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IRVINE, CA-Reza Etedali, a top Sperry Van Ness retail broker with more than $600 million in shopping center sales to his credit in 2003, has left Sperry to establish his own firm, Reza Investment Group. With the spin-off of his own company described as friendly both by Etedali and by Sperry Van Ness, the former Sperry broker tells GlobeSt.com that he’s starting with five other brokers and a support staff of three. His plan is to work on the same type of deals he brokered during his eight years at Sperry Van Ness, which generally were sales of retail properties from $5 million and up, with an average deal size of about $20 million.

David Frosh, president of Sperry Van Ness, describes Etedali as a fine broker, and says the former Sperry star is leaving on very good terms. Frosh tells GlobeSt.com, Reza Etedali has gone from being a broker who was new to the business eight years ago to arguably, in 2003, doing as well as any broker in the industry. He says that quality brokers like Etedali are one of the reasons that Sperry Van Ness, which began as a regional firm 17 years ago, has grown into a multibillion-dollar operation and the third-largest investment brokerage firm in the country. Adds Frosh, “We’re proud that Reza came up in the Sperry Van Ness system, and we will be doing deals together going forward. It’s the nature of our business for successful people to want to go out on their own.”

Etedali points out that even before leaving Sperry Van Ness he was already operating Reza Investment Group, like a company within a company. He had been thinking of going out on his own for some time, and decided that the timing was right. Etedali tells GlobeSt.com that his firm will rely on the same strong relationships with both private and institutional players that has placed him among top retail property investment brokers.

“Were gong to remain a niche, highly focused retail team concentrating on California properties,” he says. He notes that retail properties, always popular with investors, have become even more popular in recent years with the increased investor interest in real estate.

Etedali says the company’s philosophy will continue to cooperate with other brokers to provide the best deals for clients. Last year, he points out, 65% of his group’s transactions were completed with outside brokers. He’s set a goal for 2004 of closing $1 billion in transactions, which would represent a $400-million increase from the 2003 total. The 2003 deals included the sale of Media City Center in Burbank for $111 million, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Mall for $68 million, Glendale Marketplace in Glendale for $46.5 million and Del Norte Plaza Shopping Center in San Diego County for $33 million.

Besides Etedali, brokers at his new firm include Aaron Bettencourt, Ramez Barsoum, Jereme Snyder, Daniel Firtel and Brian Garrigan.

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