Boerke Hitches Onto a Bigger Wagon

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

    In dropping its affiliation with Grubb & Ellis Co. and joining the Cushman & Wakefield Inc. Alliance program, The Boerke Company, a Milwaukee-based real estate brokerage, is expanding its access to the global economy. "We’re very excited about it being a great fit for us," said David Boerke, principal of The Boerke Company. "They are going to bring a lot of expertise to Milwaukee." New York-based Cushman & Wakefield has 192 offices in 58 countries with 11,000 employees. Last year, Cushman & Wakefield negotiated the purchase and sale of more than $35 billion in office properties and completed transactions with a total aggregate value of $69 billion. The company has strong connections on Wall Street and the Pacific Rim, and its global network will help provide more business for The Boerke Company, Boerke said. Chicago-based Grubb & Ellis had about $463 million in sales last year. By comparison, Cushman & Wakefield Inc. had about $1.2 billion in sales last year.

    "These alliances are all about referring business," Boerke said. "We think the Cushman and Wakefield brand is a very powerful brand, particularly to anyone in the business." The Boerke Company was affiliated with Grubb & Ellis for nine years. "We were happy with them," Boerke said. The Boerke Company shifted its affiliation to take advantage of a chance to work with Cushman & Wakefield, not because of any problems with Grubb & Ellis, Boerke said. Grubb & Ellis could make a return to the Milwaukee area.

    "They have said they are looking around the market to find another affiliate," said Andrew Jensen, principal at The Boerke Company. "We think that will be a great opportunity for some other broker, because they do a great job," Boerke said.

    A Grubb & Ellis spokesperson could not be reached for comment. The change in affiliation reflects a growing national presence in the Milwaukee market. The Polacheck Co. Inc. recently was sold to New York-based CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. (see story on Page 22). By contrast, The Boerke Company will remain independently owned and will merely be affiliated with Cushman & Wakefield.  "We think that is like having the best of both worlds," Boerke said.

    The Boerke Company had worked with Cushman & Wakefield for years, well before establishing their affiliation. "We had a significant business relationship with them for a long time," Boerke said. "Many years. We know quite a few of their corporate brokers around the country." "Milwaukee is an important strategic market for us, and The Boerke Company is the perfect fit for our clients in the region," said David Lawton, executive managing director for the Cushman & Wakefield Alliance. "Culturally, we are both long-time market leaders who value our heritage of innovation and commitment to client service."

    Grubb & Ellis has affiliates in Madison and the Fox Valley, so under its affiliation, The Boerke Company concentrated on southeastern Wisconsin. With the Cushman & Wakefield affiliation, The Boerke Company will be covering the entire state.

    With the larger territory, The Boerke Company might decide to acquire brokerages in other Wisconsin markets or open new offices in other parts of the state. "We have to be open to that, and certainly would be," Boerke said. The Boerke Company has 20 brokers and may eventually hire more, but is in no hurry to do so, he said.

    "We think (20 brokers) is an excellent size in this market," Boerke said. "We think (with the Cushman & Wakefield Alliance), they will be more effective and better at what we do. If the opportunity presents itself, we have the capacity for more brokers." "We’ve always grown in a controlled matter," Jensen said. "We don’t want to add brokers just to add brokers. But we are definitely looking for good brokers and new principals."

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