Woodland Realty Eyes Muskegon

June 16, 2003
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HOLLAND — Seeing an opportunity with the right personnel, Woodland Realty has set its sights on the Muskegon commercial real estate market.

The move into Muskegon comes a few years sooner than planned for the Holland-based firm, expedited by the recent affiliation with Phil and Rita Schultz, the founding partners in NEXCOM Commercial Real Estate in Muskegon who joined Woodland Realty's Commercial and Industrial Division last month.

The two bring solid backgrounds in the commercial real estate trade and a strong book of business to Woodland Realty, enabling the firm to accelerate its long-term growth plans in lakeshore markets, Woodland President Jack Bouman said.

When the Schultzes decided to leave NEXCOM and approached Woodland Realty, Bouman saw the chance to move further up the shoreline and build a presence in Muskegon, where the firm's past dealings have been sporadic, often through referrals. Their affiliation with Woodland Realty "opens up doors for our commercial growth and our overall corporate growth in that market area" that he otherwise probably wouldn't have pursued for two or three years, Bouman said.

"We felt it was just a great match for them and for us," he said. "We felt even though it was premature, the right people were there and it was time to move. There just wasn't any business reason or rationale why we would not capture the moment."

For now, the Schultzes will cover the northern Ottawa County and Muskegon areas working out of Woodland Realty's residential real estate office in Grand Haven and their home. Woodland opened the Grand Haven office in 1998 and quickly staked out a strong share of the market in the Grand Haven-Spring Lake area.

Woodland also has residential real estate offices in Zeeland, Saugatuck and Fennville.

Bouman hopes to eventually add more commercial and industrial sales associates to work the market and open an office in Muskegon in the years ahead. But that won't come until the firm builds the business in Muskegon and finds the right people, he said.

"It will be because the right people are in place," Bouman said. "It's the quality of the people that will drive our move to Muskegon."

Phil and Rita Schultz were among four partners who formed NEXCOM Commercial Real Estate in January 1999. As the firm began delving more into real estate development, including a Class A office center recently built near the Lakes Mall, they moved on to focus solely on brokerage work.

"We wanted to get back into just doing deals. That's what we're best at and that's what we do best for our clients," said Phil Schultz, a commercial and industrial Realtor in West Michigan since 1989.

Rita Schultz has worked in the industry since 1990.

In addition to their work as brokers, the Schultzes will provide training and other support for Woodland Realty's residential sales associates in the Grand Haven office.

  

In its most recent fiscal year, Woodland Realty handled $19.5 million in commercial real estate transactions. The firm has already surpassed $14.5 million at the midway point of its current fiscal year.

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