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SAN JOSE, CA-Insignia continued its aggressive growth strategy in first-tier markets last week by luring a team of seven industrial and R&D brokers from the local office of Grubb & Ellis. For a related story, click here.

Broker Steve Fisher; speaking on behalf of fellow team members Dave Fukuda, Christian Marent; Brian Matteoni, Scott Prosser, Bob Steinbock, and Tom Taylor, told GlobeSt.com on Friday that the group expects to be able to generate more dollar volume and have greater control. As for the timing, he says it has nothing to do with the recent CB Richard Ellis-Grubb & Ellis merger rumor.

“We were being pursued since before the merger rumors by more than one group,” says Fisher. “We felt now might be right time because with transaction volume so low, it allows us time maybe move the transition a bit more quickly than in a hotter market.”

The brokers, five of which have the SIOR designation, allow Insignia to immediately add tenant representation, corporate services, industrial services and investment brokerage to the list of services it offers in the Silicon Valley. The San Jose office heretofore offered only landlord leasing, construction and property management services.

“Working as a team of professionals for several years, they have been responsible for some of the most notable transactions in Silicon Valley,” said Mark Schmidt, executive managing director of Insignia’s Silicon Valley office. “We believe the combination of their skills and our operating platform will allow us to quickly establish a leading market position (here).”

Grubb & Ellis’ San Jose Director Brian Friedman was not immediately available for comment Friday afternoon, but emailed GlobeSt.com a comment over the weekend. Friedman came to Grubb & Ellis with its purchase of the Bishophawk brokerage firm, as did the seven brokers who left the firm this week.

“Brokerage is a cyclical business and brokers move around — that’s a fact of life in our business,” says Friedman, a former CB Richard Ellis broker who came to Grubb & Ellis with it purchased the Bishophawk brokerage firm, as did the seven brokers who left the firm this week. “While it’s always hard to lose talented personnel, the fact is that we’ve just lost seven industrial brokers out of 28 in a market in which transaction activity is off 75% over the last two years. Our team in San Jose is well positioned to help our Valley clients prepare for the next period of economic expansion with an integrated platform of transaction, property management and expert real estate advisory services.”

Insignia, meanwhile, has shown a penchant for adding staff during these shaky economic times, having completed three similar deals since the beginning of the year. In January, GlobeSt.com broke news that Insignia had started an investment brokerage division in San Francisco by luring Bob Gilley away from Cushman & Wakefield, where in 2000 he and then-partner Jeff Congdon sold nearly $1 billion of institutional quality real estate.

Also that month, Insignia ended a long search for someone to lead its Portland, Ore., operation by luring Steven Klein away from Trammell Crow, where he was an executive vice president and principal in charge of industrial and brokerage operations and responsible for developing numerous projects while also building the company’s brokerage services department. Then, in February, GlobeSt.com broke news that Kidder Mathews Segner, one of the Seattle’s oldest, largest and most productive commercial real estate services firms, had agreed to join Insignia’s Strategic Services Provider Program.

Specifics on the financial package Insignia’s new brokerage team will be receiving were not immediately available. In the past, in addition to competitive commission splits, Insignia has offered top brokers salaries, bonuses and the opportunity to personally invest the company’s development projects. “I didn’t come here for my health,” Gilley quipped when he joined the firm in San Francisco earlier this year. “They made it appealing.”

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