It has been a busy month for national tenant rep firm Cresa. After announcing its headquarters move from Washington D.C. to Chicago last month, the firm announced yesterday at its annual meeting in Las Vegas that it will acquire Frisco-based ESRP.
According to ESRP CEO Sharon Morrison, all 24 of ESRP’s Dallas brokers will join Cresa, combining with Cresa’s existing eight local brokers. Morrison will join Cresa’s board of directors, while ESRP partners Darren Woodson, Karra Guess, Damian Rivera, Jim Hazard, and Brad Struck will assume leadership positions as managing principals of Cresa to help run Texas operations with Morrison.
“It’s a perfect fit for us because we wanted to be with a privately held company that focuses on tenant advisory,” Morrison told D CEO. “We’ve been looking at all aspects of our growth over the past year to see what would be the best way for us to grow…. It will help us take what we are doing today to the next level from a scale standpoint.”
ESRP was founded by Morrison and partners in 2013 as E Smith Realty Partners in partnership with Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith. The firm rebranded in 2017 as ESRP when the partnership with Smith dissipated—and in 2018, it moved its corporate headquarters to The Star in Frisco. ESRP’s headquarters in Frisco will become Cresa’s primary North Texas office.
It’s not the first time ESRP has been approached by suitors. “Over the past nine years, we were approached by a lot of different companies,” Morrison said. “We were never ready to do anything until we found the right fit.”
The acquisition is a key play for Cresa as it increases its presence across Texas—and specifically in increasing its industrial tenant rep business. Morrison says about half of ESRP’s current business is split between office and industrial tenant advisory. In addition to the new offices of the combined company at The Star, ESRP will lead Cresa’s existing teams in Houston and help build a new presence in Austin for the firm.
Cresa, which recently saw a C-Suite shakeup with the appointment of CEO Tod Lickerman (former Americas CEO of Cushman & Wakefield), is also expanding its international reach with a strategic partnership with Knight Frank in a deal that was formalized earlier this year after the expiration of a similar agreement the firm had with Newmark.
Several real estate analysts predict more consolidation in the industry to come as clients require additional services and evaluate office space needs in hybrid and WFH models.
“The market is still mixed,” admitted Morrison. “We are seeing some companies that want sublease space. Some companies are doubling down and going 100 percent back into the office, while some remain hybrid. Many are still trying to figure it all out.”