COLLIERS International has significantly boosted its presence in the Gold Coast commercial property market through the acquisition of independent rival Coast Commercial.
The national firm has also announced a change in local leadership as Coast Commercial's founder and managing director Cameron Wilson replaces Stewart Gilchrist as director in charge of the Gold Coast office.
Under the terms of the acquisition, Coast Commercial - the city's largest independent commercial agency - will merge its Bundall operations with Collier's Surfers Paradise office from May 1.
Wilson says all eight agency staff will transfer across to Colliers, with some taking key roles within the organisation.
Wilson, who started his real estate career selling blocks of land at Parkwood in the late 1980s, has had a 22-year link with Coast Commercial. The firm's origins were as industrial specialist Lawrence and Hart, which was bought out by DTZ in 2005. Wilson took ownership of the DTZ office some time later before another buyout led him to establish Coast Commercial in 2013.
Colliers' acquisition came together relatively quickly, over the past two months, after Gold Coast boss Gilchrist announced his intention to move back to Brisbane to focus on retail investments. Colliers was on the hunt for a new director in charge and turned to Wilson.
"It was probably a timely move for us," Wilson tells Gold Coast Business News.
"It's been tougher trading conditions as an independent business and the Colliers business is well respected and very mature on the Gold Coast. It was a logical step for my team and my career to make the move."
Coast Commercial has a strong heritage in the industrial market, but also has built a reputation in property management.
The firm is expected to enhance Collier's property management business by bringing its portfolio across the river to Surfers Paradise. The division will be headed by Coast Commercial's Kelly McPherson who will become director of real estate management for Colliers International Gold Coast.
Coast Commercial has also developed a strong profile in retail leasing after a successful campaign at Oracle delivered full occupancy during the worst of the city's property downturn.
Colliers' buyout comes in the wake of rising activity in the Gold Coast commercial property market, led by strong buyer interest in retail centres and industrial properties.
"All aspects of the business are on the up, with industrial improving," says Wilson. "Our heritage in industrials can only enhance the existing Colliers team which is well respected. We also will bring a different skillset to the investment team and office leasing market as we have some capabilities there."
Colliers' buyout builds on an acquisition strategy that saw the firm merge with Sunshine Coast agency Rich & Partners earlier this year and Townsville's Ferry Property late last year.
Colliers' state chief executive Simon Beirne says the latest deal is part of an aggressive growth plan for Queensland that will deliver a "significant increase in business size and offering over the next three years".
"Several agencies were considered as part of the process and Coast Commercial was chosen due to their strong reputation and leadership, high calibre staff and experience in property management and commercial sales and leasing," he says.
"We were also looking to grow our real estate management services and Coast Commercial has a strong capability in that area."
Colliers has also consolidated its Queensland operations in Brisbane following the recent acquisitions, relocating to One One One Eagle Street.
Beirne says Colliers sees "significant opportunity" to grow market share, particularly over the short term.
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