Goodbye, Polacheck

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

    With the recent sale of The Polacheck Co. Inc. to El Segundo, Calif.-based CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., Milwaukee lost one of its most venerable corporate names. With the sale, the Polacheck name was almost instantly obliterated from the company’s former Web site, However, the California company is determined to extensively promote its CBRE brand in Wisconsin to create a new omnipresent name in this market. The company’s growth in Wisconsin could even include additional acquisitions of other brokerage firms in the state, according to James Reid, president of CBRE’s eastern division. The firm has taken the additional acquisition approach in other markets in which it has acquired its local partners, Reid said.

    "We’ve been known to do that, if it is the right fit," Reid said. The company’s philosophy is to position itself as the leader of the markets where it operates, Reid said. "We’re looking for great market-leading best partners," he said. "Our core objective has been to lead in markets worldwide." Indeed, the CBRE brand may be new to Wisconsin, but it’s a force worldwide. For the fifth year in a row, CBRE is the leading brand in commercial real estate, according to a survey of real estate professionals around the world by The Lipsey Co.

    The sale of Polacheck to CBRE will increase the Milwaukee office’s access to business with national and international firms, according to Max Rasansky, former president of Polacheck who is staying on as the managing director of CBRE’s Wisconsin operations. "As more decisions are made outside of Milwaukee, you better have a strong partner," Rasansky said. "The future is more global. (But) as you go more global, you can’t lose your personal touch at home." In recent years, Polacheck was losing business to national and international firms in its own back yard, Rasansky said.

    "A real hard lesson that I’ve learned," Rasansky said. "What we have found is we get invited to a lot of meetings. But then national tenant reps get the business. Sometimes they will hire us as the local broker. That’s fine, but we’re just seen as the local guy." CBRE is one of those key international players. It is the largest commercial real estate services firm in the world, with 14,500 employees at more than 200 offices. By comparison, Polacheck had 117 employees in three offices in Wisconsin.

    "It will bring us the most extensive service offering, and a wealth of resources and expertise that will enable our professionals to serve our clients’ needs more completely than ever before," Rasansky said. Polacheck was CBRE’s Wisconsin affiliate for about 10 years until Polacheck shareholders recently agreed to sell the company to CBRE for about $20 million. Rasansky is one of the shareholders. He declined to disclose the names of the others. "They are all people involved in the business," he said. "They are people who, over the years, have attained shareholder status within the company."

    Reid said the Wisconsin offices will continue operating with few noticeable changes, other than the new name. CBRE will also bring additional resources to Milwaukee for commercial real estate market research, executives said. That will help place Milwaukee on the international market research map. "We have a vast respect for the Milwaukee business," Reid said. "That’s what attracted us here in the first place." "It’s business as usual for the firm," Rasansky said. "Times change. Companies go through changes. I think the thing you want to avoid is becoming a dinosaur. Today, the world is global."

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