Company History


The history of CBRE began in 1906 in San Francisco, when Colbert Coldwell founded the real estate company ‘Tucker, Lynch & Coldwell’. It was the beginnings of a company that would become known as Coldwell, Banker & Company in 1936, and in the 1940s would become one of the biggest real estate service providers for the commercial sector in the western USA.  

Over the course of the 1960s and 1970s, Coldwell, Banker & Company expanded its range of services, and also increased its number of offices within the USA. It was slowly becoming a comprehensive real estate service provider, with a growing network of branches around the country.

The next major development came in 1989 when Coldwell, Banker & Company was taken over by employees and external investors. The growth of the company then accelerated, but the individual needs of the client remained very much at the center of the company’s focus. In 1991, the company was renamed CB Commercial.

Active as a Real Estate Service Provider in Every Financial Center

 

Around this time, CB Commercial began taking over leading companies in the field of investment management (Westmark Realty Advisors, now CBRE Global Investors, 1995; Koll Real Estate Services, 1997), mortgage banking (L.J. Melody & Company, 1996), real estate management and commercial facility management. Acquisitions in the area of capital markets also followed.
The 1998 takeover of the long-standing company Richard Ellis International (REI Limited), founded in 1773 in London, was a decisive step in CB Commercial’s worldwide expansion, and the company was renamed CB Richard Ellis or CBRE for short.
 
Shortly afterward, CBRE announced the takeover of the renowned London real estate service provider Hillier Parker May & Rowden. With that, CBRE became the first provider in history with a unified ownership structure and central management to offer fully integrated real estate services in every important financial center in the world.
 

Leading Real Estate Service Provider in New York and London

 

The acquisition of Insignia Financial Group in 2003 confirmed CBRE as the leading real estate service provider in New York and London, and the company successfully went public in June 2004. Since then, Class A ordinary shares have been traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and CBRE was added to the S&P 500 in 2006.
 
Also in 2006, Trammell Crow Company was acquired and since then, CBRE has been a world leader in outsourcing services for key tenants in the fields of economics, healthcare and the public sector. CBRE has regularly ranked first in the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals’ (IAOP) annual ranking of the best providers of outsourcing services.

In 2011, CBRE acquired the real estate investment company of the Dutch ING Group, thereby establishing itself as a market leader in yet another core business area. This acquisition created a company with an investment asset pool of around 90 billion dollars. 2011 also saw the renaming of the company as CBRE Group, Inc., to allow for better coordination of corporate identity and branding. 

CBRE Becomes the World’s Biggest Real Estate Service Provider

 

In 2013, CBRE acquired Norland Managed Services Ltd, the leading technical building services provider in Great Britain and Ireland. This allowed for significant strengthening of the European outsourcing platform for building users.
 
In 2014, CBRE Germany acquired VALTEQ Gesellschaft mbH and PREUSS group. VALTEQ focuses on technical and environmental due diligence in the commercial real estate sector, and PREUSS specializes in project management services, in particular for new property developments and the renovation of large properties. These services perfectly round off the CBRE range of services. 

In 2015, Global Workplace Solutions (GWS) was acquired from Johnson Controls. GWS is a leading worldwide provider of integrated facility management solutions. In this year, revenue exceeded 10 billion dollars for the first time.
 
In 2016, CBRE was listed in 15th place in the Forbes Magazine ranking of the best US employers. In the same year, CBRE also landed in second place (of 500 companies) in Barron’s rankings, and Fortune magazine selected CBRE for the fourth time in a row as one of ‘Fortune World’s Most Admired Companies’ in real estate. 
 
At the beginning of 2017, both CBRE subsidiaries – VALTEQ GESELLSCHAFT mbH and PREUSS GmbH – merged to form CBRE PREUSS VALTEQ GmbH and create a CBRE Building Consultancy & Project Management division in Germany.


 

Company Milestones

 

1773: In London, William Ellis sets up as an ‘upholder and appraiser’. After a few years, he takes on his nephew Richard Ellis as an apprentice. The company remains in the Ellis family until 1938 and grows continuously.
 
1906: In San Francisco, Colbert Coldwell founded ‘Tucker, Lynch & Coldwell’, a company that later becomes known as Coldwell, Banker & Company and then CB Commercial.
 
1995: Acquisition of Westmark Realty Advisors. This adds investment management to the CBRE portfolio. Today, these services are provided by the CBRE Investors branch.
 
1996: Acquisition of LJ Melody & Co., and the company grows into an important US mortgage banking vendor and administrator. This branch is known today as CBRE Melody.
 
1997: Acquisition of Koll Real Estate Services, a leading provider of real estate management and facility management.
 
1998: Acquisition of Richard Ellis operations outside of Great Britain. Name change to CB Richard Ellis, or CBRE for short. Presence in 29 countries. 
 
1998: Acquisition of Hillier Parker in Great Britain.
 
1999: CBRE is active in more than 250 local markets. Presence in Japan following the partnership with Ikoma.
 
2001: After a management buyout, CBRE is reprivatized.
 
2003: Acquisition of Insignia. CBRE becomes a leading real estate service provider, with important offices in New York and London. Consolidation of CB Richard Ellis as a uniform brand recognized around the world.
 
2004: CBRE is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time, with the ticker symbol ‘CBRE’. Revenue increased to over 2 billion dollars.
 
2005: CBRE rises to 676th place in the Fortune 1000 list and is included in the Russell 1000 index. 
 
2006: CBRE turns 100 years old – and celebrates with inclusion in the S&P 500.
 
2006: Acquisition of Trammell Crow Company.
 
2007: Businessweek includes CBRE in its list of the 50 best-in-industry companies, and according to Fortune Magazine, CBRE is one of the 100 fastest-growing companies.
 
2008: CBRE is the first service provider for commercial real estate in the Fortune 500 list.
 
2011: CBRE acquires the European and Asian real estate investment company of ING and its listed securities division.
 
2011: The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) selects CBRE as the best real estate outsourcing service provider.
 
2011: Name change to CBRE Group, Inc. 
 
2012: CBRE is the first real estate service provider in the top 5 of the IAOP ranking of best cross-sector outsourcing companies.
 
2013: CBRE acquires Norland Managed Services Ltd, the leading technical building services provider in Great Britain and Ireland.
 
2013: The economics and finance magazine Euromoney lists CBRE as the world’s best real estate consultant for the second time in a row.
 
2014: For the fourth time, CBRE is selected by Fortune as the real estate service provider of the year. CBRE Germany acquires VALTEQ Gesellschaft mbH and PREUSS group.
 
2015: CBRE acquires Global Workplace Solutions (GWS), a world-leading provider of integrated facility management solutions, from Johnson Controls.
 
2016: Forbes magazine lists CBRE in 15th place in its ranking of the best US employers. For the fourth time in a row, Fortune magazine selects CBRE as one of ‘Fortune World’s Most Admired Companies’ in real estate.
 
2017: For the 16th year in a row, CBRE is selected by Lipsey Company as the best brand in the real estate sector. 
The CBRE subsidiaries VALTEQ GESELLSCHAFT mbH and PREUSS GmbH merge to form CBRE PREUSS VALTEQ GmbH and create a CBRE Building Consultancy & Project Management division in Germany.