Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group is now NAI Martens; NAI John T. Arnold Associates drops its NAI affiliation

Steve Martens (left) and Tom Johnson of the newly named NAI Martens.

WICHITA — Turns out Steve Martens will have to order new stationery.

“We have left Grubb and Ellis,” says the CEO of what formerly was known as Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group.

The company now is an affiliate of NAI Global and will be known as NAI Martens.

Wichita’s John T. Arnold Associates previously was an NAI affiliate and now is an independent operation.

“We’re just kind of relooking at our … working model,” says John T. Arnold president Marlin Penner. He says he and executive vice president Don Arnold decided to focus on the clients they have and simplify their operation. NAI asked that they retain the affiliation until it could find another one in the market.

“We have a huge respect for Steve and his organization, and we’re just thrilled they’re taking it over,” Penner says. “It was the right thing for everybody involved.”

California-based Grubb & Ellis filed for bankruptcy early this year and eventually sold to BGC Partners.

At the time, Martens told Have You Heard? that there was a chance the firm could remain an affiliate or go another direction.

“We wanted to find the right fit,” he says.

“We looked at virtually every other opportunity that was out there,” says NAI Martens president Tom Johnson. “Anyone that’s not in the market is someone we talked to.”

NAI is a group Martens talked to before deciding to affiliate with Grubb & Ellis in 2000.

“Over the years, they have really grown and matured as a company,” Johnson says.

C-III Capital Partners completed its purchase of NAI Global this summer.

“C-III brings to them the capital they need to grow and really develop that company,” Johnson says.

With more than 5,000 employees in 350 offices, NAI Global is the largest international network of commercial real estate firms. All its affiliates are independently owned and operated, which is key for Martens and Johnson.

If a company has affiliates and corporate offices, the affiliates “sometimes are stepchildren,” Johnson says.

“With NAI, everybody is on the same footing.”

He says the affiliates can share best practices in a noncompetitive way.

“It allows us to up our business from an entrepreneurial standpoint,” Johnson says.

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Martens Commercial Group’s Grubb & Ellis affiliation in flux

WICHITA — Steve Martens soon may have to order new stationary for his Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group. Then again, maybe not.

Martens’ company is an affiliate of the California-based Grubb & Ellis Co., which filed for bankruptcy Monday and is working on a deal to sell to BGC Partners.

That’s the parent company of Grubb & Ellis rival Newmark Knight Frank.

“The indication is that the Grubb name and brand remains in the market and that the new buyer is very interested in retaining the affiliated members of this new entity,” Martens says.

That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll want to remain with them, though.

“We have been researching the … alternatives but no decisions have been made.”

At one point, Grubb & Ellis had almost 60 affiliates. Now, it has about 35.

Martens says he looks forward to seeing the business plan for the new entity and will then make a decision.

“Obviously, these are big changes,” he says, “and what the end result of … those big changes will be, we’ll have to find out.”