The firm that is now CBRE traces its roots to San Francisco in 1906. By the 1940s, that firm grew to become one of the largest commercial real estate services companies in the western United States. In the 1960s and 1970s, the company went public and expanded both its service portfolio and geographic coverage to become a full-service provider with a growing presence throughout the United States. In the 1980s, the firm was owned by Sears, Roebuck.
The next major milestone occurred in 1989 when employees and others acquired the company‘s operations from Sears to form CB Commercial. Throughout the 1990s, CB Commercial moved aggressively to accelerate growth and cultivate global capabilities to meet client demands. The company acquired leading firms in investment management (Westmark Realty Advisors, 1995), mortgage banking (L.J. Melody & Company, 1996) and property and corporate facilities management, as well as capital markets and investment management (Koll Real Estate Services, 1997).
CB Commercial achieved significant global expansion with the 1998 acquisition of REI Limited, the international arm of Richard Ellis, which traces its roots to London in 1773. At this time, the company changed its name to CB Richard Ellis, or CBRE.
Soon thereafter, CBRE announced the acquisition of London-based Hillier Parker May & Rowden, one of the top property services firms operating in the United Kingdom. With this development, CBRE became the first real estate services firm with a platform to deliver integrated real estate services—through one commonly owned, commonly managed company—across the world’s major business capitals.