Transwestern acquires Chicago-based real estate firm as part of national expansion

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Houston-based Transwestern Real Estate Services has expanded its presence in the Midwest with the acquisition of Chicago-based MB Real Estate, part of an strategy to extend its reach through “opportunistic” purchases throughout the year.

The deal adds 120 employees and a regional property management portfolio totaling more than 12 million square feet, including landmark municipal properties such as Millennium Park and the Chicago River Walk and office buildings such as 181 W. Madison. The privately-held, full-service commercial real estate firm, founded in 1982, began operating as Transwestern on Jan. 1. Terms were not disclosed.


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The acquisition, which closed in the final week of 2022, is part of Transwestern’s strategy to grow not only its services company, but also its investment management and development businesses.

“We’ve admired the firm for a long time,” said Transwestern CEO Larry Heard, noting that both companies are privately held and 40 plus years old. “They do a lot of what we do; they just do it from a targeted regional basis. For us, it was bolstering an already strong city and making it stronger.” 

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The combination boosts Transwestern’s portfolio to 44 million square feet of commercial properties managed on behalf of clients throughout the Midwest. Similar to Transwestern, MB Real Estate provides asset and facilities management services, leasing services, project management, tenant representation and investment services. With the acquisition, Transwestern has 300 employees across the Midwest. 

Heard said MB Real Estate is active in the same sectors as Transwestern, including life sciences, health care, logistics and financial services. Those sectors, along with government agencies, have proven to be more resilient during the current downturn, he said.

Transwestern expects to close on more acquisitions in 2023 as it continues to grow its development and investment platforms as the economy slows and companies seek partners for investments, Heard said.

“We’re also looking at development partners across the country to add as well as investment management professionals,” Heard said. “This will prove to be an opportunistic time to expand in 2023 and 2024.”

Founded in 1978, Transwestern has 33 offices and 2,100 team members nationwide, including nearly 420 in Houston.

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