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ATLANTA-Locally based Advantis Real Estate Services Co. has completed an employee buyout of the company from Jacksonville, FL-based St. Joe Co. The acquisition price was not disclosed. Advantis will be immediately branded as GVA Advantis to align more closely with its partners in GVA Worldwide.

“Advantis was acquired in its entirety by a small group of senior executives, regional managers and brokers/agents,” Petch Gibbons, president and CEO of GVA Advantis, says in a prepared statement. “All service lines in all markets will remain in place, with absolutely no change in operations.” Gibbons adds, “Aside from the new name, the change in ownership be transparent to clients.”

Gibbons tells GlobeSt.com the buyout deal began in July. “Both Joe and GVA Advantis realized the benefit of a quick close to the sale,” Gibbons says. “For GVA Advantis, a speedy acquisition means that we’re able to capture the strong revenues traditionally seen in the last two quarters of the year on our own balance sheet; and it helped Joe rapidly narrow its focus to the sale and development of landholdings, particularly in Northwest Florida.”

Joe began acquiring the independent commercial real estate firms that would become Advantis in 1998. “Under Joe’s ownership, Advantis grew into a cohesive, aggressive commercial real estate force in the Southeast,” Gibbons says.

He says the transfer of ownership “Marks an exciting next step in the growth of our company, with GVA Advantis employee-owners gaining meaningful participation in the future direction of the company through their representation on the board.” Gibbons says he is confident the ownership change “will result in even better services for our clients, and even greater opportunities for our employees.”

For example, the Advantis chief points to his company’s “proven experience as a full-service firm with a focus on the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.” That factor is “one of our critical competitive advantages and we anticipate building on this existing base,” Gibbons says.

Last year, GVA partners collectively completed $17 billion in transactions and managed more than 150 million sf of office, industrial, retail and specialized property. “In 2005, year-to-date brokerage referrals to Advantis from GVA Worldwide partners were responsible for about $15 million in transaction volume, on track to hit $24 million by yearend,” Gibbons says. “We expect that figure to grow as we increase our role in the international partnership.”

GVA Advantis will continue its relationship with Joe as the leasing agent and property manager for the majority of that firm’s commercial real estate portfolio. GVA Advantis will also continue to represent Joe in the marketing and disposition of certain land holdings in Northwest Florida.

A Joe spokesperson says the sale of Advantis “enables Joe to focus on its core business of residential, resort and economic development, and land sales, primarily in Northwest Florida.”

GVA Advantis’ newly appointed directors includes Gibbons; John K. Hutcheson, chief operating officer and chief financial officer; Bruce G. Ford, vice president of management services; James A. Meisel, an executive director in the Washington, DC office; Scott W. Nelson, an executive director in the Atlanta office; Charles M. Polk III, an executive director in the Richmond office; Deborah K. Stearns, managing director, Greater Virginia; and Paul W. Thomann Jr., vice president of construction services.

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