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NEW YORK CITY-A growing economy and an active pipeline of foreign investors make Russia a key outpost for Cushman & Wakefield, and the global real estate services firm unveiled last night that it has taken a major step toward solidifying its position there. C&W has acquired Moscow based Stiles & Riabokobylko, a 100-person operation founded in 1995.

Details of the purchase were not revealed, but in a statement, C&W president Bruce E. Mosler underscores the strategic importance of the buy. “Many of our global clients are there already and are looking to expand, and increasingly others are looking at entering the market,” he says.

“Opening in Russia is part of our wider corporate strategy,” adds John Travers, Cushman & Wakefield/Healey & Baker’s senior partner and head of its European operations. That strategy, he notes, “is to capitalize on the developing dynamics of the Central and Eastern European region and to build on our already dominant position in Central Europe.”

Indeed, the purchase is a precursor of some of the growth Mosler has hinted at since news broke that he was to replace current CEO Arthur Mirante II. At Real Estate Media’s RealShare Chicago conference this past June, keynoter Mosler emphasized that it was his job now to continue the company’s globalization by expanding Cushman & Wakefield further in markets worldwide.

“The opportunities are still plentiful, and we still believe in expanding our global reach,” he said. Mosler takes the helm the first of the year.

The newly purchased operation will do business as Cushman & Wakefield Stiles & Riabokobylko. Mark Stiles, who began his real estate career in Atlanta, and Sergey Riabokobylko will remain as joint heads of the operation.

The company statement puts Russia’s annual economic growth rate at 7% for the past five years, and according to Stiles, retail and investment activity are both sectors to watch. “The Russian retail market is becoming increasingly sophisticated and developed,” he says. “This is being led by the aggressive expansion of retailers and developers in the Moscow area as well as in Russia’s regional markets. We believe that the market can absorb as many as 50 new developments each year over the next 10 years.”

In addition, real estate investments there are producing yields in excess of 13%, he continues, enough to attract outside capital. “The market is reaching a level of maturity that is attracting the institutional investor,” he says. “There is a greater amount of prime space coming onto the market and a greater awareness among local developers and property owners of the requirements of institutional investors.”

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