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ORANGE COUNTY, CA-Investment brokers specializing in office properties have formed a new alliance called the Capital Markets Investment Group, which has launched with 17 members from four brokerage firms in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The plan is to expand throughout the West.

The new group was the brainchild of Mike Meisenbach, a Lee & Associates broker based in Orange County, who tells GlobeSt.com that the group expects to grow to 40 members within a few months as it adds new firms and new geographic markets. CMIG officially launched in late March.

The group states its overriding purpose is “to provide institutional investors with exceptional service and greater access to resources throughout the West’s top capital investment markets.” Meisenbach explains the idea behind the new alliance is to provide sellers with a much broader exposure to potential buyers and provide buyers with a much broader access to investment opportunities.

“CMIG is unique from other capital markets groups in that it is not affiliated with one specific brokerage firm,” Meisenbach says, citing its affiliations with top office brokers in each of its markets. CMIG’s broker teams average more than 20 years’ experience in the commercial real estate industry.

Last year, the teams sold an average of 464,000 sf of office space, with average sales of $78 million each. The group currently has an aggregate value of $424 million of properties for sale. The clients of CMIG’s members include some of the nation’s largest institutional investors, among them Goldman Sachs, Hines Interests, Morgan Stanley, MetLife Real Estate Investments, Legacy Partners Commercial, ING Clarion Partners and Broadreach Capital Partners.

The new alliance is not a commission-sharing arrangement but it is an information-sharing arrangement, Meisenbach says. When an alliance member gets a listing, for example, it is offered to all of the prospective buyers in all of the databases maintained by each of the individual members. Where CMIG members work in geographic territories that are close to each other, there is some possibility of crossover in terms of one member landing a listing in another’s territory, but Meisenbach says the instances will be relatively few and, in any case, “the benefits outweigh any negatives.”

CMIG has started with members specializing in markets throughout California, including Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, the East Bay, San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire. The other markets where it has members include Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver and Portland, OR, with expansion efforts under way to recruit office experts in Dallas, Phoenix, San Francisco and other major markets throughout the West.

Meisenbach, who began specializing in investment sales at Lee about 10 years ago, says brokers from other firms would sometimes bring him deals and vice versa, but the more he thought about it the more he realized that a formal alliance would be a much more efficient way of ensuring that listings get the broadest possible exposure and buyers get the broadest possible access to listings. His idea was to align with top office brokers in each geographic market and/or those who have the potential to become top brokers.

Probably the smallest deal any of their members will take on is about $10 million and most are considerably larger, Meisenbach says. Since the alliance has literally just launched, its members haven’t closed any deals under the CMIG banner, but Meisenbach says he expects them to be closing deals soon and often. “I think you will see us sell a lot of properties, and that will help us get even more listings,” he says.

CMIG’s members, listed by market, include senior managing director David G. Tilton and associate broker Todd Alton at Frederick Ross Co. in Denver; principal Aron Hoenninger at Lee & Associates in the San Francisco East Bay; senior vice presidents David Mudge and Tom Pierik at Lee’s Riverside office in the Inland Empire; senior vice presidents Charles W. Witters and David Flynn at Lee in Las Vegas; Lee principal Meisenbach in Orange County; principal James A. “Buzz” Ellis Jr. and financial analyst Paige Morgan at Pacific Real Estate Partners [PREP] in Portland; principals Adam Robinson and Brian Strange at Lee in San Diego; principal Christopher Larimore and associate Vincent Molitor at Lee in the San Gabriel Valley; principal Laurie Wixted at the Wixted Group in San Pedro; vice president Dan Foster and associate Greg Inglin at PREP in Seattle.

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