November 1, 2000  

By Michelle Napoli
Executive Editor

(continued from..)

There were several other companies that had the same opportunity that I did ... but I think some of those other companies were afraid to give up their name, they were afraid to merge," said Buell. "It was very easy for me to make a decision, because it seemed in our business, in the long term, (the strategy) was to be aligned (nationally)."

The national reach but continued entrepreneurial spirit was also a draw for the Miami office's Robert Cambo, senior managing director of the Southeast region. (Cambo got his start in real estate by joining a two-man show run by Gov. Jeb Bush back in 1984, before launching his own one-man firm years later.) He likened it to being able to "have your cake and eat it, too."

"Now we are becoming a full-service firm," Cambo said. "It's really beneficial if you have an interest in going after large-scale build-to-suits."

Several years ago, before joining with Alliance, Cambo's company helped AMB Property Corp. buy the Blue Lagoon Business Park in Miami and then lease it. Bill Steinberg, vice president at the REIT, said the fact that Cambo is now part of Alliance Commercial makes the prospect of doing additional business with him that much more attractive.

"What I think it gives him the ability to do is tap into capital markets and get into other markets/cities that he might not otherwise have access to."

"My story is probably the best about how Alliance Commercial can work. ... You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by joining Alliance Commercial," Cambo concluded.

Each office operates as its own profit center, which Buell said gave him "an opportunity to be a national company but ... I get paid on performance in my local markets and region." He added: "I can make a decision without having to ask any director in any (other) market."

But the different offices do indeed work together, sharing contacts and expertise and helping each other with clients' projects outside of their own markets. Buell testified that within 60 days after he joined Alliance Commercial he was working with the Chicago office on a 300,000xsquarexfootxplus disposition for Carrier Corp. in Tyler, Texas.

Being able to share information with the other markets has proven valuable to his Miami operation, Cambo said. "It is a large-scale brain trust to use in operating in my market." It has enabled him to win bigger jobs than ever before, too. "You can't do that from a mom-and-pop shop, in any market."

The company's focus is clearly on large brokerage deals, but the autonomy of the individual offices and a certain amount of capital markets and development expertise within the overall firm allows each office the freedom and ability to react to what is taking place in its own market. Thus, the typical business of each office differs a bit. (The company says it has set up Alliance Commercial, Alliance Capital and Alliance Development as separate companies under the umbrella The Alliance Cos., although each office does manage its own business.)



"(When) Koll and CB merged, we were truly wondering, how we were we going to fit in... to CB, which was very bureaucratic, in our opinion," said Alliance Commercial co-founder and director of corporate services Alan Shaw.






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