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EXCLUSIVE: CBRE Close To Transwestern RBJ Talent Acquisition


Two of Boston’s leading commercial real estate firms are about to combine workforces.

Steve Purpura.

CBRE is close to a deal to acquire a sizable chunk of Transwestern RBJ’s remaining talent in Boston, according to sources familiar with ongoing negotiations.

The deal is not expected to be a complete merger, as sources indicated to Bisnow that Transwestern will maintain some form of a Boston presence. Several Transwestern RBJ employees have reportedly already been offered jobs at CBRE. An official announcement is imminent.

Transwestern Managing Partner Steve Purpura, who leads the company’s operations in Boston, New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia, is expected to take a significant leadership role in the new CBRE venture. 

Representatives with CBRE and Transwestern RBJ declined to comment for this story. Multiple calls to Purpura went unanswered.

The potential CBRE/Transwestern deal is eventually expected to bring CBRE New England fully under the global CBRE brand. The Boston company is currently structured as a joint venture agreement between CBRE and the Whittier Partners Group. Andrew Hoar is the current president of CBRE New England, and it remains unclear what, if any, role he would have under the new structure.  

The news comes after a month of high-profile Transwestern RBJ executives leaving the company for Cushman & Wakefield and JLL.

Thomas Ashe and Robert Byrne

Bob Richards, a founding partner of Transwestern RBJ precursor Richards Barry Joyce & Partners (Houston-based Transwestern acquired RBJ in 2013), left for an executive vice chairman role at C&W earlier this month. Michael Joyce, another RBJ founding partner, announced in January he was leaving to join C&W, also as a vice chairman. 

Transwestern RBJ partners Thomas Ashe and Robert Byrne left to join C&W as executive director and managing director, respectively, the firm announced last week

“It was four very independent decisions,” Byrne told Bisnow last week. “It’s four guys in very different points in their careers.”

Transwestern RBJ partner Jamey Lipscomb left the company for an executive vice president position at JLL, his new company announced late Friday. Lipscomb and Byrne declined to speak about Transwestern’s future when asked by Bisnow during interviews regarding their respective new roles. 

The workforce at CBRE New England is aware talks are ongoing, but employees at various levels of seniority, including current partners, have been left in the dark as to what the future holds, CBRE New England employees speaking on the condition of anonymity told Bisnow.  

Discussions of the potential CBRE/Transwestern deal drew comparison to an earlier Boston broker shuffle involving C&W. Newmark Knight Frank CEO Barry Gosin pursued a Boston C&W team led by Rob Griffin for years. The deal closed in 2015, and Griffin was part of a team of roughly 30 C&W brokers who decamped for Newmark.