LIHU’E — Hawai’i Commercial Real Estate’s merger with Elite Pacific LLC has nothing to do with the economic despair caused by COVID-19, according to Elite President-CEO Anton Steenman.
In his interview with The Garden Island, Steenman was adamant that corporate mergers are becoming a necessary trend in the evolving real estate industry.
“COVID-19 had little to do with this specific strategic move,” Steenman said. “The real estate industry has been consolidating for a long time, and I don’t believe this trend will stop.”
Years in the making
This merger between Hawai’i Commercial Real Estate and Elite Pacific LLC was two years in the making, according to Steenman.
“This particular opportunity has been in the works for a while,” Steenman said. “For a merger to work, you need alignment around personal relationships, trust, culture, opportunity and long-term direction. It takes time to develop alignment along those important vectors.”
The Hawai’i Commercial Real Estate business will continue to be led by HCRE’s founder Jamie Brown and his team of eight Oahu-based, full-time agents and support staff, according to the press release.
“The merger initiates a neighbor island expansion for HCRE by adding two veteran commercial real estate agents and over $10 million in investment property listings on the Big Island,” Brown said. “This merger allows us to better service our clients and agents with access to capital and Elite Pacific’s extensive resources and infrastructure including about 50 employees in technology, marketing, finance, operations and HR. Additionally, we gain substantial synergy with over 200 top residential agents at Corcoran Pacific Properties, Elite Pacific’s residential brokerage brand.”
Because several of Elite Pacific LLC’s clients are residential investors seeking to buy vacation homes or investment homes in Hawai’i, they continue to look for additional investment opportunities, Steenman said.
“As they get familiar with the islands, they also see opportunities in the commercial space and would like to develop a larger financial position in Hawai’i,” Steenman said. “Having residential, property management, vacation rental, and now commercial brokerage all under one umbrella allows us to serve our agents with a portfolio of services.”
Back to the future
Because technology is always changing the dynamics of the industry, it has made it more difficult for traditional real estate companies to keep up with the changing trends.
“(Changes in technology) make it very difficult to keep up without investing significantly in highly specialized tools and resources,” Steenman said. “It’s extremely time consuming, and it’s extremely costly.”
According to Steenman, there are two ways to overcome these changing dynamics.
“You can consolidate and be a bigger company with more resources,” Steenman said. “The next opportunity is partnerships so that you can leverage the investments the partner is making. We deploy both strategies.”
A one-stop shop
Because different companies have different strengths, the merger will offer clients more resources.
“Giving clients a one-stop-shop for all their needs, from residential to rental, property management, and commercial services, makes it easy for them to do business with us,” Steenman said. “It deepens the relationship our agents can build with their clients.”
The merger with HCRE makes Elite Pacific, LLC a larger company with more resources.
“We partnered with Corcoran Group to bring brand marketing, technology, and social media expertise and tools into our portfolio of services,” Steenman said.
The merger also allows the franchisee the chance to expand its technology resources, a crucial component in the real estate industry.
“By partnering-franchising and having a franchising arrangement with Corcoran Group, it has allowed us to stay locally owned,” Steenman said. “We are all operating while we bring all the brand, reach and marketing benefits Corcoran has to offer to our agents.”
The merger may have changed the logistical elements of real estate, but the fundamental approach to real estate remains intact.
“Fundamentally, we do the same thing we always did by selling residential and commercial real estate,” Steenman said. “What’s unleashed with this merger is the possibility for residential and commercial agents to work together and bring a broader range of opportunities to their clients.”
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.