Colliers changes make big impact in Central Indiana CRE market

Sam Smith

Sam Smith

by Dan Rafter

After five-and-a-half years as an affiliate, the former Colliers International office in Indianapolis has severed ties with the international brokerage and has re-launched as the Resource Commercial Real Estate. The new company, which is still based in Indianapolis, is now the largest independent commercial real estate brokerage in Central Indiana.

It’s the second big change to hit the Indianapolis commercial real estate industry year. In November, Colliers International ensured that it would retain a presence in Indiana’s capital city, acquiring Summit Realty Group. That brokerage is now Colliers International|Indianapolis, the only Colliers office in the city.

Sam Smith, principal and chairman of Resource Commercial Real Estate, said that this was the right time to go independent.

“There have been so many consolidations in the industry. We call it mega-merger mania,” Smith said. “The big are getting bigger, and we think this is going to continue. We think that a locally owned independent firm can differentiate itself from the bigger competitors out there.”

Smith said that when larger firms get even bigger because of consolidations, they often have to meld several different workplace cultures together. They then have to standardize their processes, at times losing the personal touch that an independent brokerage can provide.

“They have to make the Big Mac taste the same,” Smith said. “They have to standardize things. They have to follow certain guidelines. As a smaller entrepreneurial firm, we can customize and tailor our services to meet the needs of individual clients.”

Smith admits that not every client will choose to work with an independent brokerage. Many will still prefer to work with larger companies and their deeper pool of resources.

But there are other clients who want to work with brokerages that are more flexible and nimble, Smith said.

“It’s a big world out there,” he said. “There is significant demand out there for companies such as ours, and we think that demand will only grow as consolidations continue and companies get bigger.”

The Indianapolis region won’t be without a Colliers presence, though. The brokerage in late November acquired the former Summit Realty, a brokerage that employs 70.

Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson

“Expanding our company-owned operations in major markets is a key part of our growth strategy,” said Craig Robinson, president of Colliers International|USA. “Having a strong operation in Indiana coupled with our leadership in other markets in the Midwest further strengthens our business in the United States.”

Smith said that the number of mega-mergers hitting the industry can be intimidating. But he also said that the central Indiana region has room for both a Colliers International franchise and an independent firm such as Resource Commercial Real Estate.

“We don’t have to get the same margins that a public company does,” Smith said. “We don’t answer to shareholders. We are not trying to get 20 percent, 30 percent or 40 percent returns. We are only interested in making good decisions for our clients and company. We are more long-term focused instead of short-term-results focused.”

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