History of Coldwell Banker Commercial
A subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, the world’s leading real estate franchisor, the Coldwell Banker Commercial organization is a worldwide leader in the commercial real estate industry. Coldwell Banker Commercial is part of the oldest and most respected national real estate brand in the country, which was founded after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 by Colbert Coldwell, who was later joined by Benjamin Banker.
Eberhardt & Barry, Inc. joined Coldwell Banker Commercial on May 1, 2004 and has since become Georgia’s leading office in gross sales.
Current Partnership Formed in 2005
Art Barry, Miki Folsom, Stephanie Folsom, and Hal Harper formed what is now the current partnership at Coldwell Banker Commercial Eberhardt & Barry. The decision was made in 2005 when the leading producers at the time decided that they wanted to be in control of their own destiny and have more involvement in the daily operations of the business. Under their leadership, the firm has witnessed a great deal of growth and success. They look forward with great excitement at what the future holds.
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Partners Laid the Groundwork for Specialty in Site Selection
Commercial real estate sales has become a highly technical business with its cost-earnings ratios, demographic analyses, and traffic studies. But the business was much different when Guy Eberhardt and A.P. “Buster” Barry started in 1969.
They formed one of the first real estate firms in Macon to specialize in commercial property and they were the first to use those studies to help buyers find the right site.
“Site selection work is our specialty,” said Eberhardt. Interstate 75 “was coming through at the time and there was a lot going on. We wanted to take advantage of that.”
Both had been doing other things when they decided to plunge into real estate. Barry was already 33 years old, working in the restaurant business; Eberhardt was 29, a lawyer-turned banker.
A.P. ‘Buster’ Barry Jr.
Born: in Macon
Education: Bachelor of science in industrial management from Georgia Tech
Position: Partner in Eberhardt & Barry
Born: in Douglas
Education: Bachelor of arts degree in real estate and insurance from the University of Georgia; law degree from University of Georgia
Position: Partner in Eberhardt & Barry
Barry is a Macon native who went to Georgia Tech to study industrial management. After receiving his bachelor of science degree there, he flew as a navigator in the Navy for four years.
He came back to Macon in 1962 to work for his father, who owned Len Berg’s restaurant at the time. But “I couldn’t stand being inside all the time,” Barry said.
So he formed a small, take-out restaurant called Pick-Up Meals by Barry. “I ran Pick-Up Meals for a few years until I got into real estate,” he said. “It was very successful until S&S (Cafeterias) got into the business.”
He recently closed the Pick-Up Meal location on Vineville Avenue because of the increasing competition. He still operates three other locations around Macon.
After Barry got the Pick-Up Meals concept off the ground in the mid-1960s, he started getting interested in commercial real estate. But he didn’t know how to get into the business.
Eberhardt was already selling commercial real estate in his spare time by that point.
He had come to Macon after graduating from the University of Georgia’s law school in 1964. He went to work for what was then Adams, O’Neil, Steele, Thornton, Hemmingway.
But “in law, you always deal with other people’s problems,” Eberhardt said. “It’s a real downer.”
So he left to train in the trust department of the Citizens and Southern National Bank in Atlanta. He spent two years there before moving back to Macon to work in the C&S branch here.
He left the bank in 1967 to work for two friends, Ben Hudson and Asa Marshall. They run the auction firm of Hudson & Marshall. In his spare time, Eberhardt started selling commercial real estate on the side.
“It wasn’t quite like shooting fish in a barrel, but there was an awful lot of activity becaus of the oil companies and everybody else looking at the opportunities along the interstate,” Eberhardt said.
One night in 1969, a mutual friend of Eberhardt and Barry – Bill Evans, a broker with Murphey, Taylor & Ellis at the time – introduced the two. The three formed a company that very night.
They moved a few desks into an old house on West End Avenue as their first office. “It was just a little two-room house. We spent our entire time on the phones,” Barry said. “I bet we were working about 18 hours a day back then.”
Evans, a real estate appraiser, had been selling commercial property for MTE and was the only one of the three with real estate experience and training.
‘Hard data up front’
“We decided from the outset to provide all the hard data up front that big companies like when they buy real estate,” Evans said. He now runs an appraisal office in Savannah called Evans & Associates. “More people are doing that type of work now, but we were doing it even then.”
Evans left Macon shortly after acting as catalyst to form the company. None of the three will talk about why they split. Old wounds have healed, they explained, and now they are friends and work together on projects in Savannah.
Eberhardt and Barry tried their hands briefly in residential real estate sales between 1974 and 1977.
“We thought, why not be in it. Everybody else is making money there,” said Eberhardt. “But one of the happiest days of my life was when we go out of that business. We feel lucky we just broke even.
From there, we decided to just concentrate on the area we knew best – commercial sales,” he said.
The company has always been small. The eight people working there now are the ost the firm has ever had. But the list of Eberhardt & Barry students who graduated on to other ventures is a list of who’s who of Macon.
The alumni include Jim Jackson, who formed his own real estate firm here; John McNeil, who co-founded the McNeil-Pike real estate concern in Macon; Randy Sessions, who went to work for his father at Sessions Realty before moving to the commercial department of Sheridan, Solomon & Kernaghan; and Gene Kernaghan, co-founder of SSK.
“I guessed we had a pretty good training ground,” said Eberhardt.
“I had worked with David Thornton (Thornton Realty Co.) in residential sales, but wanted to get into commercial,” said Kernaghan, now one of the biggest names in real estate in Georgia. “I went to Eberhardt & Barry for several years, where I could learn about it.
“Now they are my competition,” Kernaghan said. “And they’re quite formidable.”
Eberhardt & Barry has branched out in recent years from its core commercial sales business. “We handle a lot of commercial leasing business,” Barry said. “It’s monthly income that you can count on. And it keeps you in constant contact with the market.”
But site selection work is still the firm’s specialty. And the two men have done the work for some of the biggest names in business, including Taco Bell, Del Taco and several motels. “We sold Days Inn its first five sites outside Savannah,” Barry said. “Cecil Day (the founder of the huge hotel chain) was an old frat brother of mine from Tech.” Day died about 10 years ago.
“But you can’t wait around from those big hotel deals in Macon because they are few and far between.” Eberhardt said. “We’ve been successful because we are willing to put in the work for as many of the $30,000 and $40,000 deals as we can.” [/gb_toggle]