acquired by Avison Young, Canada’s largest independent real estate services company. As part of Avison, Ramsey-Shilling now belongs to an international company with more than 800 real estate professionals and 26 offices across the U.S. and Canada. On a recent afternoon, Ramsey-Shilling’s Toluca Lake headquarters was abuzz while dealing with the transition. Employees couldn’t even locate the firm’s former chief executive (now Avison principal), Chris Bonbright. Turns out, he was out recruiting a broker for Avison. Avison is on a rapid expansion clip across the country and has set its eyes on Southern California. The team at Ramsey-Shilling is now taking a key role in that growth, actively recruiting talent. Avison opened its first Los Angeles office in August. With this deal, the Canadian company gains 23 employees, including 18 brokers, and Ramsey’s Toluca Lake and Valencia offices have been rebranded under the Avison name. More acquisitions and offices are planned. For Ramsey-Shilling, the sale came to fruition because of the changing commercial real estate market. As real estate buyers have increasingly become large institutions, they have shied away from more locally-focused firms such as Ramsey-Shilling. “More decisions are being made outside of Los Angeles, and more clients are looking for a single point of contact for all of their business,” Bonbright said. “Rather than taking the risk of losing marketshare, we decided to make this leap and step into the big leagues.” Valley clients gain a brokerage that can reach across the country and beyond, and Canadian companies gain another brokerage that can reach into the Valley. John Tronson, now an Avison principal, was with Ramsey since 1993. When he heard the acquisition finally closed he was out to dinner with his wife. “I had a melancholy feeling. It is sad, because it’s such a recognizable name,” he said. But the mood around the office is upbeat. Employees seem excited about expansion and new opportunities. Tronson and Bonbright said they are confidant the two companies’ cultures will mesh and that clients won’t see many changes except an expanded reach and offerings. Ramsey-Shilling was founded by Southern California real estate icons Paul Ramsey and Lee Shilling, Tronson noted. “Avison is the exact same thing in Canada. They are two old guys. One guy is Avison (the other)… Young. I met both of them, it’s just the same thing.” Glendale Law Firm Sells Office Melby & Anderson LLP — a Glendale law firm — has sold its nearly 5,000 square-foot office building for $1.69 million. Charles Dunn Company Inc. associate Scott Unger, senior managing director Bill Boyd and senior managing director Linda Lee, represented the seller. Smaller owner-user buildings “are fairly hard to come across” and are doing much better in the Glendale office market than for-lease space, Unger said. Historically low SBA loan rates are helping that trend, he said. The Glendale office market has 1.4 million square feet of vacant non owner-user office space, Unger said. The law firm, which needed less space as several attorneys left in recent years, will likely move out in three months, said Partner Patrick Liddell. The firm is currently looking for office space in both Glendale and La Canada Flintridge. Fitness Club Signs Lease for Palmdale Location On the heels of losing a 24 Hour Fitness club, Palmdale is getting a new gym. Palmdale Fitness Club signed a long-term lease last month on a 17,065-square-foot location, previously occupied by 24 Hour Fitness. NAI Capital Inc. represented both sides in the deal. Senior Associate Tristan Greenleaf represented Palmdale Fitness, while Senior Vice President John Cserkuti represented the landlord. “Gym deals are really common in the fall, because everyone wants to open up for New Year’s traffic,” he said. Palmdale Fitness owner Shah Roshan said he is putting $500,000 into sprucing up the location with brand new flooring, equipment and televisions. 24 Hour moved out in late November, Greenleaf said. Company officials could not be reached for comment. Roshan said he hopes to open his new club on February 1. Staff Reporter Andrew Khouri can be reached at akhouri@sfvbj.com. or at (818) 316-3124

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