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ALBUQUERQUE-Retail Brokers Inc., which set up shop in Scottsdale, AZ more than 10 years ago, is in the midst of rolling out more office, with Albuquerque being the next stop on its expansion tour. When the office opens in September, it will join recently opened branches in Riverside, CA and Las Vegas and others coming in Texas and Colorado.

“It’s the market to be in New Mexico,” Don Sheckell, RBI’s senior vice president, tells GlobrSt.com. “It’s a strong and competitive retail market. Right now, Grubb & Ellis has a huge presence there and we’re looking forward to competing with them on that level.”Sheckell says another Albuquerque appeal is much of RBI’s existing clientele is interested in the market. As a result, contracts are currently under negotiation in the area although there’s at least a month to go before the office opens.

RBI’s MO in New Mexico will be similar to past launches. RBI will set up shop in an executive suite with a local person at the helm who, in this case, is real estate veteran Michelle Urish, formerly with Grubb & Ellis’ New Mexico group. RBI establishes a local identity while looking for a building to buy.

“It can be pretty difficult in a hot market to find an individual willing to take on a new opportunity,” Sheckell says. “But, this is a good opportunity for someone to build and create an identity here. Michelle has a strong background in retail and a great track record.”

Sheckell says the Southwest region is on RBI’s expansion map for several more years, with Texas and Colorado high on the itinerary. “If you look nationally, the West Coast and Southwest have experienced a lot of growth in the retail sector,” he explains. “A lot of investors from the East Coast are finding properties with a higher cap rate in the Southwest and a lot of tenants we represent are looking for real estate service in these locations. We’re looking to keep up with the client demand.”

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