The nation's third largest residential brokerage has bought the Strickland Property Group, one of Pinellas County's most successful real estate firms.
Douglas Elliman, which has more than 7,000 agents in 113 offices around the country, was looking to expand in Florida. It already has offices in Miami, South Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Wellington, Jupiter, Delray Beach and Aventura.
Company chairman Howard M. Lorber said the search led "to Bonnie Strickland and her remarkable team."
"The St. Petersburg area has continued to show strength in the market," he said. "I am confident that this team of agents will continue to lead the market through this rapid evolution we are seeing across Florida."
The financial details of the sale were not released.
Jay Phillip Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman Florida Brokerage, said the company has been searching for the right fit on Florida's west coast for some time. The Tampa Bay area has grown up a lot in the last 10 years, he said.
The area offers "a quiet lifestyle, but with many of the creature comforts that people look for — cultural, culinary, education, heath care," he said.
Many of Douglas Elliman's New York clients have been hit hard by recent tax reforms, which limit deductions for property, state and local taxes. That makes Florida's comparatively low home prices and lack of a state income tax an attractive option for anyone looking to relocate, Parker said.
"We want to be in all the markets that our clients want to be in," he said.
Strickland, a longtime local Realtor, started the Strickland Property Group in 2015. Since then, the firm has sold $368 million worth of property, including $146 million last year at an average sales price of $810,000, according to the Multiple Listing Service.
Strickland and her 16 associates focus on upscale homes, many of them on the waterfront. Her team, for instance, sold 19 of the 52 listings last year in upscale Snell Isle north of downtown St. Petersburg. That total included one of the year's most expensive sales in the Tampa Bay area, a $4.7 million, 11,000-square-foot home on Brightwaters Boulevard.
Strickland has been named executive director of luxury sales at Strickland Property Group of Douglas Elliman Real Estate and will continue to run her sales team.
"After growing this company to the top real estate brokerage of Pinellas County, I consider this union with Douglas Elliman to be our best growth initiative yet," she said in a news release. "With this acquisition I will be able to focus on my passion of servicing my clients with the highest level of service."
With the acquisition, Douglas Elliman now has about 1,100 associates in Florida. Parker said the company plans on expanding but doesn't have any other purchases lined up.
"We are not out there in hungry acquisition mode," he said. "We aren't trying to be the only player in the market. Everything has to be the right fit for us financially and culturally."
Times staff writer Susan Taylor Martin contributed to this report. Contact Graham Brink at email@example.com. Follow @GrahamBrink.