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Coldwell-Banker office to merge with Spears Creek branch

Will maintain presence in TD Bank building

Posted: February 7, 2012 4:01 p.m.
Updated: February 8, 2012 5:00 a.m.

In July 2006, then-Century 21 Bob Capes Realtors Broker-in-Charge Greg Newman said growth was pushing into Kershaw County. There were new houses online then and his agents were seeing interest in Camden housing as a result of the pending arrival of the Third Army to Shaw Air Force Base. Newman said Kershaw County was in “great shape” because of its quality of life, access to I-20 and its schools.

Then, Newman, co-owner Mike Taylor and fellow co-owner Jimmy Derrick -- as Camden Ventures LLC -- had just announced plans to build a 6,600-square-foot, two-story building near the corner of West DeKalb Street and Chesnut Ferry Extension. They had more plans for the site: two 4,840-square-foot, two-story build- ings and a 1,600-square-foot, one-story building.

Times have changed during the six years since that announcement.

Century 21 moved into the building Newman, Taylor and Derrick built about six months later. Now, it is preparing to move out. Coldwell Banker United acquired Century 21/Bob Capes’ assets in Aiken and Columbia, including its Camden office, in November 2008. Despite recent trends reported by the National Association of Realtors showing existing home sales are on the rise again across the country, Newman said Coldwell Banker’s decision to merge its Camden and Spears Creek Church Road offices was based on “dollar and cents.”

The change not only affects where Newman and some of his fellow agents will work, but Newman personally.

First, Newman confirmed Coldwell Banker United would be moving out of the West DeKalb Street building and that the office would merge with Coldwell Banker’s Spears Creek Church Road location. That doesn’t mean he and his fellow agents are leaving Camden.

“Coldwell Banker United still has a lease on the second floor of the TD Bank building in Camden,” Newman said. “It’s where we used to be before the merger with Century 21.”

As it turns out, the lease on TD Bank’s second floor is still in place, good through 2013. What most residents in the housing market might not know is that despite Newman and Taylor’s co-ownership of the West DeKalb Street office building, Coldwell Banker was simultaneously leasing that space as well. Maintaining two leases simply got too expensive, Newman said, and the lease at Coldwell Banker’s current office expires this year.

Newman said the company tried unsuccessfully to find someone to take over the TD Bank second floor lease. That doesn’t mean it’s exactly “back” to TD Bank’s second floor for Coldwell Banker United.

“License-wise, we’ll be out of the Spears Creek office, but we will have a place (in TD Bank) for agents and clients to meet,” Newman said.

With the change, Newman is no longer broker-in-charge.

“I will be strictly listing and selling,” he said.

The “touchdown pad,” as Newman called it at one point in the conversation, will feature high speed Internet access for him and his fellow agents.

“A change in the real estate market in general is that there are a lot of ‘mobile’ agents working now,” he said. “In fact, there’s been a drop in agents in the market as well as statewide. It’ll be more of a meeting location and we will have agents on duty there.”

Otherwise, Newman said, most home buyers and sellers shouldn’t notice any difference.

“The phone numbers will stay the same,” he said.

What folks are probably noticing is the red ERA Wilder Realty sign in front of the building.

Newman explained that while Taylor is co-owner of the building, he is broker-in-charge for ERA Wilder Realty’s office on Sparkleberry Lane in northeast Columbia.

“They’re seeking a tenant for the second floor or to sell the building. I would love to see someone to complement Dr. Schoolmeester get in there,” Newman said.

Dr. W. Lawrence Schoolmeester, a cardiologist, maintains offices that take up all but one room on the West DeKalb Street building’s first floor.

“It’s not so much the demographics,” Newman said of Coldwell Banker United’s decisions. “In our case, it’s a dollars and cents move. We’ve had four people doing the work of two people.”

In a statement released to the press Jan. 19, Glenn Niere, Carolinas Region president and COO of Coldwell Banker United, touted the decision to consolidate the Camden and Spears Creek Church Road offices as “expanding its real estate service to the growing Northeast Columbia/Kershaw County area with a beautiful, new, state of the art office.”

Newman confirmed, however, that this is not a new building being constructed on Spears Creek Church Road, but a renovation of an existing office in a small shopping center just down from Pontiac Elementary School.

Niere said the “new space” would offer clients and agents “upscale amenities,” including private conference rooms and “cutting-edge technology” to succeed in the current real estate market.

“We recognize that the real estate industry is changing and that technology, innovation and out of the box ideas are driving this profession,” Niere said. “Because of our findings, we are staying ahead of that curve by offering creative initiatives, including this office.

The press release including Niere’s statement, also noted that Spears Creek broker-in-charge John Smith “welcomes Greg Newman, former broker-in-charge of the Camden office, along with his numerous Camden sales associates to serve their clients from this new office as they have done for 42 years. They will also continue their well-known community initiatives and support they have come to be known for in the Camden market.”

The two offices’ consolidation is not the only move Newman has been involved with at Coldwell Banker United. He confirmed he closed the company’s Sumter office Dec. 31.

“There’s been a lot of consolidation because of the use of technology by both clients and agents,” Newman said. “(The agents) have relocated to another company.”

When reminded of his thoughts six years ago concerning the relocation of the Third Army to Shaw Air Force Base, Newman said soldiers and their families are “going in a different direction” concerning housing.

“There’s a lot of renters,” Newman said.

Of the three additional buildings he, Taylor and Derrick promised six years ago, only one has been built to date. O’Reilly Auto Parts moved into a building constructed next door to the current Coldwell Banker unit.

Newman said he and his fellow agents would likely be moved out of the West DeKalb Street building by the end of the month.

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