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NEWPORT BEACH, CA-Sherry Bower, a 22-year veteran of CB Richard Ellis who has headed the company’s local office for five years as part of the company’s management team, has been named regional senior managing director for Orange County, filling the post vacated recently when Steve Case left the Anaheim office of CBRE to become an SVP at the Irvine Co. As head of the Newport Beach office, Bower has been running one of the largest CBRE offices in the country. As regional senior managing director, she will oversee a staff of more than 200 professionals and will have responsibilities for client relations, business development, training and business planning. She will also serve on the Western Division Executive Committee. In some respects, Bower’s new responsibilities will be a continuation of her duties in recent years working with Case, in which the two of them focused on unifying CBRE’s approach to both operations and business development in Southern California. The new post is the latest in a series of management positions for Bower, who joined CBRE’s Beverly Hills and Newport Beach asset services department in 1982, becoming the nation’s top producing professional for management and transaction fees. In 1991 she was promoted to managing officer of asset services in Newport Beach, and more than doubled the portfolio for what was then approximately 15 million sf. For the next five years, she held various managing director roles in Newport Beach, Anaheim, Riverside and South Orange County.Bower says her No. 1 goal now that she has the additional regional responsibilities is for CBRE to retain the position it has established as “the dominant player in the real estate business in Orange County in every business line, in every geography, in every product type.” Bower says her goal will be to ensure that CBRE “secures that No. 1 position and puts a bigger spread between us and our No. 2 competitors.” Since Orange County is one of the most desirable real estate markets in the world, Bower tells GlobeSt.com, “A lot of service providers have gravitated to the area, so competition here is very robust.” When asked where the competition is keenest in the county, Bower answers that it’s strong across the board and that who the toughest competitors are varies according to product type and geographic area of the county. “We can’t point to a single, individual competitor and say that company is our toughest competitor because we are in so many different business lines,” she says.Bower sees a number of positive forces at work in the commercial real estate markets in Orange County, especially the improvement in underlying lease fundamentals. The biggest uncertainty she sees is the question of rising interest rates, which CBRE expects to rise comparatively slowly. “One question is what will the rising interest rates do to the investment market, and an even more pivotal question is whether the underlying lease fundamentals will improve enough to offset increases in interest rates,” Bower says. “We think the underlying fundamentals here are improving enough to offset any of these incremental interest rate increases, like the recent quarter of a point.” One result of the improving lease fundamentals, Bower observes, is that “the disconnect between prices and fundamentals is closing.” Among the other positive signs she cites is the continuing trend among corporations to outsource their real estate services, which “bodes well for real estate service companies.”

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