September 16, 2011
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
It happened practically overnight. Cassidy Turley acquired Boston’s FHO Partners and with that, the national commercial real estate services firm is suddenly well ensconced in Beantown.
“When we announced Cassidy Turley in March 2010, one of our top priorities was to be in Boston,” Mark Burkhart, CEO of Cassidy Turley, told Commercial Property Executive. “It’s a tier-one city so it was important for us to do that.”
FHO made its debut in 2007, founded by a group of industry veterans. Bringing a long history and well-honed expertise to the table, the partners and their team quickly catapulted the firm to the top of the list of leading commercial real estate brokerage and advisory services providers in greater Boston. For Cassidy Turley, FHO provided the perfect vehicle for quickly establishing a strong footprint in Boston.
“Many of us in the firm knew Joe Fallon and Brian Hines and many of the other partners there for many years,” Burkhart said. “When we thought about Boston, it was our high hopes that they would be a perfect fit for us. They were number one on our list.” FHO is now formally known as Cassidy Turley FHO, but it will ultimately drop the last part of the designation and operate as Cassidy Turley.
Cassidy Turley’s entrée into metropolitan Boston comes at a time when the area’s real estate market is in recovery mode. In the office market, year-over-year vacancy rates are down and rental rates are up, according to a second quarter report by FHO. And the future looks bright. The healthcare, education and technology sectors buoyed Boston during the recession, and increasing expansion and relocation activity among technology and life sciences companies is expected to result in dwindling availability across most markets, according to the report.
For Cassidy Turley, solid fundamentals are just part of the attraction. “When you look at Boston, first of all, on the financial services side, a tremendous number of our existing clients are headquartered there, and when you’re client-focused that is really important,” Burkhart noted. “Just the types of industries that are here in Boston are very important to us too. Clearly, a tier-one market like Boston is something that is important to us, and particularly, I think the synergies between our Washington, New York and Boston offices are very important.”
Indeed, FHO will play a large role in Cassidy Turley’s overall growth plans beyond the Commonwealth. “FHO has a lot of best-in-class services that we’d love to share with the rest of our partners in Cassidy Turley. So we’re excited; it’s an exciting moment for us.”
Boston was not the only town on Cassidy Turley’s expansion list when it first kicked off the business in 2010. Dallas and Houston were targets, and so was Atlanta. In January, the firm brought CAPSTAR Commercial Real Estate Services, an established market leader in the two big Lone Star State cities, into the fold, and earlier this month, Cassidy Turley acquired the brokerage and property management businesses of Carter, which provided a vital presence in Atlanta and Central Florida.
And there’s more. “We have a significant management portfolio in Chicago and we are under confidentiality agreements there, and we are also looking at strengthening our market position in L.A. And that will really complete the priorities that we set out 19 months ago as we launched the firm. We’re pretty close to meeting our strategic growth objectives in the market.”