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BOCA RATON, FL-Two unrelated announcements reflect continuing interest in South Florida’s real estate growth. Boston-based Summit Mortgage has opened a fourth South Florida office here, and locally based Lehman Realty Services has acquired franchise rights to operate as Prudential CRES in Palm Beach County.

Prudential Commercial Real Estate Solutions is a joint-venture partnership between Irvine, CA-based Prudential Real Estate Affiliates and locally based CRES, which was founded by Mark Donahue and is leveraging the Prudential CRES brand via franchises. Jerry Lehman, head of the firm that formerly bore his name, tells GlobeSt.com, “we plan to grow into a commercial real estate force in South Florida,” and, “as a separate issue,” he adds, “Prudential is adding strength to the commercial side of its business.”

Lehman plans to acquire existing real estate firms in his franchise area, all of which will take on the Prudential CRES identity. In addition, he says he is in discussions to obtain the Prudential CRES franchise rights for Broward, St. Lucie, Indian River, Martin and Okeechobee counties.

Meanwhile, Summit, which has offices in Miami, Naples and West Palm Beach, has promoted Clifford Slater to head its expanding presence in Florida. Slater served as a loan officer in the company’s Boston and Needham, MA offices and is now located here. “Florida is one of the fastest-growing areas of the country,” he says in a statement, calling the expanding Florida operation a “tremendous growth opportunity.” Summit has 12 employees in this office and approximately 45 in its South Florida locations.

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