Two real estate firms seal merger Coldwell Banker, Guckenburg join

October 13, 1992|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

Guckenburg Realty Inc., the Baltimore area's 11th largest commercial real estate brokerage, signed an agreement last week to merge with the Severna Park-based Coldwell Banker franchise owned by Gary Kaukonen.

The merger, retroactive to Oct. 1, nearly quadruples the number of commercial agents Coldwell Banker Home Realty Professionals has in Anne Arundel County.

Thomas Guckenburg, who owned the Glen Burnie-based company bearing his name, said his 19 agents are moving to Coldwell Banker, although a few may switch to specializing in residential sales.

Mr. Kaukonen's operation has 70 agents, but only four of them do commercial work, according to Bill Steffey, chief of commercial and industrial real estate for the Coldwell Banker franchise.

Mr. Steffey and Mr. Guckenburg said they expect the expanded commercial real estate division to give the Coldwell Banker franchise a virtual lock on commercial leasing in the county.

It will take advantage of Coldwell Banker's strength in the Annapolis and Severna Park areas and Guckenburg's stronghold in North County, they said.

Mr. Guckenburg said the merger allows him to concentrate on "putting together deals" while turning over the administrative and bookkeeping chores to Coldwell Banker.

Robert Lefenfeld, vice president and director for information services at Legg Mason Inc., called the merger part of a recent trend of blending the strengths of smaller and larger companies.

"Basically, in good economic times, it was very easy for a small shop to set up business -- there was enough business for everyone. What we are seeing is the efficiency of larger companies," he said.

Mr. Steffey's family firm, founded in 1905, merged in August 1991 with Coldwell Banker, which became the listing agent for several

Steffey properties. The commercial division has focused on Annapolis.

Guckenburg Realty's strength has been in northern Anne Arundel County, where the 7-year-old firm has leased such large properties as the Leedmark building in Glen Burnie and put together dozens of smaller deals in renovated old buildings along Crain Highway.

Coldwell Banker, which has offices in Severna Park and Annapolis, will add a third.

Mr. Guckenburg is closing his Dorsey Road office and opening an office in Ferndale Nov. 1.

Guckenburg Realty was ranked 11th in commercial real estate in the Baltimore area for 1991 by the Baltimore Business Journal's Top 25 List. It had done $6.9 million in commercial leases and sales. Coldwell Banker was not listed.

Sears, Roebuck and Co., which owns Coldwell Banker real estate operations throughout the country, announced this month that it intends to sell. Mr. Steffey and Mr. Guckenburg said that will mean little to the franchise they are part of, other than perhaps where the franchising fee check goes each month.

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