A major West Coast commercial real estate broker looking to grab a piece of Richmond’s vibrant market recently flagged down the town.
Southern California-based Lee & Associates is making its first foray into the region, starting with a small group looking for listings.
The effort is led by Josh Simon, John Colan, and Pierson Kreutzer from the company’s Washington, DC office. His Simon, president of Lee & Associates, said the goal is to eventually hire a local team in a formal Richmond office.
Founded in 1979, Lee & Associates has over 1,500 agents and 70 offices across North America, each owned by a broker. Simon said the company is working on all kinds of deals, including investment sales, development sites, leasing, etc. The privately held company’s revenue last year, he said, exceeded $18 billion.
As Lee’s DC office has grown since its launch in 2019, Simon said Richmond has gradually stood out as a place ready for growth, prompting the company to expand into the region. .
“What we’re seeing is this demand for capital moving further south and pushing into other areas like Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte and elsewhere,” Simon said. “There is a gap[between Charlotte and D.C.]. Richmond is clearly a growing area and we believe there will be more immigrants from here for years to come.”
The company’s clients were also eyeing Richmond.
“It was our own client who said, ‘Josh, John, find a land development, building reuse, or investment transaction opportunity in Richmond and the surrounding area,'” Simon said. “It was a function of the client, ‘We want to get into that space.'”
The group said it was discussing an initial Richmond-area listing but could not reveal many details just yet. “Their bread and butter is a $10 million to $20 million investment deal,” he said.
Colan, a UVA graduate from Richmond, acts like a fellow tour guide.
“We spend hours driving around in the car,” says Colan. “It was important to understand the stories of neighborhoods and specific buildings and keep[Simon and Kreutzer]up-to-date so they could speak fluently about the stories being told when marketing the site.”
Lee’s move into Richmond came about six months after national housing brokers arrived in town. in spring, Compass expands to Richmond Acquired two broker teams, Joyner Fine Properties and Liz Moore & Associates.