Twin Cities-based Coldwell Banker snaps up northern Minnesota agency

Jim Buchta, Star Tribune
·2 min read

Twin Cities-based Coldwell Banker Realty said Wednesday that it has acquired Coldwell Banker East West Realty, one of the top brokerages in a region that's popular with vacation home buyers.

The deal includes 60 agents in seven offices in St. Louis, Lake, and Carlton counties in Minnesota, and Douglas, Washburn, Bayfield, Ashland and Sawyer counties in Wisconsin. Terms weren't disclosed.

Matt Baker, president of Coldwell Banker Realty in Minnesota and Wisconsin, said that while Coldwell Banker agents in various offices across the state already work with buyers and sellers in those regions, until now the company didn't have a formal presence in the area.

"Their addition strengthens our presence and leadership position in this market area and positions our agents and our company for future growth," said Baker.

The deal comes at a time when second home sales are soaring as low mortgage rates and an increase in the number of remote workers bolster sales in areas that typically appealed mostly to vacation home buyers.

"The synergy between the metro and these communities is really clear," he said. "We've always wanted this."

Before the acquisition Coldwell Banker Realty had 24 sales offices with nearly 2,000 sales associates in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Until a major rebranding at the end of 2019 Coldwell Banker Realty was known as Coldwell Banker Burnet.

Coldwell Banker East West was founded in 1961. Most recently it was an independently owned affiliate of Coldwell Banker that was owned by Greg Kamp and Dick Wenaas, who had been with the firm since the mid 1970s. It will now be rebranded and operate as Coldwell Banker Realty; Wenaas will stay on as a sales manager.

Baker said his company's last acquisition was nearly a decade ago when it acquired a real estate office in St. Cloud. This deal came together after Kamp and Wenaas had been approached by other suitors, but the principals approached Baker about a possible sale.

"They felt an obligation to their sales associates to do that as seamlessly as possible," Baker said. "They complement us extremely well and we can enhance their tools."

In a statement, Greg Kamp, former broker owner Coldwell Banker East West Realty, said the acquisition will give its agents access to the company's technology and resources.

"This strategic decision enables us to expand our foothold in the market," he said.

Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376