Since they sold their company to BGC Partners in October 2011, Jimmy Kuhn, president of New York-based Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF) and Barry Gosin, CEO, have been working to beef up their capital markets team. But the two leaders of NGKF found that to be difficult.

“It’s not easy to recruit top capital markets brokers,” Kuhn says.

So, when the opportunity came up to buy Atlanta-based Apartment Realty Advisors (ARA) and its 28-city operation, it was something Kuhn and the leadership at BGC couldn’t pass up. 

“We have a firm doing $10 billion [in volume] a year without being in New York and Southern California and without having cash to grow the business,” Kuhn says. “When you can be No. 2 out of the box, it’s just incredible. How often do you get the chance to buy the No. 2 company in the country in anything? We think it’s just a phenomenal opportunity.”

NGKF had a small multifamily presence in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

“We were not considered a player in the multifamily business,” Kuhn says. “Truthfully we were not really in that space. To grow that business organically would have been very difficult.”

Kuhn says ARA clients shouldn’t notice a difference in their service, but can, ultimately, expect a greater reach into new markets.

“There will be new markets where they [clients] will be able to use them [ARA consultants] and in some of the markets where ARA is not as large, they’ll get bigger,” he says. “We will give them the resources to expand their footprint.”

Kuhn plans to keep the current ARA leadership and executive committee in place, though they will report to him as head of the capital markets group at NGKF. By going with NGKF, ARA associates find themselves in an organization with little overlap in multifamily. 

“We’re keeping everybody,” he says. “The management team is the management team at Newmark. I want them to go out and do their brokerage business and not have to worry about the management part of the business. We’re going to let them continue to run like the great company they are.”