Residential brokerage @properties has acquired The Tricia Fox Group, a 19-agent group headed by veteran Gold Coast broker Tricia Fox, part of a post-acquisition shakeup that has become a recurring story in the real estate industry.
The Tricia Fox Group left Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage less than two weeks after the brokerage acquired the Keller Williams Gold Coast office, reports Crain’s. Real estate investor William O’Kane, who owned Keller Williams offices in Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast and West Loop, sold them earlier this month to Coldwell Banker. The four offices employed a total of about 300 agents.
“Once the rug was pulled out from us, so to speak, it was a good time to look at options,” says Fox.
Fox, who says she sold $19.1 million in real estate last year, focuses mainly on Gold Coast, Lincoln Park and downtown properties, with current listings including Trump International Hotel & Tower condominiums and a $4.3-million penthouse in a David Adler-designed building. She declines to disclose terms of her agreement with @properties but says they were “competitive.”
“I think Coldwell Banker is more of a generic name,” she says. “It’s very, very large, whereas @properties has carefully nurtured their image to be local-only.”
“Every large firm in the city” is going after the former Keller Williams agents, says Jim Kinney, vice president of luxury sales at Baird & Warner Inc. “People, by their nature, just don’t like a third party making a decision on where they are,” Kinney says. “They like to make that decision themselves.”
Fox’s group worked for Coldwell Banker for about six years before joining Keller Williams in 2003. Fox says about 80 Keller Williams brokers, including her group, have already left Coldwell Banker and Kinney estimates that up to 35 percent of the affected Keller Williams agents will leave within two years.
Kinney’s “figures are completely misinformed as far as our experience goes,” a Coldwell Banker spokeswoman wrote in an email to Crain’s. “We are confident that the agents that stay with Coldwell Banker since our recent acquisition will have the best marketing materials, resources and support in the marketplace to grow their business,” she wrote.
Founded in 2000, @properties has grown quickly, despite the downturn, branching out to the North Shore in recent years. Its sales volume rose about 16% in 2010, to $2.1 billion, ranking it third in the Chicago market. The brokerage has had a goal to build a stronger presence in the Gold Coast, says company co-founder Thaddeus Wong.
“Over the past five years, we’ve been working really heavily to get into that market,” Wong says. With the addition of Fox, this “helps us improve our footprint on the resale market in the Gold Coast.”