As is, Guardian Management's SVN franchise includes sevenoffices in SoCal and one in Phoenix that are operating withapproximately 200 brokers. Brenneke says Osbrink will play a keyrole in the company's effort "to build on the existing Sperry VanNess market share in Southern California and Arizona whileexpanding [its] presence in Oregon and other key US markets."

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"It's different [from what I was doing at G&E] from thestandpoint that I'm a principal here; the fact that I could getinvolved in a number of different ways was intriguing," Osbrinktells GlobeSt.com. "My primary focus will be to look internally atwhat we have right now, stabilize the core business and then lookat growth opportunities."In July, when GlobeSt.com first reportedon the acquisition, Guardian Management was exclusively an ownerand manager of 130 apartment properties in seven states thatheretofore only provided brokerage services to its apartmentclients, and only on a limited basis. The acquisition was aboutdiversification, Brenneke told GlobeSt.com.

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"Our play is essentially to take the time here with the marketslow, while the velocity is slow, to improve systems and proceduresand get some recruiting done; we are going to do a lot ofrecruiting," Brenneke told GlobeSt.com. "We are going to hire thebest talent we can at all levels for all property types and breathenew life into this thing and really energize it."

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Brenneke said the business combination will help Guardian growits brokerage business, which will in turn grow the propertymanagement business. As part of the plan to be a more of a one-stopshop, in terms of property management, Brenneke said he will expandthe leasing departments within the SVN offices.

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"Basically right now we are all multifamily from a propertymanagement standpoint, but with this we will be expanding intocommercial," he said. "We've got the property managementinfrastructure already in place, including the software, andcommercial property management is frankly a whole lot more straightforward than residential. As part of that, we will add more leasingtalent to our SVN offices."

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Rand Sperry and Mark Van Ness established Sperry Van Ness in1987. The SVN brand has grown rapidly in recent years – it nowboats 1,000 brokers in 150 markets nationwide -- by luringhigh-producing brokers with higher splits that can be achieved morequickly than at some of the other, larger brokerage houses.

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"The SVN system tends to attract good seasoned veterans,"Brenneke said. "SVN's target property market is B quality in termsof price range, which keeps us from going head-to-head with thelikes of CB Richard Ellis. With the average transaction size at SVNbetween $4 million and $5 million we're one notch below that -- andit's a really good niche."

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When the assets came to market earlier this year, CEO Mark VanNess told GlobeSt.com that the company had been planning to "gocompletely to the franchise model" as a more efficient way toexpand and operate its business. "Our long-term intent always wasto convert the company completely to a franchise model," he said."We have come to realize that it is inefficient for us to try torun two different businesses with the same staff," Van Ness tellsGlobeSt.com. "We realized that it's time to make a full commitmentto the franchise business."

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Brenneke started at Guardian Management 25 years ago and boughtit in 2001. It was at that point that the company began acquiringproperties in addition to managing them for third parties. It alsobegan partnering with wealthy individuals and institutions, playingthe part of the expertise partner by taking a minority stake andacting as the fee manager of the fee manager of the property. The400-person company now invests on behalf of it and 100high-net-worth individuals, as well as five institutionalinvestors, and has a portfolio of nearly 12,000 apartments unitsvalued at $600 million, of which it owns about 50%.

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Osbrink's position at G&E is not being filled, a companyspokesperson told GlobeSt.com in June. Osbrink joined that companyin 1988 and held numerous local and regional management rolesduring his 20 years at Grubb & Ellis. He was named EVP andpresident of transaction services in 2004. In May 2008, Osbrink wasnamed chairman of transaction services and the title of presidentwas transferred to company COO Jack Van Berkel. Also that month,Greg Coxon was named president of transaction services for theWestern region.

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The deal between Osbrink and Guardian Management took aboutthree weeks to hammer out. "When it seems to work for all partiesthen it doesn't take a long time," Osbrink says.

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