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Aiming To Double Its D.C. Office By 2020, Colliers Acquires Serten Advisors

Global real estate firm Colliers International aims to double the size of its D.C. office by 2020, and it has just taken a big step toward that goal with the acquisition of Tysons-based tenant representation firm Serten Advisors

Aiming To Double Its D.C. Office By 2020, Colliers Acquires Serten Advisors
Colliers DC Regional Manager David Parker

Serten's 12 brokers will join Colliers' 35-broker D.C. team, a significant addition to the firm's growing D.C. branch. 

Colliers, a Toronto-based real estate services company founded in 1976, had historically operated in the U.S. through affiliates. Then, around seven years ago it began opening its own U.S. branches, launching its D.C. office in 2010.

In February 2016, Colliers brought on David Parker from PM Realty Group to lead its D.C. office. Since then, the firm has grown by about 12% in personnel and revenue, Parker said.

The Serten acquisition, bringing Colliers' D.C. team to 47 brokers, is part of the firm's goal of expanding to 70 brokers by 2020, Parker said. As part of that continued expansion, he hopes to bolster the firm's landlord representation practice and investment sales and capital markets teams. He said this will help Colliers compete with the region's largest firms such as JLL, Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE.

"This is a relatively new office for Colliers in Washington," Parker said. "There is no reason why we will not grab significant market share as we continue to grow here. The service delivery we have, and will have, is absolutely comparable to any of our competitors."  

Serten Advisors Steve Hubberman Paul Schweitzer
Serten Advisors' Steven Hubberman and Paul Schweitzer at an April 2016 event

Founded by Steven Hubberman and Paul Schweitzer in 2011, Serten is based at 1765 Greensboro Station Place in Tysons. The team will merge offices with Colliers' Tysons outpost at 7900 Tysons One Place in Vienna. Colliers also has a downtown D.C. office at 1625 I St. NW. 

"When we embarked on this process and word got out we were considering being acquired, we talked to all the big firms," Schweitzer said. "We just did not feel that they had what we were trying to build in terms of a collaborative, entrepreneurial, client-first model. That led us to deeper discussion with Colliers." 

Serten has represented clients such as GXS, HMSHost, Dutch Grayling, GovDelivery, Citizant, Corstone Capital and Kastle Systems in office moves throughout the region from Chantilly to Downtown D.C. to Gaithersburg. Following the acquisition, Schweitzer plans to do more deals in the Maryland suburbs, an area where Colliers has not had much activity.

"We work extensively in suburban Maryland," Schweitzer said. "We have a wide variety of clients and we think with Colliers' platform we'll be able to significantly increase, from a position of strength, what we've already achieved." 

Parker said what drew Colliers to Serten, in addition to its expertise in tenant representation and the D.C. suburbs, was the quality of the team's brokers. 

"Steve and Paul are two of the top tenant advisers in the D.C. Metro area," Parker said. "The only way you can build a team is to have people who lead, who encourage other people to grow and work together, and who do that because of the force of their character and hard work."