City: Stay or go: Council must decide between CB Richard Ellis, Alterra

Should they stay or should they go.

After a presentation Monday by Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council (WAEDC) Executive Director Greg Myers, Wapakoneta City Council members must ultimately decide which industrial site real estate company to represent the 471-acre Job Ready Sites-certified West Central Ohio Industrial Center — to stay with CB Richard Ellis or to go with the new firm Alterra, of Columbus. They also could elect to not sign a contract.

A WAEDC ad hoc committee advised switching to Alterra and staying with real estate broker Mike McNulty, who represented the city and the site while working with CB Richard Ellis before joining Alterra approximately 18 months ago.

“My feeling is we need to stay the course, having a top-notch industrial realtor representing the city and representing the site,” Myers told councilors during Monday’s meeting speaking of McNulty and Alterra. “It does look like the economy is beginning to turn, especially in the automotive industry, and I feel we are positioned to take advantage of this shift in the economy.”

Council President Steve Henderson, who sits on the WAEDC board and was a member of the ad hoc committee, said he believes having a professional industrial real estate brokerage firm representing the city and the site is important in moving forward.

“I think McNulty has the right contacts and he is very well connected in Columbus and around the world,” Henderson told the Wapakoneta Daily News after the meeting. “I think Alterra is hungry for business. I think the adage of being ‘a big fish in a small pond instead of a small fish in a big pond’ fits Wapakoneta appropriately here.

“I also was very impressed with Brad Kitchen (president of Alterra) and I was very impressed with his presentation to the committee,” the council president said.

Mayor Rodney Metz, who also sits on the WAEDC board and served on the ad hoc committee, said he would stand behind any decision made by councilors on the matter.

“I think Greg (Myers) made a nice presentation and I think it would benefit the city to continue our endeavors with someone, whether it is McNulty and Alterra or C.B. Richard Ellis,” Metz said after the meeting. “McNulty is very familiar with the site and he does a great deal of homework regarding potential buyers and CB Richard Ellis is a world-class firm.

“Alterra is the recommendation made by the ad hoc committee and I am fine with it, but the ultimate decision is council’s,” the mayor said. “I think there is merit behind staying with McNulty as there is to stay with CB Richard Ellis.”

During his presentation, Myers explained neither firm works on a retainer and instead works on a pre-paid commission.

In the past two years, the city has paid CB Richard Ellis $84,000 in pre-paid commission. This amount would be deducted from the firm’s commission at the first sale of land in the Job Ready Sites industrial park. Myers explained Alterra would honor the commission and would do the same and apply the amount to the firm’s commission at the first sale of land.

In the new contract, CB Richard Ellis would continue to charge $3,500 per month for their services through the pre-paid commission. Alterra would charge $3,500 for the first 12 months and then reduce the amount to $2,500 for the second 12 months — all part of a pre-paid commission.

“This is not a traditional realtor-property owner transaction or relationship,” Myers said. “We have developed a world-class industrial site and we are seeking a world-class industrial realtor to market the site.”

Myers explained terms of a prospective deal with Alterra would require McNulty to make 100 contacts each month with site consultants, trade associations and manufacturers.

Myers requested quick action on the deal since the contract with CB Richard Ellis expired June 30. He said he hoped a contract could be signed in August with an effective date retroactive to Aug. 1.