Transwestern’s Latest Expansion Move

Transwestern’s president of the Americas, Chip Clarke, chats with CPE about his company's latest expansion move through the purchase of Richards Barry Joyce & Partners, a full-service real estate firm based in Boston.
Transwestern's Chip Clarke

Transwestern’s Chip Clarke

Some things don’t change. Even when a big national CRE firm buys an independent brokerage, it’s still “Location, location, location.” But obviously other factors are crucial, too, and that’s very true of Transwestern’s acquisition, for undisclosed terms, of Richards Barry Joyce & Partners LLC, a full-service CRE firm based in Boston.

Commercial Property Executive chatted this morning with principals of both companies and find out what drove the deal, both geographically and otherwise.

“We’ve known those guys for many years,” and have always respected RBJ’s reputation, Chip Clarke, Transwestern’s president, Americas told CPE, and Transwestern had long wanted a presence in Boston, so the fit was a natural one.

“Boston was one of the big holes in our map,” he added, because Transwestern’s Northeast business has until now been conducted from offices in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut.

From the other side, Steve Purpura, managing partner of RBJ, told CPE, Transwestern’s lack of an office in the Boston area was a big positive for the smaller company, giving them confidence that they can retain their current staff and continue operating much as they have.

Purpura noted that Boston area is one of the nation’s top two or three biotechnology/pharma markets. In addition to its leasing and sales of office and industrial (manufacturing, warehouse, flex) space, RBJ generates 20 to 25 percent of its business from representing both landlords and tenants in the biotech market and is considered a leading area firm for life-sciences expertise, he said.

For his part, Carke said that biotech is “clearly a growth sector” and that he expects RBJ’s expertise there to provide some synergies with Transwestern’s healthcare practice, particularly in Texas and Arizona.

Biotech and healthcare are “two different uses, but they’re definitely connected,” said Purpura, who notes that the two fields have similar work forces and that major entities like Harvard Medical School and Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (both of them current RBJ clients) do substantial biotech R&D, as does, say, Rice University in Houston.

Richards Barry Joyce will begin operating as Transwestern RBJ on Nov. 1 and will be Transwestern’s 34th U.S. office.

RBJ was founded in 2001 by nine partners and has grown to include 31 personnel in brokerage (from partners to associates and also including capital markets and consulting) and eight more in marketing, research, finance and administration, all at its office at 75 State St. in Boston, an RBJ spokesperson told CPE.