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BELLEVUE, WA-Northmarq Capital recently opened its first office in the Pacific Northwest here, filling a long-standing hole in its national coverage. The private commercial mortgage banking company from Minneapolis launched the office with a seven-person team that left Capmark Financial Group, which last month reported a $1.1-billion quarterly loss and a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The team is currently operating out of Capmark’s offices in the City Center building in Downtown Bellevue.

Northmarq EVP Larry Stephenson tells GlobeSt.com that Northmarq has wanted to open an office in the Northwestern US for the past 10 years. He has been courting the Capmark team for the last three years.

“We think Seattle is one of more healthy markets right now; hopefully it will stay that way,” Stephenson says. “It’s a good multifamily market, which is one of the areas that still has access to financing from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and [the team from Capmark] is very strong in multifamily. So our focus today in that office is on multifamily, simply because that’s where the most money is available. “

The team from Capmark includes three producers–Ron Peterson, Bob Spiro and Stuart Oswald–and four support staff. Each of the producers has been originating multifamily and commercial real estate loans with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, banks, life insurance companies and conduits for between 15 and 26 years. They could not immediately be reached Wednesday afternoon for comment.

Stephenson declined to detail the compensation package or the reasons for their decision to join Northmarq, saying only that he offered the team “a stable financial platform.” A spokesperson at Capmark’s headquarters in Horsham, PA tells GlobeSt.com that the team, which represented Capmark’s entire staff, resigned effective Wednesday and that they are taking over Capmark’s 3,500 square feet of office space at City Center.

“Right now do not have plans to re-staff an office in that area at this time,” the spokesperson says.

Stephenson says that Northmarq has been growing pretty steadily over the past 10 years and has always been interested in the Northwest. “Even though we had grown to about the size we ultimately wanted to be, we still had a hole in the Northwest part of the country,” he says. “We never found the right opportunity until now.”

The seven people from Capmark are now employees of Northmarq, he says, adding that each office has its own budget and is run more or less like a small business. “We don’t dictate how the pay or who they hire,” he says. “We basically allow them to do business to the best of their ability by providing a platform, technology–and management-wise, that’s going to work for them. We also provide a [loan] servicing platform.”

With 32 offices nationwide, Northmarq has an average annual production volume of $10 billion. It also has a servicing portfolio of life insurance, CMBS and agency loans totaling over $37 billion.

Until this year, it had only two West Coast offices, one in Los Angeles and the other in San Francisco. It now has four West Coast offices. Two months ago it launched an office in San Diego with a multifamily team that had previously worked for Citigroup.

“We see this as a golden opportunity for a private company like ours, with stable financial underpinnings, to enhance our market position in an era of challenging business conditions,” Northmarq CEO Ed Padilla says in a prepared statement. “We intend to come out of this recession with a stronger company.”

In Minneapolis, Northmarq provides not only mortgage banking but also property management and brokerage services for both leasing and investment sales. It did so by acquiring United Properties, which now operates under the Northmarq banner.In Minneapolis, Northmarq provides not only mortgage banking but alsoproperty management and brokerage services for both leasing and investment sales. It did so last year by merging with the services businesses of United Properties, still operates as an investor and developer in Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Denver. Both Northmarq and United Properties are part of Marquette Real Estate Group, which is privately owned by the Pohlad Family.

“We are attempting to expand that platform to other cities but it will be a process that will take time,” Stephenson says.”

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