Alain Pinel Realtors

“A slowdown in commercial real estate?” said Tim Murray. “Not in San Francisco! This is a global city with buyers from every country, and apartment and retail buildings are some of its most attractive properties.”

Murray, vice president and regional manager for the new Investment Group of Alain Pinel Realtors, is putting together a crack team of commercial property specialists to manage the high-end company’s eagerly awaited expansion into commercial and multifamily properties. Founded in 1990, Alain Pinel has built an enviable reputation for expertise, customer service and distinction in the San Francisco Bay Area’s demanding upscale residential market. Their reputation among homeowners, Murray said, will provide crucial leverage as they enter a highly competitive environment. “For almost 20 years, we’ve had a loyal constituency of individuals with high net worth who purchased and sold homes through us,” he continues. “They came to respect our brand and gave us invaluable referrals. But when they were dealing with commercial property, as they frequently do, until now they often had to consult other brokers, which was a disappointment for them and for us.”

Although domestic clients are expected to be a “loyal constituency” of the company’s new Investment Group as well, Murray points out that buyers from other countries will provide much of its business. “The economy of the United States is changing,” he said. “Investors from, for example, the Emirates, several Asian countries and several European countries, are realizing that they can buy blue-chip properties here for significantly less than prices of comparable buildings in their own countries. But overseas buyers, when they buy here, tend to concentrate on a handful of cities that they know and admire. San Francisco is one of those few cities.”  
Another advantage, as Murray points out, is that overseas buyers are frequently in the market for commercial and residential properties at the same time. “Now, for the first time, Alain Pinel will be able to meet all their needs for real property, while they enjoy our consistent standards of customer service, integrity and reputation.”

Murray and his coworkers are doing their best to honor the brand. With the close collaboration and interest of Alain Pinel President and COO Larry Knapp, Murray has assembled a star-studded staff with decades of experience in Bay Area commercial property. Investment Group Managing Director Stephen Pugh comes to Alain Pinel from Pacific Union, where his career sales volume through 2007 was an impressive $820 million, and where his best-known 2007 sale was a six-story, 42,000-square-foot prewar apartment building in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights, sporting a price tag of $19 million.

Sales executives reporting to Mr. Pugh will include Jim Murphy and Morgan Thomas, also formerly top-producing agents at Pacific Union. Long-term plans are to assemble a top-flight group of perhaps 15 sales associates and managers with offices in the recently opened 2001 Union Street Building in San Francisco. Striving to match the eclectic taste of its chosen clients, the group will market and sell apartment buildings, luxury and specialty multifamily buildings, tenancy-in-common properties, retail centers, small upscale hotels and high-end office towers. “We will be presenting to prospects who are buying for the long term,” Murray said. “Our typical buyer will pay cash or will have secure financing in place. Short-term profit is not the goal here; these purchases will be evaluated as 20-to 30-year investments, and the investors will want to see properties of the very highest quality. Of course, as a market offering top-quality commercial property, San Francisco is world-renowned.”

When the San Francisco branch of the Investment Group is in place and operating smoothly, Knapp, Pugh and Murray intend to establish a second office of comparable size in the South Bay. “We have 28 offices in seven Bay Area counties,” Knapp said, “but since our founding in 1990, our roots have been in the Silicon Valley, and the backbone of Alain Pinel Realtors was the market for truly exceptional residences that grew right along with the South Bay’s equally exceptional technology industry. Now, for the first time, we will be able to offer both commercial and residential real estate services to discriminating clients who visit us, not only from the Bay Area, but from the whole world.”

Murray concurs. “For us, this is fulfillment in an exciting time and place,” he concludes. “We’re taking a prestigious company with a long history of client satisfaction, and bringing it into an arena where it has every reason to make history again. I can speak for the entire Investment Group when I say that every one of us is glad and proud to be here, now.”

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