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CBRE Snags 48 Transwestern Staffers in Boston

Big Hire is Latest of Transwestern's Losses in Hub
February 27, 2018
Pictured: John Barry, the last of the three RBJ founding partners to leave Transwestern.

Transwestern’s Boston office suffered a big blow today, as CBRE announced it had hired 48 members of the Transwestern RBJ team, including one of the firm's founders, John Barry, and Steve Purpura, one of Transwestern RBJ’s managing partners and the leader of the Boston team.

The move is the latest in a stream of defections from Transwestern RBJ this year, with several other of the firm's original partners having moved to other shops, including Cushman & Wakefield and JLL.

Purpura was one of the nine original brokers that formed Richards Barry Joyce and Partners in 2001. That Boston boutique brokerage specialized in tenant and landlord representation, and property management - with a smaller footprint in the local investment sales scene. Despite its boutique status, the shop grew quickly, and was acquired by Transwestern in 2013, which renamed it Transwestern RBJ.

Barry is the last of the three RBJ founding partners to decamp from Transwestern, along with three other of the original nine RBJ partners now at CBRE. Two other former RBJ partners, Michael Joyce and Robert Richards, both joined Cushman & Wakefield in the last six weeks. They were joined there by senior Transwestern RBJ brokers Thomas Ashe and Robert Byrne.

Most recently, Jamey Lipscomb, a partner at Transwestern RBJ who had been with the firm for 15 years, departed for JLL.

The stream of departures dramatically lowers Transwestern’s Boston profile - and significantly adds to CBRE’s already formidable leasing and management platforms.

But it isn’t the end of Transwestern RBJ. The firm still has about 50 employees in the Hub, including about a dozen brokers, according to Transwestern’s Boston spokesperson Dan Foley. It’s unclear if the office will drop the RBJ from its name now that the three founders behind the initials have left.

Transwestern spokesperson Stefanie Lewis issued a statement from the company regarding the move.

"We wish Steve Purpura and his team well. They are respected colleagues and will remain friends of the firm. Transwestern is an expanding national company. We continue to add producers from coast to coast. We are confident in our growth strategy, which enjoys substantial momentum."

CBRE sources don’t think the 48 new hires will overlap much with existing personnel, or necessitate layoffs. Many of the Transwestern RBJ brokers specialize in niche leasing areas - such as life sciences tenants and properties - that CBRE currently lacks. A CBRE executive described the new additions as "accretive" hires.

"These individuals are among the Northeast’s most talented real estate professionals, and their passion for producing exceptional client outcomes is a perfect fit with our market-leading CBRE/New England team," said Jack Durburg, Group President and CEO of the Americas, CBRE.

No changes to CBRE/ New England’s leadership is expected as a result of the new hires, according to the company. Co-managing partners Andy Hoar and Kevin Doyle will continue to oversee the market.

John Doherty, Multifamily Reporter  CoStar Group   

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