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DALLAS-After a six-year run, the curtain has lowered on the 46-broker NAI Stoneleigh Huff Brous McDowell. The Dallas office has merged with Transwestern Commercial Services and the Fort Worth group is flying a new flag as NAI Huff Partners.

It’s no secret that the deal has been at the bargaining table roughly six months. As of today, Transwestern has another 21 brokers, with the former NAI principals getting an ownership stake instead of a cash exchange. “This is not a buyout. This is a definite merger,” says Nora Hogan, one of nine NAI principals who crossed into the TCS camp. Other departing top execs are Robert Deptula, Trey Fricke, Randy Garrett, Michael Griffin, Alan Harrington, Stephen McCoy, Paul Stockard and Sanders Thompson.

Hogan says the delineation already existed between the two NAI offices in terms of clients and transactions, due in part to the strikingly different CBDs and surrounding areas of the long-time city rivalry between Fort Worth and Dallas.

The Dallas team, Hogan says, needed a national platform and services like property management, investment, retail and multifamily. “Those were things we either were going to have to build it, buy it or merge with somebody who had it,” she tells GlobeSt.com.

The Houston-based Transwestern, though, was the one who did the courting, coming out strong this year to beef up its tenant rep forces either through acquisition or merger after five years of laying the groundwork. In fact, Jack Eimer, TCS’ president of the central region, says he tried to negotiate a merger in 1998 with the former Stoneleigh Group in Dallas as a prelude to the corporate strategy to build a tenant rep stronghold. Stoneleigh instead merged a year later with the then-13-year-old NAI Huff Brous McDowell in Fort Worth.

“Their partners are the finest group of real estate professionals in the city. We’re going to have an incredible amount of momentum,” Eimer says. “It fully rounds out our full-service capability. The combination of the two brings some unparalleled firepower to the market.”

The combined team totals 71 professionals, who will all office in Provident Tower at 5001 Spring Valley Rd. beginning Jan. 1, where TCS has leased another 8,000 sf to accommodate the extra staff. Eimer says the lease was reworked to 17,500 sf and the term extended six years. The former NAI group will move from Galleria I at 13355 Noel Rd. right before the holidays, in sync with the expiration of a five-year lease.

“It’s understood that the Dallas business culture is a little bit different from Fort Worth,” says Jack Huff, one of Fort Worth’s favorite sons. “We love our Dallas partners, but we didn’t want to stand in their way.”

Huff and 24 other professionals are holding firm to their long-time address at 201 Commerce St. Partners Jerry Alexander, Bill Behr, Walter Floyd, Jeff Givens, Kyle Poulson and Leland Prowse are staying together. Principal Sam Brous and former principal Mack House are forming the Westover Group.

“We considered it very early on in the front end,” Huff says about the TCS merger. “We readily came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to be for us.” Besides, he adds, the Fort Worth-bred brokerage house is a regional force in terms of market share and brand-name recognition.

Eimer says he’s in pursuit of other firms and top-producing teams from competitors’ ranks now that this deal is put to bed. He’s not ruling out a Fort Worth shop nor expanding the reach to Oklahoma City, Tulsa or Midland. “This isn’t the end of our growth plan. At some point in time, Transwestern will have a strong presence in Fort Worth,” he says. “It’s a very good market.”

And, the next deal could drop in three to five months. “It’s a dating process and it’s a lengthy process,” Eimer says.

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