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DALLAS-A little more than three years after opening its doors in Dallas, Lee & Associates is expanding westward in the Metroplex to open an office in Fort Worth. In addition to boosting its presence area-wide, the Dallas office has added a corporate food group specialty to its roster.

Trey Fricke, principal with Lee & Associates DFW tells GlobeSt.com that Rob Riner, who is heading the Fort Worth operations, will soon sign a lease for office space in downtown Fort Worth. Riner, who previously headed up Fort Worth-based Rob Riner Cos., will be joined by two other agents in the coming days and more will likely be hired. “We’d feel comfortable in adding two to three more within the next 30 to 60 days,” Fricke comments.

Fricke adds that Fort Worth provided a logical location for the company’s second office because of the huge potential for business between the new office and its established cousin in Dallas. “We were lucky we found the right person to lead the charge for that office,” Fricke adds.

And expansion won’t necessarily be limited to North Texas; Fricke says Lee & Associates is eyeing Houston, Austin and San Antonio for new offices, which could be open in the next 12 to 18 months. The slowdown in the real estate market should help, as it means the company can recruit quality, talented people, Fricke adds.

Meanwhile, back at the Dallas ranch, Kevin Kelly and David Sours are heading up the new Corporate Food Group which has as its target the commercial food industry. Kelly and Sours, who were formerly with CB Richard Ellis’ Food Facilities Group, will handle tenant and owner representation, sales, leasing and other real estate activities in this specialized niche.

Kelly tells GlobeSt.com that not many brokers have specialization in the commercial food industry. Though an industrial broker will occasionally do a food deal, “this is what we do on a regular basis,” Kelly explains. Because of that, “we known the language, we know the requirements, and we know the difference between a good product and a bad product,” he adds.

Kelly acknowledges the commercial food industry isn’t huge in every market, meaning he and Sours are offering their services nationwide and have deals working across the U.S. Still, Dallas is a good place to launch this particular service.

“There are a few areas that have a higher concentration of food manufacturers,” Kelly adds. “North Texas is one of them.”

In other news, George Tanghongs has joined Lee & Associates’ Dallas office as a director. He’ll provide project leasing and tenant representation of industrial, technology and retail assets in the Northeast Dallas submarket.

“The addition of these experienced pros will add a tremendous boost to our existing platform, and entering the Forth Worth market is huge,” remarks Lee & Associates Dallas principal Ken Wesson in a released statement. “Not only will Dave and Kevin bring an additional dimension with the inclusion of the Corporate Food Group, but Rob’s integrity and intensity is second to none. George is an expert in the Northeast Dallas sub market and we are confident he will be able to ramp up our presence there.”

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Lee & Associates has relocated to new and larger digs in the CBD. The company has taken space at 222 N. LaSalle St.

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