116-year-old real estate firm gets new name
"Newmark Levy Strange Beffort" is no more – as a brand. Nothing about operations has changed. Harrison Levy is still chairman. Mark Beffort is still CEO. Tim Strange is still president.
The rebranding is a merger of names the firm was using for its different operations: Newmark Levy Strange Beffort, the property sales and leasing arm, and Robinson Park, the property management arm given that name in 2018.
Streamlining the brand actually started late last year when, because of corporate changes, "Grubb" was dropped from the real-mouthful-of-a-firm-name Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort.
“Our firm was founded in 1905, predating Oklahoma statehood," Beffort said. "The new name reflects our interest in serving commercial real estate brokerage leasing, sales and acquisitions, and better aligns us to our management company.”
The change to Newmark Robinson Park, which has offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, coincides with the company entering a multiyear extension as an affiliate of Newmark, the third largest commercial real estate firm in the world.
“Those national connections are very significant to Oklahoma, providing relationships, leads, expertise and innovation. But make no mistake, our company, Newmark Robinson Park, is Oklahoma owned and managed, and provides full-service commitment to our Oklahoma clients and properties. We continue to relish being part of Oklahoma’s growth and vitality,” Beffort said.
The brokerage company increased revenue in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were very proud that our company increased staff, focused on planning and innovation, did not lay off or furlough a single employee, and in fact had our best sales volume in the past five years during 2020,” Beffort said.
Before Newmark Robinson Park
Longtime Oklahoma City commercial realty executives Levy, Beffort, and Strange formed Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort in May 2013. The merged concerns dated to 1905, when Levy's grandfather, Leon, founded a real estate and mortgage firm downtown. Beffort and others started his arm of the firm in 1996.
Levy and Beffort came together in 2004 to form Grubb & Ellis-Levy Beffort, which joined with William T. Strange & Associates, formerly associated with Sperry Van Ness, to form Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort.
The local realignment in 2013 stemmed from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Santa Ana, Calif.-based Grubb & Ellis Co. in early 2012. BGC Partners acquired Grubb & Ellis's assets and started integrating them with Newmark Knight Frank, which BGC bought in October 2011. BGC Partners started in 2004 as a spinoff from New York-based Cantor Fitzgerald.
In July 2018, the firm branded its property management arm as Robinson Park, keeping Newmark Grubb Levy Strange Beffort as the name of the brokerage.
Why Robinson Park?
Newmark Robinson Park's brokerage operation is located in Suite 700 of City Place, the vintage downtown skyscraper at 204 N Robinson Ave., at Park Avenue.
The property management arm is in Suite 270 of Leadership Square, across the street at 211 N Robinson, at Park.
In 2018, when the name was added, Beffort said it meant more than a reference to "location, location, location."
"We struggled with what to name this," he said. "We believe that real estate is a very traditional business. Real estate is not traded as a commodity. And so we wanted a name that has some strength and significance and a strong foundation to it. We wanted something that had some history."
In Oklahoma City, and to anyone who regularly does business in downtown Oklahoma City, "Robinson Park" has a clear ring to it.
Beffort said then that Robinson Park — and now Newmark Robinson Park — "sits at the corner of Robinson and Park, which is the center of downtown Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City is one of our first investments. People say 'Robinson' and 'Park' all the time. 'Where are you located?' 'I'm at the corner of Robinson and Park."
Enough looking that far back.
More recently, Beffort said the firm leased more than 2 million square feet of space and had more than $1 billion in transactions the past two years. The management arm takes care of more than 12 million square feet worth more than $2 billion across seven states, he said.
Looking ahead, Beffort said he optimistic about Oklahoma's prospects the rest of 2021 and beyond.
“There is great vision, spirit, innovation, a reasonable tax and regulatory structure, and a can-do atmosphere. Newmark Robinson Park will be at the forefront, driving Oklahoma forward,” he said
Real Estate Editor Richard Mize edits The Oklahoman’s Real Estate section, and covers housing, construction, commercial real estate, and related topics for the newspaper and Oklahoman.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a subscription at subscribe.oklahoman.com today.