DALLAS-In a surprise coup, Transwestern Commercial Services Inc. has wooed back the powerbroker who masterminded its investment services group in the mid-1990s. The core dealmaker returns as a managing director to help take the team to the next level.

P. Michael Hardage has returned to TCS’ Dallas office after a seven-year absence. He spent nearly five years helping to mold the investment sales group for Trammell Crow Co. and then made a clean break two years ago to become acquisitions director for Auburndale Investments, the purchasing arm for the locally based, boutique Robert Carlin Cos. “I realized I liked the bigger organization,” Hardage tells GlobeSt.com. “The chance to come back to a firm of this caliber was a great opportunity.”

Hardage is teaming with TCS senior directors Steve Simon and Jeff Y. Smith, who are on track to close nearly $250 million in deals this year. “We think we’re going to have one of the strongest investment sales teams in the marketplace,” says Jack Eimer, TCS’ central region president. The Dallas team, he says, is steamrolling toward the best sales year in a decade.

Eimer says the group’s “grown dramatically” since Hardage brought it out of the ground in 1995. “He crafted it. He created it,” Eimer says, “and he’s back to take it to the next level.”

Hardage’s return was first broached about three months ago during a casual lunch between the long-time friends. “The timing was right,” Eimer says.

“I was intrigued,” Hardage admits. “I had watched the company grow…into a full-fledged investment sales group.” What started in the Dallas office is now a network of teams in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

Hardage’s return delivers a key dealmaker, with an institutional black book who’s skilled in core asset sales. “He’s got experience across the spectrum,” Eimer says. “Given our focus on institutional investment class, Mike will be actively involved in that, but he’s sure not being limited in any respect. We are ramping up in private capital buyer and seller activity.”

Hardage, who made an amicable break from Auburndale, says his slot’s not yet been filled. Carlin could not be reached by publication time to comment on the backfill and departure.

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