Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Colorado Springs commercial brokerage faces uncertain future

By Rich Laden Published: April 8, 2014

The future of 11-year-old Sierra Commercial Real Estate is up in the air after three well-known brokers left the firm, triggering a potential company breakup as other brokers decide if they'll leave as well.

Sierra Commercial owner Dave Delich said he's waiting for other brokers to finalize decisions about whether to stay. Based on their actions, Sierra Commercial - one of the city's more prominent brokerages - could continue with a revamped team, downsize to a smaller operation or merge or align itself with another firm, Delich said. Or, Sierra Commercial's name could be shelved and its brokerage services absorbed by its parent company, he said.

Delich, a star Colorado College hockey player in the 1970s, owns Sierra Properties Inc., a construction management, asset management, property management and maintenance support firm he launched in 1988.

In May 2003, several brokers with Palmer McAllister in Colorado Springs joined Delich to create Sierra Commercial, a subsidiary of Sierra Properties, which is unaffected by the departures and remains in operation. Brokers operated as independent contractors and shared in company commissions, much like other brokerages.

Sierra Commercial became one of the city's most recognizable full-service brokerages over the last 11 years, offering sales, leasing and advisory services in the marketing of offices, shopping centers, industrial buildings and land. The company also has an active research operation.

Last month, office specialists Kent Mau, Brian Wagner and Mark O'Donnell left Sierra to join New York-based Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a national commercial real estate firm. The three will head the company's Springs office.

Mau said their decision was driven by a desire to join a national firm. Commercial real estate runs in cycles, and access to resources offered by a national company has become critical in the wake of the recession, Mau said.

Sierra, meanwhile, was missing out on some listings because it didn't have the resources of a national firm, he said.

"That is business out the door," Mau said.

Their departure probably will contribute to the end of Sierra Commercial, Mau predicted.

"I suspect that Sierra Commercial will not be in business in 60 to 70 days," he said.

But Delich said he doesn't know yet.

Other key brokers at Sierra, including Mark Useman, Dave Bacon and Dale Wheeler - experts in retail, industrial and land, respectively - are making a decision about their future, Delich said. They could not be reached for comment Monday.

Sierra brokers have been wooed many times over the years by national firms, and there was no animosity in their decision to leave, Delich said.

"It doesn't surprise me that after years of courting, they made this move," he said.

Delich expects to know more about Sierra Commercial's future by week's end.

Meanwhile, the Springs office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank is operating temporarily on the ninth floor of the Alamo Corporate Center at 102 S. Tejon St., a couple of floors above Sierra Commercial's offices. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank eventually will wind up somewhere permanently in downtown, Mau said.

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Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228

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