No fewer than 13 local commercial brokers have left Cushman & Wakefield to go to a multitude of firms since last September, with nearly half going to the newly established Del Mar Heights office of Kidder Mathews.
The moves came prior to a Wall Street Journal report Tuesday that C&W, the third largest commercial brokerage in the world, behind CBRE and JLL, may be sold for as much as $2 billion to a privately-held, yet-to-be-identified entity.
That revelation comes on the heels of the acquisition of Cassidy Turley by the parent companies of DTZ last fall.
Meanwhile, the newly-created San Diego office of Seattle-based Kidder Mathews, has taken at least six veteran brokers from the local C&W roster.
Beginning earlier this year, Ron King, Joe McDermott and Robert Willingham left C&W to join Kidder as vice presidents, and senior VPs. Then, within the past few weeks, Mickey Morera, James Duncan and Jeff Brown who are specialists in sales and leasing of industrial and R&D properties, also left C&W to join Kidder.
The San Diego office of Colliers International announced earlier this year that it had hired the Urban Property Group team of Bill Shrader, David Maxwell, Joe Brady, and Serena Patterson away from C&W.
Other brokers that have made the switch from C&W since last fall include Kipp Gstettenbauer and Ryan King, who are now employed by Voit Real Estate Services.
Matthew Carlson appears to be the latest broker to make the switch from C&W. Carlson has joined the local offices of CBRE as a senior vice president.
Shrader, who leads the now Colliers Urban team, has more than 26 years of commercial real estate industry experience specializing in urban mixed-use, restaurant, and retail sales and leasing.
Shrader said while there is a place for C&W's national platform, it may not be such a good fit for San Diego.
"It's a great platform for a big city," Shrader said.
When asked why he preferred Colliers International to C&W, Brady said he preferred Colliers' more intimate climate.
"Cushman is a national firm that is more New York centric," Brady said.
McDermott has more than 25 years of experience and specializes in industrial properties. He has sold more than $350 million worth of industrial and office properties in more than 1,750 transactions.
McDermott said he likes not being part of such a huge firm.
"I've been with large companies and more intimate ones such as Burnham. I wanted to come back to a small company feel," McDermott said.
In the case of the moves to Kidder Mathews, there were other reasons to move other than the preference for more local control.
Mark Read, who formerly headed the local offices of CBRE and Voit, and has joined Kidder as well, said money may have also been a factor.
Read attributed the rapid growth of Kidder's brokerage staff to the firm's strong platform and as much as a 90 percent commission split that larger firms can't match.
Stephen Rosetta, C&W's managing broker, who estimated his company still retains about 60 brokers, said while his firm couldn't compete with a 90 percent commission split, there are trade-offs for those who would choose to leave firms of C&W's size or larger.
"These other firms simply can't provide the resources that full-service firms provide," Rosetta said.
From C&W's standpoint, the firm has lost some brokers with a lot of institutional knowledge.
Willingham has closed in excess of $150 million in sale and lease transactions.
Duncan has 17 years of experience in commercial real estate. He has leased and sold more than 9.5 million square feet of commercial real estate space with a total transaction volume of more than $882 million.
Brown has sold and leased more than 1.2 million square feet worth more than $150 million in his career.
King is a 29-year professional specializing in San Diego's North County in the areas of industrial and R&D sales and leasing, as well as land sales.
Over the course of his 28-year career, Morera has negotiated leases and sales in excess of 25 million square feet with a total transaction volume of $2.5 billion.