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ARCHIVED  June 18, 1999

The Group grows by a sixth

Northern Colorado’s No. 1 residential real estate brokerage is about to become even larger.

Shareholders of The Group Inc. Real Estate in Fort Collins and The Group Inc. of Loveland have approved a merger plan that will effectively turn the Loveland office into a branch of a single company headquartered in Fort Collins.

Merger talks have been continuing since November 1998, said Sharianne Daily, president of The Group Inc. Real Estate.

“We been doing a lot of åacting as if,’ so this makes it official,” she said. Paperwork sealing the deal should be complete by Oct. 1.

The merger reflects the perception among home buyers, especially newcomers, that Fort Collins and Loveland are now a single market, Daily said.

“We still are working with about 25 percent of the market who are relocating to the Northern Colorado area,” she said. “It’s really no different for them to drive to Loveland or to north Fort Collins. They don’t see the distinction.”

One hundred Group Inc. Real Estate shareholders, 87 of whom are brokers, voted June 10 to approve the merger. The 28 shareholders of The Group Inc. of Loveland endorsed the plan the preceding week.

“We feel from the Loveland Group’s side that it will be a big benefit to our customers as well as our sales people,´ said Sharon Downing, president of The Group Inc. of Loveland. Downing, who will become managing broker of the Loveland offices once the deal is final, said the union is a reflection of how the northern Front Range real estate market has coalesced.

“I-25 is now the main street, and the towns are like subdivisions along the way,” she said.

The Group Real Estate Inc. had 1998 sales of $546,530,835, Daily said. The Group Inc. of Loveland had sales equal to one-sixth that amount, or $90 million, Downing said. Daily’s firm had the listing or selling side of 1,776 properties during the year, while Downing’s brokers were represented in 750 transactions.

Others in the real estate community viewed the merger as a logical step for the two firms.

“It’s an important move for those guys,´ said Bill Neal of Wheeler Commercial Property Services in Fort Collins. “It’s a good move, and a smart move, for The Group to do that.”

Neal said the merger “says something broader” about the market than just that Loveland and Fort Collins are now unified. “It’s now a regional market,” he said. “That fact, as a dynamic, has really been created just over the last four or five years.”

Downing said that demographics are driving the two communities closer together, and that the effect shows up in how home buyers live, work and travel.

“We’ve got so many working couples, with one working in one place, one in another and the two living somewhere else,” she said. “That brings the markets together.”

The merger will also help correct what might be called a “trade imbalance” between Loveland and Fort Collins: Fort Collins brokers from all real estate companies had sides in 15 percent of Loveland transactions, while Loveland brokers participated in just 3 percent of Fort Collins sales, Daily said.

The Group Inc. Real Estate will by next fall have four offices in Fort Collins and Loveland, with the opening of a new location near Harmony and Timberline roads.

Daily said it was premature to speculate on whether The Group Inc. of Greeley would be next to fold into the Fort Collins company. “They are separately owned company, with a separate set of shareholders,” she said.

Downing said her title change — from president to managing broker — would be a comfortable and welcome move. “Maybe it will ease my role somewhat,” she said. “I like to be part of a larger whole.”

Northern Colorado’s No. 1 residential real estate brokerage is about to become even larger.

Shareholders of The Group Inc. Real Estate in Fort Collins and The Group Inc. of Loveland have approved a merger plan that will effectively turn the Loveland office into a branch of a single company headquartered in Fort Collins.

Merger talks have been continuing since November 1998, said Sharianne Daily, president of The Group Inc. Real Estate.

“We been doing a lot of åacting as if,’ so this makes it official,” she said. Paperwork sealing the deal should be complete by Oct. 1.

The merger reflects the perception among home…

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