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HOUSTON-For the third time in as many months, a team from SRS Real Estate Partners, formerly Staubach Retail, has struck out on its own to launch a new brand. Scott Shillings, Jake Baker, Jonathan Moseley, Steven Thomas and Melissa Wells have set up shop as Riverway Retail LLC, with the intent to represent tenants.

“We absolutely loved being with Staubach,” Baker tells GlobeSt.com. “Scott Shillings opened the Houston office seven years ago and has grown it.” However, Baker continues, with the current economic shift, things tend to change. “This is the time to reflect, put pencil to paper and determine what to do next, and what will assist clients best,” Baker explains. “We thought it was a good time to go out and start Riverway.”

Baker says the team has a variety of retail experience; he and Moseley know how to deal with pads, while Shillings and Thomas handle the anchors and junior anchors and Wells takes care of administration and marketing. The diverse knowledge, Baker remarks, is knowledge shared. “Typically in these big developments there are some pad sites, so when Scott and Steven hear of something, they let us know and we do the same,” Baker says. “It allows us to be ahead of the curve with our clients.”

Riverway Retail is already working on some lease expansion deals with Verizon Wireless and Bridgestone. Baker points out that while few companies are recession-proof, these two companies have shown they can absorb recessionary times better than others. Verizon remains strong because people will give up a lot before they give up cell phones. And with Bridgestone, “a lot of people don’t want to buy new cars, so they’re spending time getting their old ones serviced,” Baker says.

In launching a new company, the Riverway Retail folks are following in the footsteps of two other Staubach alums. At the end of April, Adam Schiller and Brian Murphy launched EDGE Realty Partners in Dallas after a long-term stint with Staubach Retail and a stopover with Endeavor Real Estate Group in Austin, TX. Weeks later in Phoenix, Staubach Retail Services-West LLC, which never took the SRS Real Estate name, launched a new operation under the name Velocity Retail Group LLC headed up by David Cheatham and Darren Pitts.

SRS Real Estate Partners’ chief operating officer Drew Kiesling tells GlobeSt.com that while the company is sorry to see the talent leave, it’s actually a compliment in a strange sort of way. He explains that the departures actually speak to the talent of the group. Strong performers in any group tend to want to step out and do their own thing every once in awhile, he points out.

Kiesling went through the same scenario himself, having spent much of the 1990s with Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP before starting his own business. After a few years of running his own shop, he joined SRS Real Estate Partners. “I’ve done the exact same thing these guys did, so I can see this from both sides,” he says. “You get an itch to start your own business and these guys felt it was the right time to do this.”

He goes on to say that SRS Real Estate Partners has been able to bring on new and seasoned talent such as Phoenix-based Michael Polachek and his team, who were formerly with RED Realty Advisors. “We aren’t excited about anyone leaving, but it has allowed us to bring in some more good, talented people,” Kiesling says.

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