CBRE Adds UCR in Latest Expansion Effort

In order to strengthen its retail side, CBRE Group has acquired United Commercial Realty.

Mickey Ashmore, UCR

By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor 

CBRE Group Inc. has acquired United Commercial Realty, of Dallas, a CRE firm that specializes in retail services, CBRE announced late Friday. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

UCR manages about 8 million square feet of retail properties across the United States for institutional investors such as Prudential Real Estate Investors, Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management, Invesco, Heitman and Miller Capital Advisory.

Some of the higher-profile shopping centers the firm manages, a UCR spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive, are The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, Maple Grove, Minn.; Hill Country Galleria, Austin, Texas; Desert Crossing, Palm Desert, Calif.; Danada Square West, Wheaton, Ill.; Twin Creeks Village, Allen, Texas; and Lakeside Market, Plano, Texas.

In addition, UCR and its urban leasing division serve as leasing agent for 20 million square feet of shopping centers nationally, including many mixed-use properties and lifestyle and regional centers.

On the tenant-rep side, UCR represents more than 200 retailers and restaurants, among them Target, Capital One, Sprouts, Sur La Table, Victoria’s Secret, Athleta, the Gap and Starbucks.

The firm also provides brokerage services for institutional investors and for retailers across Texas and in other markets.

UCR’s staff of more than 100 personnel, including the firm’s affiliate office in Austin, will join CBRE. President/CEO Mickey Ashmore will become vice chairman, retail services for CBRE, with responsibility for directing key national retail strategies for the firm, while overseeing CBRE’s retail operations throughout Texas. Asset Services (property management) leader Scott Weaver will become a senior managing director in CBRE’s Asset Services team, with national responsibility for retail asset services and driving new retail business.

UCR was founded in 1988. Ashmore joined the company as its leader in 1991 and later became a primary owner.

“We are now able to meet the needs of our institutional clients in ways we have not been able to in the past just by being a part of CBRE’s international platform,” Ashmore told CPE. “By combining CBRE’s resources and national relationships with UCR’s current client roster and regional market expertise, I believe CBRE/UCR will become the dominant retail service provider in the Southwest.”

“UCR has a reputation for premier service, creative marketing concepts, innovative retail strategies and exceptional client outcomes,” Michael Caffey, executive managing director of CBRE’s Texas region, said in a release. “They fit perfectly into our culture and will enable us to expand the range of services we can provide to retail clients.”

In September 2013, CBRE bought Fameco Real Estate, of Philadelphia, a leading CRE firm specializing in retail in the Mid-Atlantic region. <>