esrp—a leading tenant advisory firm headquartered at The Star in Frisco—has merged with Chicago-based Cresa, which calls itself the world’s largest occupier-focused CRE company.
Founded in 2013, esrp assists clients in over 40 countries, providing multi-market corporate and occupier advisory services. Its clients have included NTT DATA Services, Riddell, Mattress Firm, 7-Eleven, and Neiman Marcus.
esrp’s nearly 50 team members will now be added to the Cresa platform. esrp will lead Cresa’s existing Texas teams through its HQ at The Star, its office in the Dallas Arts District, and Cresa’s Houston Galleria office. A key goal moving forward will be building a stronger presence in Austin, Cresa says.
esrp has Dallas Cowboys connections
esrp was founded as E Smith Realty Partners, with Emmitt Smith as one of its three founding partners. The company spun out from E Smith Legacy Holdings in 2017, parting ways with Smith and changing its name to esrp. But that’s not the company’s only Cowboys tie: Founding partner and CEO Sharon Morrison started her career in the industrial division of The Staubach Co., learning the ropes from the greatest Cowboy of all.
But Morrison’s not looking to the past today—far from it.
“We see the future of Cresa,” Morrison said in a statement about the new merger. Her company will now shed its esrp brand identity and operate under the Cresa name.
‘Serving clients without conflicts’
“When our leadership met [Cresa CEO Tod Lickerman] and Cresa’s executive leadership, we were extremely impressed with them and their proven history of driving growth and value creation,” Morrison added. “We’re excited about the talent, passion, and vision of this leadership team. Further continuing to fulfill our mutual focus of serving clients, without conflicts, was paramount for us in deciding to merge with Cresa.”
Seeking the right cultural fit was key for esrp, which last year was named one of Inc.’s “Best Workplaces” in America. Cresa says the two companies’ cultural alignment will drive their integration, based on a shared “strategic and consultative approach of supporting occupiers only, rather than a transactional model.”
Morrison told Dallas Innovates that makes a big difference for the companies’ clients.
“The CRE industry was inherently set up to work against occupiers of space. Most of our competitors generate the majority of their revenue with investors,” Morrison said. “Occupiers make up 100% of our revenue. So you will always have 100% of our attention and trusted advocacy. Advocacy matters.”
“Cresa has established a strong platform with an innovative occupier-centric service model, which embodies our corporate and cultural values,” Morrison added. “We are well-aligned in our commitment to being relationship driven and putting occupiers first. Always.”
‘A like-minded partner’
Cresa CEO Tod Lickerman thinks he’s found the right fit too.
“The level of success and caliber of clients established within [esrp’s] first nine years is rare,” Lickerman said in a statement, “We admire esrp’s strategic, consultative, and conflict-free, client-first reputation. We have found a like-minded partner who sees this business the same way and aligns perfectly with Cresa’s operating model and company culture.”
Moving forward, Cresa’s primary Dallas-Fort Worth office will be at esrp’s existing HQ at The Star in Frisco.
Cresa aims to fortify its Texas presence
Cresa sees Texas as “center stage in the country” and one of America’s best-insulated markets—a main reason that businesses and residents continue to relocate to the state.
The merger will now allow Cresa to fortify its presence and capacity throughout Texas, leveraging esrp’s leadership, performance, and “perfect positioning” to drive growth and influence across the region, the company says.
As for growing Cresa’s Austin presence, Morrison says that esrp already has “an existing footprint and strong client base in Austin. We will continue to fortify our presence and grow.”
Morrison to join Cresa’s board
With the merger, Morrison will join Cresa’s board of directors. esrp’s five additional partners—Darren Woodson, Karra Guesersps, Damian Rivera, Jim Hazard and Brad Struck—will become managing principals of Cresa and will continue to lead the Texas operations with Morrison.
“As the world’s largest occupier-only firm, we look forward to challenging industry norms and always being an unbiased and conflict-free partner,” Morrison told us. “Exciting things are on the horizon, and we look forward to this next phase of growth together.”
In a statement, Woodson said he also sees great promise ahead.
“We look forward to strengthening those we serve, continuing our best-in-class service, and providing even more dynamic ways to deliver the best resources and results for our clients,” Woodson said.
This article was updated on May 4, 2022, to include additional comments from esrp CEO Sharon Morrison.
Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.
Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.