PROFILE: Lee and Associates

Lee and Associates is today busy finding deals for REITs, financial institutions and private owners.

Stephen Peters

By Keat Foong, Executive Editor

Los Angeles — Lee and Associates, which bills itself as the fourth largest commercial real estate sales organization in the country, is today busy finding deals for REITs, financial institutions and private owners.

Recent deals for Lee and Associates this year include Archstone’s $80 million acquisition of a 187-unit former condo development in San Bruno, Calif. The firm represented both buyer and seller in the transaction. In another REIT transaction, Lee and Associates helped Colonial Properties Trust identify the 341-unit Colonial Grand at Palm Vista apartments in Las Vegas and purchase it for $40.9 million.

Lee and Associates says that the firm is based on a “broker owned” business model under which brokers have a vested interest in building a long-term relationships with clients rather than working just to close the deal for commissions. Today, the West Coast-based company has 600 partners, and deals from Texas to Washington, says Stephen Peters, principal.

What helps the company differentiate itself in the marketplace is also the full menu of services it offers, incorporating, for example, REO advisory, property and construction management, landlord representation, financial services, and valuation and appraisal.

These service can help outline a range of options for clients, says Peters. “In a time of disparate asset values, we need to be very creative in offering solutions,” he says. “Being able to offer a full menu of services helps us give clarity to what is the best strategy for the client to pursue.” Such services will come in handy in the REO business the company has begun to add to its business, on behalf of banks and other financial institutions.

According to Peters, many players today favor off-market transactions because they are more discreet. The transactions on behalf of Archstone and Colonial Properties were both off-market deals, in which Lee and Associates connected buyer and seller. “We knew Archstone was the logical buyer. When the seller was looking to make the disposition, we were able to put the two groups together very quickly,” says Peters.

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