Kevin Cody

South Bay Brokers, Vista Sotheby’s merge

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PV Sotheby's (1)

South Bay Brokers’ co-founder Jim Van Zanten left) with Vista Sotheby’s founders Chris Adlam, Kitty Elder, Rick Edler, Gerard Bisignano and Darin DeRenzis. Photo by Kevin Cody

Over the past three decades, South Bay Brokers built a reputation as one of the most prestigious and powerful real estate brokerages in the Beach Cities. Its four offices in Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach attracted elite Realtors and high end listings

But according to Jim Van Zanten, who founded South Bay Brokers with Jack Gillespie in 1985, a sterling local reputation isn’t sufficient in the international real estate market.

“The Beach Cities and Palos Verdes have become a destination for sophisticated buyers, nationally and internationally. Many of the sales are the buyer’s’ third or fourth home,” Van Zanten said.

In recognition of the changing market, Van Zanten and Gillespie announced this week that South Bay Brokers has merged with Vista Sotheby’s in Palos Verdes, a member of the Sotheby’s International organization.

Vista Sotheby’s was formed in 2007 out of the boutique Palos Verdes brokerages of Adlam and Associates, owned by Chris Adlam and the Edler Group, owned by Kitty and Rick Edler and Daren DeRenzis. Gerard Bisignano, formerly of South Bay Brokers, is Vista Sotheby’s fifth partner.

Van Zanten and Rick Edler will be co-CEOs of the newly merged companies, which will retain the name Vista Sotheby’s. The company will have 180 agents and six offices in Palos Verdes and the three beach cities. Last year’s combined transactions totaled $1.2 billion.

Van Zanten cited Sotheby’s strong brand name as a primary reason for the merger.

“Sotheby’s is the strongest name in the luxury home market and has over 700 offices in 52 countries. Their website will be a powerful tool for our agents,” Van Zandt said.

Edler expressed a similar sentiment.

“People know Malibu, Santa Monica and Newport. But the South Bay is a hidden jewel to the rest of the world,” Edler said.

Edler added that his and Van Zanten’s offices have similar corporate cultures and mutually respected Realtors and staffs.

“Now, instead of working against each other, we’ll be working collaboratively,” he said.

The merger is the third major shake-up in the Palos Verdes, beach cities real estate market in recent years.

Last year, Shorewood Realtors, founded 45 years ago by Arnold Goldstein and Larry Wolf,  was acquired by the Herman Group, of Denver Colorado. Shorewood has nine offices and over 300 Realtors.

Re/Max Palos Verdes, founded in 1984 by Sandra Sanders, recently acquired Re/Max Beach Cities and renamed itself Re/Max Estate Properties. The company has over 600 agents and 16 offices.

“There are still small, successful real estate offices. The internet enables them to market themselves effectively. But small offices are increasingly the exception,” Van Zanten said. ER

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