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SAN FRANCISCO-Led by industry veterans Mark Leary and Curtis Gardner a 10-person apartment brokerage team are launching the first California office of Atlanta-based Apartment Realty Advisors. ARA is one of the largest privately held, full-service multifamily investment advisory and brokerage firms in the nation, with 17 offices nationwide.

Gardner and Leary are now principals of the Northern California office of ARA along with fellow Arroyo & Coates team members Craig Chiappone and John McCulloch. The foursome has closed $6 billion in multihousing transactions since 1986. Their client list includes Avalon Bay Communities, BRE Properties, Equity Residential, Fairfield Residential, and United Dominion Realty Trust. Arroyo & Coates sales associates Nate Oleson and Mike Colhoun and four support staff also made the move with the four new ARA principals.

“We made the move to be connected to a national firm, to provide better service for our national clients,” Mark Leary tells GlobeSt.com.

The new ARA team marks that company’s second West Coast location, the other being in Seattle. The addition helps cement the company’s national presence by giving it coverage that spans 40 states from Massachusetts to California. ARA chairman Gary Kachadurian says the move to open an office in California was in response to “acute client interest coupled with the ability to recruit preeminent talent and satisfy ARA’s strategic growth plan.”

“Our clients are always the driving force behind our expansion efforts and you can bet ARA is going to meet that demand by seeking out the best and the brightest the market has to offer and we’ve found that in this group.” Kachadurian said in a prepared statement.

ARA says it has achieved record-breaking sales volumes for three consecutive years as well as the highest per-broker annual average sales volume of $102 million. The company’s 65 brokers and 70 support personnel nationwide completed in excess of $7.7 billion in real estate transactions in 2007.

“When we were ready to take our own platform to a national level–there was no contest,” Leary says. “The ARA team has proven time and time again that they have the focus, expertise and business model in place, as borne out by their production numbers, to continue to dominate the multifamily industry.”

Arroyo & Coates consists of the apartment investment group, retail investment group and Arroyo & Coates financial group. Its apartment division, the company’s flagship, has been a significant player in Northern California apartment sales market over the past decade. Its financial group has procured more than $1 billion in financing since 1994. Company founder Pedro Arroyo was not immediately available Tuesday morning for comment.

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