Longtime Oklahoma City commercial realty executives Harrison Levy, Mark Beffort and Tim Strange and associates have formed a new commercial property brokerage, Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort.
While new, the merged concerns date to 1905, when Levy's grandfather, Leon, founded a real estate and mortgage firm downtown, two years before statehood. Beffort and others started his arm of the new firm in 1996.
Levy and Beffort came together in 2004 to form Grubb & Ellis-Levy Beffort, which now has joined with William T. Strange & Associates, formerly associated with Sperry Van Ness, to form Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort. Levy is chairman. Beffort is CEO. Strange is president.
The merger will be formally revealed Wednesday at an event on the 50th floor of Devon Tower.
“We are very excited about our merger. Tim has developed a firm with tremendous talent focusing on an investment services platform which complements our strengths in investment services, corporate services and project leasing,” Beffort said. “The merger brings together the best in class professionals, each with a specific focus and unique skill set that will enable us to deepen the value we bring to our clients.”
Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort has a staff of 136 in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, including 30 brokers who work with tenants, landlords, investors and developers in all sectors of commercial real estate.
The firm, locally owned and managed, is an affiliate of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which, with London-based Knight Frank, employs 11,000 people in 340 offices worldwide, and is part of New York-based BGC Partners Inc.
“Our affiliation with Newmark allows us to continue to offer our clients the most comprehensive, forward-thinking commercial real estate brokerage, consulting and management services available,” Beffort said.
Strange had been affiliated with Sperry Van Ness, based in Irvine, Calif., since 2004. He said he left Sperry Van Ness for positive possibilities, not for negative reasons.
“First and foremost, because of Mark Beffort and Harrison Levy, the opportunity to partner with them, to build a greater enterprise collectively, and also to leverage our talents, skills and abilities and get better results for our clients — that's the bottom line,” Strange said. “(Sperry Van Ness is) a good company. There's nothing wrong with that company, nothing wrong with that platform.
“But I felt it was time to elevate our game, to challenge our advisers and staff, and this gave me the opportunity to merge into a bigger platform locally with more resources, as well as to step up our game through its international platform of Newmark Grubb.”
The local realignment stems from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Santa Ana, Calif.-based Grubb & Ellis Co. in early 2012. BGC Partners acquired Grubb & Ellis's assets just more than a year ago and started integrating them with Newmark Knight Frank, which BGC bought in October 2011. BGC Partners started in 2004 as a spinoff from New York-based Cantor Fitzgerald.
Beffort said the new local firm's direct connections to Wall Street and London finance are “night-and-day” different from its relationship to the old Grubb & Ellis Co. Grubb & Ellis Co. listed $150 million in assets and $167 million in debt at the end of 2011, about six weeks before it filed for bankruptcy.
“Grubb & Ellis was a national brokerage firm and purely based on brokerage business. They had a significant amount of debt and servicing that debt with a brokerage business is very, very difficult. Today, we have zero debt — the (former) Grubb & Ellis platform has zero debt, and they actually have significant capital behind them.”