A number of veteran commercial brokers are making waves by jumping ship.

Six prominent downtown Los Angeles brokers are leaving CB Richard Ellis Inc. to build Staubach Co.'s L.A. operations. And seven senior brokers six from Newmark Pacific are joining Grubb & Ellis Co.

Whitley Collins, an 18-year CBRE veteran, is taking over as Staubach's managing partner. Collins brought along CBRE colleagues John McRoskey, Mike McRoskey, Alan Aufhammer and Gary Horwitz. The brokers grossed nearly $12 million in deals last year, according to sources.

Lewis C. Horne, CBRE's executive managing director, said he understood the Staubach opportunity was too good for his former brokers to pass up.

"We parted on good terms," he said. "There are no hard feelings."

Collins said his team would continue finishing up deals started at CBRE for the next 12 months. "There are some feelings of disappointment and sadness," he said, "but those feelings are on both sides of the table."

They will be joined by Tony Morales, the former Maguire Properties Inc. senior vice president of leasing, who will be a partner at Staubach. Rob Maguire dismissed Morales shortly after the company went public.

The six brokers will be given equity ownership in the Staubach office, where there are now 19 brokers and two partners.

Staubach has a downtown office and another on the Westside, but the locations will eventually be combined into one office, Collins said.

Meanwhile, Bart Pucci is leaving CBRE for a position as a senior vice president and regional director for industrial properties at Grubb & Ellis, where he'll work out of the downtown office. Pucci left Grubb & Ellis three years ago for CBRE.

Grubb & Ellis also lured Chris Caras, Phillip Sample, Mike Shustak, Maury Gentile and Sean O'Leary from Newmark Pacific.

Gentile and O'Leary will join Grubb's South Bay office. Working in the downtown office, Sample joins as a senior vice president of office properties, Caras joins as a vice president of office properties, and Shustak joins as a senior vice president of appraisal services.

"We are thrilled to have these top brokers coming to our firm," said Bill Boyd, a Grubb & Ellis senior vice president. "It validates what we think is important which is to provide our brokers with what they need to succeed in this business."

New Edition
Gannett Co., publisher of USA Today the country's largest newspaper by circulation, is consolidating its Westside offices.

The company is closing four small locations it leases throughout the Westside and consolidating employees in a new 12,000-square-foot space at 10960 Wilshire Blvd.

Equity Office Properties, owner of 10960 Wilshire, inked a seven-year lease with Gannett that's valued at about $2.5 million. Gannett will occupy the space with its Los Angeles-based editorial and advertising operations for its flagship USA Today, USA Today Weekend, USA Today.com and Army Times.

By combining the publications into one space, Gannett will achieve a number of cost savings and efficiencies, according to Bruce Schuman, a branch manager and senior vice president at Studley, who represented the publishing company in the transaction.

"For many years we talked about putting them together," Schuman said. "Finally the stars aligned and we were able to put this deal together."

Moving On
While it's been known that law firm Heller Ehrman LLP agreed to move its downtown offices earlier this year, details of the transaction are now available.

Heller Ehrman is leaving its 58,800-square-foot pad in 601 S. Figueroa St. for 77,674-square-foot offices in the 55-story Bank of America Plaza at 333 S. Hope St.

The 12-year lease with Trizec Properties Inc. is valued in excess of $25 million.

CBRE executive vice presidents Stephen Bay and Clay Hammerstein represented Heller Ehrman. Trizec was represented by Cushman & Wakefield Inc.'s John McAniff and John Eichler.

Bits and Pieces
Chatsworth Plaza Shopping Center, a 70,000-square-foot complex at Devonshire Street and Canoga Avenue, was sold for just under $12 million. The center is anchored by a Ralphs grocery store. David Trozak and Chris Thompson of Investment Real Estate Associates represented the buyer, Combined Properties Inc., and the seller, J.P. Butler Investment Co.

Corbin Office Center, a 49,205-square-foot office building in Tarzana, was sold for $7.8 million. The property, at 5530 Corbin Ave., is a three story multi-tenant building that is 95 percent leased.

Richard Leyner, Cal Menzer and Gary Morris, brokers with NAI Capital Commercial Real Estate Services, represented the buyer, Corbin Capital LLC. The seller, Corbin Office Center, was represented by NAI's Bruce Frasco.

*Staff reporter Andy Fixmer can be reached by phone at (323) 549-5225, ext. 263, or by e-mail at afixmer@labusinessjournal.com . San Fernando Valley staff reporter Shelly Garcia contributed to this column.

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