Manekin holds talks on merger

January 24, 1995|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,Sun Staff Writer

The Manekin Corp., responding to industry consolidation, has begun exploratory talks to merge the Baltimore-based development and brokerage company, officials said yesterday.

Manekin, which in nearly five decades has evolved into one of the area's most prolific development and brokerage operations, owning or managing 7.3 million square feet of commercial space, is discussing either a merger or alliance with a number of regional competitors, including the Carey Winston Co.

Chevy Chase-based Carey Winston has been attempting to expand its presence in the Baltimore market for the past year, ever since a property management partnership with Baltimore competitor Casey & Associates Inc. unraveled. Carey Winston, which manages more than 16 million square feet of commercial space in Maryland, Washington and Virginia, has also been working to secure leasing contracts downtown.

A partnership between Manekin and Carey Winston would create a regional real estate management powerhouse, managing a combined 23.3 million square feet of commercial space, or roughly one-third more space than is contained in all of downtown Baltimore.

"There's been a lot of consolidation in the industry in the past five years," said Donald Manekin, a Manekin Corp. partner and senior vice president. "And Manekin Corp., like others, finds itself a different company after the recession. We've been solicited by a number of firms, because that's the nature of the industry at this point. At this stage we're just having general conversations."

The industry's consolidation is being driven mostly by institutional owners who assumed control of projects through foreclosure in the wake of the collapse of real estate markets nationwide in late 1990. As institutions work to streamline their own operations, they increasingly look to deal with fewer brokers and property managers.

In 1993, privately held Manekin generated revenues of $8 million, a 14 percent increase from the year before, largely on the strength of consulting, brokerage and construction services for others.

Manekin's analysis occurs in the midst of a continuing shift away from family domination of the firm, started by brothers Bernard and Harold Manekin in the aftermath of World War II.

Yesterday, CB Commercial Real Estate Group Inc. announced that Richard P. Manekin had left Manekin to join the nationwide brokerage firm as a marketing director of office properties for its Baltimore office.

"This represents a platform for the future, especially since institutional ownership has become an important factor and more consolidation is taking place," said Mr. Manekin, who had been a senior real estate adviser. "And CB's technological edge is very important to me as we become both an information-driven business and society."

In the past two years, CB Commercial has spent more than $30 million to upgrade computers and other resources nationwide, said Steven H. Gassaway, a senior vice president and manager of the Los Angeles firm's Baltimore office.

Mr. Gassaway said Mr. Manekin -- who left Manekin in 1989 to pursue a filmmaking career but returned after a five-year absence -- will focus on office leasing and tenant representation, as well as developing regional strategies.

Richard Manekin's departure marks the second time in three years that a Manekin family member has left to join a nationwide brokerage operation. In August 1992, Robert A. Manekin joined New York-based Julien J. Studley Inc. as a senior managing director in the firm's Bethesda office.

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