New York broker giant acquiring ARA; deal includes Austin office, multifamily heavyweight Pat Jones

Dec 9, 2014
Austin Business Journal

A major international real estate acquisition will impact the local office of Apartment Realty Advisors, which is headed by Pat Jones, one of the top multifamily brokers in Austin

BGC Partners Inc. is acquiring ARA for about $110 million. ARA will be part of the Newmark Grubb Knight Frank commercial brokerage network owned by BGC, the company said in announcing the deal on Dec 1

Jones said the acquisition is likely to lead to additional hiring in Austin

In Austin, ARA has about 12 brokers who handle a variety of multifamily deals, including conventional apartments, student and manufactured housing, primarily in Austin and San Antonio but occasionally outside of Central Texas. Jones said 2014 deal transaction volume in Austin and San Antonio should be about $700 million more than in 2013, which was a landmark year for sales

ARA was recently involved in the sale of Tree, a new urban luxury project in South Austin that was purchased by a private Canadian family. Other major ARA deals this year include Northland at Stonehollow in North Austin, Landmark Double Creek in South Austin and Allure in Cedar Park

ARA has been headquartered in Atlanta for years and is one of the largest multifamily-only brokerages in the country. BGC is headquartered in New York City and was founded by B. Gerald Cantor in 1945, about the same time he started global securities firm Cantor Fitzgerald

Cantor Fitzgerald's deep market connections bode well for ARA, Jones said

In all, BGC will acquire the services and books of business from about 100 ARA brokers in 28 cities. The acquisitions are being closed market by market. According to Jones, Houston, Dallas and Denver have already closed. Austin will likely be in the next two weeks. All of the offices should be in BGC's Newmark Grubb Knight Frank portfolio by the end of the year

Despite the holidays when commercial real estate traditionally has slowed, Jones said numerous deals are in the hopper and should spill into the new year

In Austin in particular, many new developments are being delivered that in the normal course of the economic cycle leads to more sales. With interest rates remaining low, investors are eager to buy, Jones said

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