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LOS ANGELES-CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. has acquired CBRE Hawaii, its Hawaii affiliate since 2000, which was responsible for more than 440 lease and sales transactions valued at nearly $450 million in 2005. Chris Ludeman, president for US brokerage at CBRE, tells GlobeSt.com that the Hawaii operation “is really a full-service platform” that has grown substantially as an affiliate and is poised to grow further in light of the maturing and diversification of Hawaii’s commercial real estate markets.

The Hawaiian operation’s list of services includes office, retail and industrial leasing, investment property sales and “a very robust property management operation” that manages nearly eight million sf of commercial space, Ludeman points out. CBRE Hawaii is responsible for leasing more than 30% of the class A office buildings in Downtown Honolulu, and it has participated in some of the islands’ largest asset sales, such as the Ilikai Hotel for $218 million and the Marriott-Waikiki Beach Hotel for $123 million.

Ludeman tells GlobeSt.com that CBRE sees potential for growth in a number of sectors in Hawaii, including traditional mainstays like the hospitality industry as well as other sectors that have been growing. As the ownership of major hospitality properties continues to consolidate, “We think we can serve the ownership and its capital needs and also expand our hospitality practice throughout the South Pacific,” he says.

As Hawaii has developed a more diversified ownership base, increasing amounts of institutional capital have flowed into the market and it has become “a much more balanced economy that speaks to our strengths,” Ludeman says. Some of the property types where the company sees potential for significant growth, he explains, are congregate care, senior housing, multihousing and healthcare.

One of the most appealing parts of the acquisition of its Hawaii affiliate is that “We have a very strategic and capable leadership team in the islands, and they have a fairly well developed strategic plan for growth,” Ludeman says. The Hawaiian operations will be led by Joseph Haas, a senior executive with the former affiliate, who becomes a senior managing director at CBRE.

William Chillingworth, president of the western division for CB Richard Ellis, comments that the company and its Hawaiian affiliate “have benefited from a close collaboration” during its years as an affiliate. “We see significant growth opportunities in Hawaii and the Pacific islands by more fully integrating the operation into our global platform,” Chillingworth says.

The acquisition continues the CB Richard Ellis strategy of purchasing affiliate companies to extend the company’s presence in key markets across the US and around the world. The company acquired the Milwaukee-based Polacheck Co. brokerage and management services firm earlier this year, for example, and has acquired a number of other US and overseas companies in recent years.

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