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Longboat Key Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2009 13 years ago

Engel & Volkers absorbs Wedebrock sales division

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Engel & Völkers Longboat Key and Engel & Völkers Anna Maria have absorbed Wedebrock Real Estate Co.’s sales division, Ray Alexander, president/broker of Engel & Völkers Anna Maria and Longboat Key branches announced Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Wedebrock’s 25 sales agents will transfer to Engel & Völkers over the next month. Wedebrock’s rental division will be absorbed by Sun Resorts International LLC, a separate company that will have an exclusive affiliation with Engel & Völkers.

Founded on Longboat Key in 1949, Wedebrock has two offices, one at 6350 Gulf of Mexico Drive and another at 3225 E. Bay Drive, Holmes Beach. The Longboat Key office will remain at its current location as Engel & Völkers Longboat Key. Wedebrock’s Holmes Beach office will move into Engel & Völkers Anna Maria office, 6000 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, under that name.

Engel & Völkers is a Hamburg, Germany,-based company with approximately 500 offices worldwide. The company’s Anna Maria and Longboat Key franchises, which have previously operated out of the same office, became licensed in 2008.

Alexander said he began negotiating with Wedebrock owners in March, because he was interested in the company’s 60-year local presence.

“They have a strong local base in the area,” he said. “They were looking to globalize, and I was looking for a good, strong market. It was good because of the synergy between the two.”

Alexander said that, as part of Engel & Völkers, agents will have access to a larger, international pool of clients in addition to tools such as advertising and direct-marketing templates and intranet real-time access to other Engel & Völkers shops worldwide.

“We cast a wider net,” Alexander said. “It gives sellers the opportunity to have more exposure.”

Tina Rudek, Wedebrock sales agent since 1997, said that Engel & Völkers’ worldwide reputation would benefit Wedebrock. She recently returned from a trip to Germany during which she met with Engel & Völkers officials.

“It can only benefit us,” said Rudek of the absorption. “This company is the largest (real-estate) company in Germany. Over the last 13 to 14 years that I’ve been doing real estate, every time I travel I run into one of their offices.”

Currently, Engel & Völkers has 20 Florida locations and aims to open another 10 by the end of 2010. The company refers to its locations as “property shops,” instead of offices. They don’t have cubicles and have contemporary décor and ambient lighting to blend in with retail space. Most shops are located in high-traffic, pedestrian areas.

Over the next six months, Alexander hopes to transform the Longboat Key office into a property shop through renovations and by adding smaller features such as a dog water bowl and bike racks outside, and a cappuccino machine and fresh flowers inside.

“It’s positioned more as a high-end retail shopping destination,” he said. “They’re more of a lifestyle environment.”

A Tampa resident, Alexander learned about Engel & Völkers while marketing a $17 million home on the global property Web site, He noticed the company’s strong presence on the Web site at the end of 2007. While he researched marketing venues, he realized that, despite limited knowledge of the company in the United States, the company was widely recognized in Europe.

Alexander said that the former Wedebrock office would be the only Engel & Völkers shop on Longboat Key, although the company could expand to Sarasota, eventually.

“We hope to, from Longboat Key, build inroads into that area,” he said.

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