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HOUSTON-An opportunity to work in an investment environment coupled with the ability to truly branch out nationally spurred Craig LaFollette to move himself and his multifamily investment team to Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP’s local office. In doing so, LaFollette ends a close to 13-year relationship he had with CB Richard Ellis – at least the second time around.

“I’d started there in 1985, then left a couple of years later. Then I rejoined them in 1997,” LaFollette tells GlobeSt.com. He adds he left CBRE on excellent terms to begin Holliday Fenoglio’s dedicated multifamily group. “We enjoyed it at CB. We respect that firm very much. This move just gives us an opportunity to grow our business in a different direction,” LaFollette comments.

LaFollette says he and his team had pondered various alternatives for quite some time and acknowledges other firms had been approached. The process involved a thorough examination of all the best options.

“There are a lot of good firms out there,” LaFollette remarks. “We just believed this was the best fit for us.”

First, he goes on to say, Holliday Fenoglio offers the opportunity to branch out nationally. Because the company doesn’t operate on a strict geographic platform, the new team has the entire country to work with. “We have, in years past, marketed properties from coast to coast, but it makes it much easier if doors are already open and you can go and service clients where they have properties outside of Houston and the state of Texas,” LaFollette says.

Second, Holliday Fenoglio’s M.O. is strictly capital markets and investments. “They’re not leasing space or managing properties,” LaFollette says. “This is a single focus on capital markets. We’re here, as a tool or group, to fit into that and to use that culture to grow our business.”

Finally, the economic downturn was a good time for the team to shift locations, LaFollette says. It’s difficult to make a move when markets are strong, as it’s more disruptive. However, in relocating when the economy is in a trough, “we can catch the wave going up, and create momentum with the new firm,” LaFollette comments.

The move leaves CBRE’s local office without a dedicated multifamily team at present. A statement from Mark Taylor, CBRE’s Houston managing director said plans are still being formed for serving the area’s multifamily niche. In the meantime, the company offers a “large, experienced investment team that is capable of handling all of our clients’ multi-housing needs in Houston,” Taylor said in the statement.

In terms of LaFollette’s departure, “these are good guys, and we wish them the best of luck in a tough market,” Taylor’s statement said. Taylor declined an interview with GlobeSt.com.

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