Veteran real estate broker Bill Boyd, who began working for Grubb & Ellis Co. in 1998 and rose to become an executive vice president and managing director of the Los Angeles region, has left the company.

His departure follows the December 2007 merger between Grubb & Ellis and NNN Realty Advisors Inc., a Santa Ana-based firm that has specialized in selling securities based on portfolios of commercial and residential property.

The merger fed speculation that the commercial brokerage business Boyd's bread and butter could become less of a focus for Grubb & Ellis, which moved its corporate headquarters to Santa Ana from Chicago after the merger.

Boyd managed 26 commercial brokers in the company's downtown office, eight brokers in the City of Industry outpost and oversaw three other offices in the region. Boyd said he left the firm May 5 in a mutual agreement.

"My time at Grubb & Ellis was a great experience and we had a great time making the downtown office competitive again by hiring some of the best agents in the market," said Boyd, who got his start with CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. in 1981. "The appreciation of our clients was the best report card we got."

Janice McDill, vice president of public and investor relations for Grubb & Ellis, declined to comment, saying the company does not give interviews about former employees.

Boyd said he is enjoying taking meetings with national and regional firms about job opportunities. If he doesn't land a job quickly, Boyd joked he'll be "selling sun tan oil in Tahiti."

Boyd's final hire at Grubb & Ellis, Ed Rosenthal, joined the company's downtown office April 9 as a senior vice president. Rosenthal had worked at the company before leaving about five years ago to join CB Richard Ellis Group, where he started the Urban Redevelopment Group with Mark Tarczynski.

Downtown Strength

Milbank Real Estate Services Inc. has signed three lease deals that indicate the downtown office market is holding up despite the wider real estate downturn.

The Los Angeles-based real estate services company completed the deals at its Figueroa Tower, a Class A 24-story office building at 660 S. Figueroa St.

The leases start in the range of $2.75 to $3 per square foot per month a noteworthy increase from the $1.82-per-square-foot-per-month asking rent Milbank advertised after it purchased the property in 2004. Unlike the typical 3 percent annual rate increases, rates go up by 4 percent annually.

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