More offices merging with bigger firms


Three of the Baltimore area's largest real estate companies have increased their size by merging with small firms in the area, continuing an industrywide trend.

O'Conor Piper & Flynn, Long & Foster and Prudential Preferred ** Properties each have joined forces with smaller companies or offices within other companies.

For O'Conor, Piper and Flynn, the merger involved Marian Ayres Realty Inc., a 12-year-old company active in Baltimore and Baltimore and Harford counties.

Founded by Marian and Carolyn Ayres, the company has joined the White Marsh office of O'Conor, Piper and Flynn at 7920 Honeygo Blvd. "Our reputation for personal service will remain intact and can only be enhanced by our affiliation with O'Conor, Piper & Flynn," Carolyn Ayres said.

Randall Realty, a Glen Burnie-based real estate company formerly in the Cromwell Shopping Center, recently merged with Long & Foster. Randy Sollenberger, who owned and managed Randall Realty, has been named manager of Long & Foster's Glen Burnie office at 7348 Ritchie Highway.

Mr. Sollenberger said he made the move because he wanted his agents "to be positioned with a strong, stable company that offers many corporate support programs."

The most unusual merger involved Prudential Preferred Properties, which has combined its six Anne Arundel County offices with the three Anne Arundel offices of Mount Vernon Realty.

Ray Chappell, chief executive officer of The Prudential Preferred Properties, and Howard Rooks, chief executive officer of Mount Vernon Realty, said the two companies will remain competitive in the Washington and Virginia markets even though they are combining resources in Anne Arundel County.

While such a limited combination of forces by two companies is rare, the agreement was done "with the utmost concern for the associates, customers and clients of Mount Vernon," Mr. Chappell said.

"In order to continue excellent service to the Mount Vernon customers and clients in Anne Arundel County, I wanted to know the ssociates had the full service of an Anne Arundel County-based firm with multiple offices and dominant market share," Mr. Rooks said.

Under the agreement, Mount Vernon Realty's Annapolis and Eastport offices have been combined with existing Prudential offices in the Annapolis and Arnold areas. Mount Vernon's Severna Park office, managed by Vice President Charles Cockrill, will remain in its present site, giving Prudential a second Severna Park location.

Mount Vernon Realty's Anne Arundel offices represent the latest of several expansions for Prudential's Baltimore division, headed Carole Greenwald-Ryan. In recent months, Prudential also has absorbed Bishop Company of Annapolis; Giddings Real Estate of Annapolis and Severna Park; and the offices of Meredith Real Estate/Better Homes and Gardens in Baltimore.


Around the region:

* Montgomery County's Housing Opportunities Commission began construction last week on the most ambitious undertaking in its 25-year history, the 16-story, 311-unit Alexander House apartment building in downtown Silver Spring.

* The KMS Group has set May 15 as the grand opening date for Piney Orchard, the 2,000-unit community it has launched in western Anne Arundel County. Initial homebuilders include Landmark Homes, Troutman Communities, Ryan Homes and Cornerstone Homes.

* Architect Arthur Andersson, a partner of American Institute of Architects 1991 Gold Medal winner Charles Moore, will discuss his own work in a public lecture May 7 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Tickets are available at the door or in advance from the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects at 625-2585.

* Trafalgar House Residential/Maryland has released for sale the final section of homes in the 224-unit Summit Chase community in the Pikesville-Greenspring section of Baltimore County.

It already has sold more than 100 homes in the first two sections of the community, where prices start at $160,000.

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