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DALLAS-Henry S. Miller Commercial has acquired the 85-employee WaterStone Residential, seating its founder as executive vice president and general manager of the merged multifamily operation. The deal takes effect Jan. 1.

Loyal Proffitt, founder of the three-year-old WaterStone Residential, will report to Mark O’Briant, president of Henry S. Miller’s commercial services group. WaterStone does asset and property management and leasing for nearly 6,000 apartments in 14 Texas cities; Columbia, Orangeburg, Charleston and Beaufort, SC; and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Sanford and Fort Lauderdale, FL. The 12 properties in Florida and South Carolina are asset management contracts while Texas is all property management.

The merger of the local companies is underwritten with an expansion plan for both sides. Henry S. Miller Commercial has sold the lion’s share of its class A portfolio and is holding a contract to pass the near 700-unit Villas at Montfort so the buyout ensures that there’s work for its 35-member multifamily team, Sam Kartalis, president and COO, tells GlobeSt.com. “We wanted to keep these people,” he stresses, “so it was a perfect match.”

From Proffitt’s perspective, the deal delivers a full-service platform and needed staff for the 2007 expansion plan. “With our projected business plan for next year, they have the staff in place that we were looking to add,” he says. “It ended up being fortuitous for both companies.”

Kartalis says the plan is to acquire more multifamily properties, predominately class A, for the team to oversee. Henry S. Miller Commercial invests about $100 million annually on real estate. “Somewhere in that $100 million will be some multifamily,” he says. With the WaterStone deal, the firm’s portfolio tops 10 million sf in all product types.

O’Briant says the synergies between the two firms–buying power and management capabilities–drove the marriage. It’s been at least five years since Henry S. Miller Commercial has bought a company.

Proffitt says he wasn’t shopping for a buyer. Henry S. Miller Commercial also wasn’t in the market for a company to buy. The proposal surfaced through a mutual business associate of O’Briant and Proffitt. And it led to expansion plans on all fronts. “We will continue to grow the fee property management as well as the asset management base at Henry S. Miller,” Proffitt says, adding the focus, as before, will be Sunbelt states.

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