The county's 25 largest commercial real estate brokerages reported $26.5 billion in sales and leasing revenues in 2002, a 10.1 percent increase over the $24.1 billion logged the year earlier.

Sales volume was driven by low interest rates. Nine brokerages reported that sales revenues increased by more than a quarter, with only five firms logging comparable gains in leasing.

Marcus & Millichap, which only handles investment sales, vaulted 13 spots, to No. 3, by nearly doubling its volume to $2.1 billion in 2002. Along with the wider increase in activity, Chief Executive Harvey Green cited a national expansion that helped import buyers to the L.A. market, as well as a significant increase in retail activity.

No. 12 Madison Partners more than doubled its deal volume in 2002, to $851.2 million, with 92 percent of overall revenues coming from sales.

Six firms reported declines in deal volume. No. 4 Grubb & Ellis Co. shed a third of its sales and leases from the year previous, to $1.7 billion.

Nicole Taylor


CB Richard Ellis

With close to a billion dollars more in deals than its closest competitor, CB Richard Ellis claims the title of largest commercial real estate brokerage in L.A. County.

The firm did $3.3 billion worth of L.A. County sales and leases in 2002, an increase of 6.3 percent over the previous year. Sales increased by 50 percent, to approximately $2 billion, while leases slid by about one-fourth to $1.3 billion.

Low interest rates and a preference to purchase helped fuel the market, according to Executive Managing Director Lewis C. Horne. "There is a strong desire to own," he said. "Even when rental rates are more attractive, there are a number of occupiers who will still purchase because they know they aren't going to move."

Major deals for the year included the sale of the 220,000-square-foot First Financial Plaza in Encino for $47.3 million and Liberty Mutual Plaza in Glendale, sold to New York-based Delma Properties Inc. in October for an estimated $21 million. CB Richard Ellis represented the sellers in both deals.

The company got even larger with the July closing of its merger with No. 7 Insignia/ESG. With combined L.A. County deal volume of $4.7 billion, CB will substantially increase its lead in the local market as well as internationally.

"CB has the strongest presence in L.A. and Insignia has the strongest presence in New York," said Horne. "It's a match made in heaven."

Nicole Taylor

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