Local apartment brokerage Tikijian Associates bought by Cushman & Wakefield

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An Indianapolis-based apartment brokerage firm was acquired by national real estate company Cushman & Wakefield on Thursday following a year of discussions about a merger between the two parties.

tikijian-george-mug.jpgGeorge Tikijian

Tikijian Associates, founded in 2005, will join the New York-based company immediately. As part of the deal, Tikijian Associates will move its staff from the firm's office at 3755 E. 82nd St. to Cushman & Wakefield's downtown office in OneAmerica Tower and take on the buyer's name.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Cushman & Wakefield acquired all of Tikijian Associates' assets in the deal.

George Tikijian, who founded the company in 2005, said the deal was finalized following several months of internal deliberation.

He said he viewed the move as “the right thing for the company and (its) clients.” 

The acquisition will give Tikijian and his team access to a larger database of investors to “reach beyond our current market," he said. It will also provide new market research opportunities, updated technology and the ability to work with larger clients who sometimes see working with an independent, boutique firm—like Tikijian Associates—as a risky business move.

Tikijian, 56, spent about 20 years at CBRE predecessors CB Richard Ellis and CB Commercial, working in the multifamily housing market before starting his own firm.

He said Cushman & Wakefield's name recognition will help his team land deals it otherwise may not have under the Tikijian Associates banner, despite the firm’s efforts to “be the best broker out there.”

“I’ve always been a big believer in being the best,” he said. “We think we can be better joining Cushman than we can be as the the six of us as Tikijian, but I think we’ve done a pretty good job … the last 13 years.”

Since the start of 2018, Tikijian’s team has brokered 51 percent of the multifamily real estate deals in the Indianapolis market, selling more than 6,900 units in the area. Over the last decade, Tikijian Associates has had the highest market share in Indianapolis among multifamily property brokers.

Since its founding, the firm has brokered 240 transactions (totaling 60,000 apartment units) worth more than $2.7 billion.

Timothy Michel, managing principal for the Indianapolis division of Cushman & Wakefield, said the decision to acquire Tikijian’s firm are part of the company’s continuing efforts to expand in the Indianapolis market “in a big way.”

“It’s a huge opportunity in multifamily (brokerage), and we think that opportunity is going to continue to exist,” Michel said. “Getting a group like Hannah [Ott] and George and their team as part of our national platform is something we’re truly excited about that will help us better serve our clients.”

He said efforts to bring Tikijian and his team on board at Cushman & Wakefield has been something discussed for the past few years. “Over the course of the last year,” he said, those discussions became more serious with the company.

Hannah Ott, also a senior managing director at Tikijian Associates, said the firm wasn’t looking for someone to buy it, but when Cushman & Wakefield approached with an offer, it caught their attention.

“They’re very team-oriented, very client-focused, and they just fit with us very well,” she said. “They have a strong desire to grow their multifamily platform, and we are eager to be part of that.”

Six of his firm's seven brokers will make the move, Tikijian said. Joinng Tikijian and Ott will be Managing Director Kimberly Fetzer and Marketing Director Christine Nealis, as well as senior associate Cameron Benz and financial analyst John Baker.

Longtime Senior Managing Director Duke Hardy, 68, opted to retire from real estate after more than 30 years in the industry. Hardy was part of Tikijian Associates when it was founded after working in the commercial brokerage and management arm of Barrett & Stokely Inc. since the 1980s.

Tikijian said the Hardy's decision was unrelated to the merger.

“That was in the cards anyway,” he said. “He’s been ready to retire for a couple years, but we’ve had some really good years and he just couldn’t walk away from a good thing. This was just the right time for him.”

Tikijian said not much will change in terms of his and his associates’ involvement in community and industry events—including presenting the annual Indiana Apartment Industry Outlook event. The acquisition was made public at this year's event.

Cushman & Wakefield has 80 employees at its downtown Indianapolis office, and about 250 total employees in central Indiana, including those who work on-site as part of the company’s property management division.

The group also has at least three multifamily employees working on Indiana sites in its Chicago office—Susan Tjarksen, Jason Stevens and Todd Stofflet, who all joined the company in October. Stofflet was involved in Nov. 20 sale of The Coil in Broad Ripple to a Chicago private equity firm for more than $40 million.

Internationally, Cushman & Wakefield employs about 48,00 people in 70 countries, with about 400 offices around the world. It posted $6.9 billion in revenue in 2017.

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