You don’t say

“Tom referred to it as a twit’s tweet.”

NAI Martens CEO Steve Martens on president Tom Johnson’s reaction to his plan to start tweeting in the new year

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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Tom Johnson joins Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group as president

Steve Martens (left) and Tom Johnson.

WICHITA — Last fall, Have You Heard? checked in with former WaterWalk president Tom Johnson after hearing he might be working at Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group.

At the time, it wasn’t true. Now, it is.

Johnson has acquired an interest in the company and is its new president.

Former president Steve Martens remains as CEO and also remains president and CEO of parent company Martens Cos.

“Tom has very unique credentials,” Martens says.

He says Johnson has management and strategic development experience guiding real estate companies and understands the business locally and nationally.

Before joining WaterWalk, where he worked from 2002 to late 2009, Johnson was president of CB Richard Ellis/Oklahoma in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and vice president and general manager of the commercial division of J.P. Weigand & Sons.

“With the talent we have in this organization, Tom’s going to be able to work with them and get them to the next level,” Martens says.

The company employs 25 people, 20 of whom are licensed sales people.

There are 40 employees in total at three companies under the Martens Cos. umbrella.

That includes the brokerage group, Martens Appraisal and Huffman Corridor Consulting.

Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group also has offices in Lawrence and Hutchinson.

The addition of Johnson frees Martens to focus more on business development and regional and national investment opportunities, though Johnson adds, “I’m sure he’s going to remain hands-on.”

Martens and Johnson have been friends — and friendly competitors — since the 1970s.

Johnson has owned Trinity Realty Advisers for years and says he “basically dusted it off” after WaterWalk and took Martens up on an offer for office space.

He did some consulting with Martens as well.

“I had an interest in doing something back in the brokerage business again,” Johnson says.

Martens says he hadn’t been looking for a new president, but Johnson’s availability got him thinking about possibilities.

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Fabulous Salon and Gifts to open at WaterWalk Place

WICHITA — It’s been a long time coming, but WaterWalk Place is getting a new tenant.

Hair stylist Tami Dugan is opening Fabulous Salon and Gifts in 1,100 square feet at the north end of the building.

“This is a great opportunity,” Dugan says.

She’s been at Epic Hair Styling and Barber in the Epic Center for more than 20 years.

“I’m just venturing out on my own now,” Dugan says.

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