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DETROIT-Real estate veteran David R. Richards has been promoted to senior vice president and managing director of Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Detroit office. He comes to the position with a decade of experience, having worked for companies including Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co., and Corvus International, LLC. Prior to his current appointment, Richards was Grubb & Ellis’ vice president investment, services–a position he’s had since 2004.

Though Richards is best known among most football aficionados as a starting offensive lineman for NFL teams including the San Diego Chargers, the Detroit Lions, the Atlanta Hawks and the New England Patriots, among the real estate community, Richards has earned a reputation for being knowledgeable and enthusiastic, according to Bob Osbrink, president, Grubb & Ellis Transaction Services.

That enthusiasm–not to mention a background that includes management of a $44-million portfolio–will be of help when it comes to weathering the market in Southeast Michigan, which continues to be sluggish. “I’m not gloom-and-doom about this,” he notes. “My belief is that adversity creates advantage–and opportunity doesn’t necessarily knock when it’s convenient.”

Fortunately, he continues, he has working for him a very talented team of brokers, which is more than capable of weathering any type of economy. “The staff is one of our greatest strengths,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “This is a group that works well together, is collaborative and we have a very comfortable environment.”

Richards’ plans include the expansion of Grubb & Ellis’ abilities–and teams–to handle more product types. “We’re already strong in industrial, and there are a few positions we need to fill to cover the market on the office side,” he tells GlobeSt.com. Another goal, down the line, he adds, is to expand into retail.

In addition, he’s hoping to find someone who can fill the shoes he just vacated, someone who has a solid investment background. “Our street brokers generate a lot of activity on the investment side, and we need to continue to look out for that,” he says.

A great deal of those investment opportunities, he points out, involve many areas, but the auto industry, of course, is something that Detroit is known for and is strongest in. “We’ll still be driving cars in 10 years, though we might be putting something different in the tank,” he points out. “But Detroit is the gravitational center of the automotive industry. This is where it all started. And this is where it all is, the engineering and sales expertise, all centered around the city.”

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