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MINNEAPOLIS-Developer and property manager United Properties is merging much of its staff into a sister company, NorthMarq. The two companies are part of Pohlad Cos., which also owns the Minnesota Twins, and is the family of billionaire Carl Pohlad. United owns and manages about seven million sf of assets, including office, industrial, retail and multifamily properties in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado. NorthMarq Capital, an investment banking firm, has 29 offices in all national markets.

The real estate divisions have been redistributed, with most employees of the two companies now operating under the NorthMarq name. NorthMarq Real Estate Services has been formed, to handle the United Properties divisions, including brokerage, property management, construction and corporate solutions; this 430-employee division will be overseen by president Jeff Eaton. Kevin Farrell will continue as executive managing director of NorthMarq Corporate Solutions. Ed Padilla will continue as CEO of 390-employee NorthMarq Capital and will lead the expansion of NorthMarq Investment Sales. Frank Dutke will lead the 110 people who stay on in United Properties, as president of the investment and development businesses.

Boyd Stofer has become chairman and CEO of a holding company that will oversee the real estate services and United Properties divisions. He tells GlobeSt.com that the merger made sense, the companies were handling the same clients and the company wants to expand its services business. The new NorthMarq divisions will be able to offer real estate services in the company’s offices across the country, instead of just United Properties’ current concentration in the Midwest. “We don’t plan on offering all of the services in the NorthMarq offices, it gives us a starting point,” he says. “The first order of business is to get investment sales brokers out, we have the capability to do that in 10 to 12 markets.”

Though the move comes at a time when the economy is suffering and mortgage bankers are dwindling in size, Stofer denied rumors that the company is getting ready to sell United Properties, though it’s clear where the current concentration is running. “We’re not looking to sell businesses,” he says. “It is a difficult time for all businesses right now, the economy isn’t good, we don’t expect 2008 or even 2009 are going to be great years from a business expansion standpoint. However, the real estate services business can do well in a down market, people are foreclosing properties and needing refinancing. It will be tougher for the development business.”

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