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DALLAS-With the industrial market pushing full throttle, Grubb & Ellis Co. has hired an investment sales specialist to target deals in the $3-million to $30-million range. Meanwhile, one of Arlington’s top industrial dealmakers is raising the Sperry Van Ness flag in a bid to grow his firm.

Lizzy Blake, who left Cushman & Wakefield Inc. last summer, will build a local investment sales team for Grubb & Ellis’ private capital investment group. David R. Dunn, who founded a namesake firm five years ago, has aligned with Sperry Van Ness to strengthen his foundation for the future.

The region has surpassed the recovery mode, with dealmakers now eyeing more industrial spec, rent upticks and higher occupancies than they’ve seen in recent years. “In this market, there’s plenty of room for an industrial investment specialist,” says David Richards, Grubb & Ellis’ senior vice president and managing director in Dallas.

Blake’s team will have one more broker and an analyst, who will be added within 18 months. The new vice president’s immediate goal is to rebuild her traction in the market following a nine-month hiatus from the industry.

Blake, with 15 years’ experience, spent eight years at C&W, starting as an analyst and rising to associate director by teaming with former C&W senior director Tom Pearson, who’s now a lead executive at Colliers International Inc. in Dallas. “It’s good to be back,” Blake tells GlobeSt.com. “I love the investment sales market and it’s nice to be back in the middle of it all.”

Blake, marking her first week on the job, has two listings in hand and is chasing several more for the initiative’s sweet spot–one-offs and small portfolios. “It’s a relatively untapped area,” Richards says, “especially in the one-off deals.”

Blake becomes the 31st broker for the 52-member office in Dallas and the first dedicated one for industrial sales for the company’s private capital group. Senior vice president Gary Lindsey does leasing and sales and oftentimes the institutional investment team of Scot Farber and Darrell Betts, both senior vice presidents, will handle industrial sales too. “I really wanted to build a team focused solely on industrial sales,” Richards stresses.

Blake says she’s been talking with several local companies, but it was the opportunity to develop a team dedicated to private capital buyers and sellers that piqued her interest. “That’s the opportunity that I saw over here that I liked,” she says.

Opportunity also is what led Dunn to align his firm with Sperry Van Ness. “Since they perfected their tenant rep and landlord rep tools, firms like mine are looking at it more,” Dunn says. The Irvine, CA-based Sperry Van Ness has been on a fast-track for growth nationwide, breaking into roughly 150 markets in the past five years in alliances with local firms.

Sperry Van Ness/Dunn Commercial has eight brokers and support staff in place, but the company founder says he wants to add “three to four” brokers “and several property managers as soon as possible.” Dunn, known for his industrial savvy, has amassed about 500,000 sf of industrial, flex and office space to oversee and is negotiating to add one million sf of additional space.

Dunn, bent on growing his full-service firm, is looking to the Sperry Van Ness platform to “retain employees and brokers, recruit and grow without dealing with the operational system on a daily basis.” Foremost, he says, the alliance’s database will help to provide leads so his team can be more competitive with national brokerage houses in the region. In his 21-year career, Dunn has completed more than $400 million of transactions.

“The Dunn Commercial team is one of Dallas/Fort Worth’s premier commercial real estate firms,” Katherine Ripper, Sperry’s regional director, says in a press release about the newest company to join the team. “With their knowledge and proven track record in the region, we’re confident that they will be an extremely valuable asset in helping to grow our business.”

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