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DALLAS-Dallas-based Askew/Reese Investment Co. has joined the big boys in the financial industry, signing final papers for a takeover by NorthMarq Capital of Minneapolis.

NorthMarq is recognized as the nation’s largest independently owned commercial real estate banking firms. With the Askew/Reese buy comes an Austin office and one that is due for a significant expansion, William Jackson, NorthMarq’s managing director and head of the Dallas office, tells GlobeSt.com.

The takeover also means a consolidation of both firms’ Dallas offices into one location for the combined 30-member staff. It is uncertain at this point if the firms will take more space at NorthMarq’s 3 Forest Plaza office building in the Park Central section or Askew/Reese’s 4890 Alpha Rd. office structure near the Galleria. What is known is that Michael Hooks, NorthMarq’s vice president and senior director in Houston, is heading to Austin to lead Askew/Reese’s four-member staff under the NorthMarq banner. More employees are coming on board and more space will be needed than is presently available at its 1717 W. Sixth St. location. The space scouts are out in Austin, trying to decide whether more room can be had at the existing address or if a relocation is in the offing.

Askew/Reese has been around the Texas financial world since the 1960s, evolving from the former Nowlin Mortgage Co. Through the years, the business has changed hands several times, but going back solely into the names of Phillip Askew and Ron Reese about eight months ago.

The NorthMarq takeover is mortared on the long-time friendship of Askew, Reese and Jackson. “Basically, we’ve been very friendly competitors,” Jackson tells GlobeSt.com. That camaraderie coupled with Askew/Reese’s desire for a national presence has closed the deal, enabling NorthMarq to succeed where others have failed. The firm was not on the market and previous takeover bids had been rebuffed, says Reese. But in the New Economy, “a lot of smaller companies are aligning with national firms,” he says of business decision. Reese, Askew and Jackson will run the combined firm, which makes it the second largest commercial mortgage firm in the Dallas region.

In 2000, Askew/Reese had arranged $630 million in loans and has a servicing portfolio of $475 million. NorthMarq’s takeover will make the operation the second largest commercial mortgage firm in Dallas. Last year, NorthMarq, which has 12 offices nationwide, had arranged loans totaling $3.6 billion and has a servicing portfolio of $9.1 billion. Its Dallas office annually produces a total of $210 million in transactions.

Ed Padilla, NorthMarq’s president and CEO, says the deal had been particularly attractive because of Askew/Reese’s track record in equity financing. “We want to do more of that,” says Padilla. “If you can deliver equity, the chances are good that you’ll get to place the debt as well.

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