Routh-Hurlbert Merges with Platz Realty Group

CANFIELD, Ohio — Long-standing commercial and industrial real estate brokers Platz Realty Group and Routh-Hurlbert Real Estate merged into one company Oct. 1. The merger positions the firm for greater visibility in the region and increased opportunities nationally, and will help establish the next generation of real estate agents, says Don Thomas, a sales agent with Platz.

The impetus for the merger came as the two firms collaborated on recent transactions, Thomas says. He declined to specify which transactions, but says the knowledge and experience that both firms brought to the table was the driving force behind the merger.

“We’re capable of working with one another and there’s a good synergy between the two groups that has been forged with doing some deals together,” Thomas says.

Now operating wholly as Platz Realty Group, he says the firm benefits from the extensive knowledge of industrial real estate that Howland-based Routh-Hurlbert brought to the table, as well as its familiarity with and reputation in Trumbull County. Since 2010, Routh-Hurlbert has worked on more than $2.5 billion in projects that have been completed or announced.

By extending its reach regionally, Platz will have more opportunities to increase listings, he says. The combined firm will maintain existing offices in Canfield and Howland.

Platz looks to strengthen its online presence to “serve clients with an expanded offering of different marketing opportunities that nobody else in the Valley is doing on the commercial side,” Thomas says. Those opportunities include greater online presence with websites and LoopNet, an online real estate marketplace. The firm will help clients “put their best foot forward” by employing the latest technology, such as Matterport 3D virtual tours, he adds.

“We made the investment in Matterport about a year and a half ago,” Thomas notes. “You can see the building in real time as if you’re in the building.”

While Platz Realty Group has enjoyed some success in commercial and industrial sales and leasing as well, its focus is on retail and office space. Combined with its national reputation, that will help bring national clients into the Mahoning Valley, he says.

Thomas is a long-time partner with fellow agent Adam Divelbiss; the pair worked together on manufacturing ventures before partnering with Platz.

In recent years, the firm has increased the volume of transactions and dollar volume closed, according to Divelbiss.

“Every planned and unplanned step we took to make the projects come together helped us realize the many different experiences each party brought to the table for our customers,” he says. “It was both easy and natural for us to come together, bringing decades of experience held by [Gris] Hurlbert, [Chuck] Joseph and [Steve] Platz to mentor and create a seamless succession to agents like Matt [Wilson] and I.”

Platz Realty is taking steps to “bring a young, new group to the marketplace,” Thomas says. The firm recently hired two agents and an office manager to run the Canfield office and coordinate with the Howland branch. The combined firm employs 12 agents.

“Platz Realty Group is a group of younger people and guys like me are playing the back nine of our careers,” Hurlbert says.

“This is about jobs for the area,” adds Dan Crouse, who joined Routh-Hurlbert in 2010. “If we do our job right, it creates opportunity for our clients to create more jobs.”

Pictured Left to Right: Don Thomas, managing partner; Gris Hurlbert, agent; Chuck Joseph, agent; Dan Crouse, agent; Erica Cassese, agent; Michele McLaughlin, agent; Adam Divelbiss, agent; Matthew Wilson, agent; Steve Platz, broker; Bob McGovern, agent.

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