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Brue, Baukol join forces to take Denver CRE firm to next level

Baukol Brue
Geoff Baukol, a top Denver commercial real estate investment sales broker, left, has joined investor Chad Brue, right, at Brue Baukol Capital Partners. Brue is the company’s founder and CEO, and Baukol is a partner and president.

Leading commercial real estate investor Chad Brue and top investment sales broker Geoff Baukol have teamed up to form Brue Baukol Capital Partners.

Brue, a former CBRE senior executive, founded Brue Capital Partners in Denver in 2011, assembling and developing a portfolio of industrial, multifamily, office, resort and mixed-use properties. Baukol brings more than 17 years of commercial real estate experience to the firm, including expertise in institutional investment.

Brue said Brue Baukol Capital Partners will continue to pursue value-add and development opportunities, but also expects to take on larger projects – including development of a River North parcel that could accommodate up to a million square feet of office, plus 2,500 apartment units and parking.

“My expertise has always been on the high-net-worth, private side of the business, so that’s where our capital comes from. One of the reasons for bringing on Geoff was his experience and knowledge in institutional space, and his reputation and relationships in institutional space, so that we can start to do some larger projects,” said 43-year-old Brue.

“It’s hard to raise $100 million in $100,000, $200,000 increments, but an institutional partner can come in for those larger dollars. So we’ll be focusing on some larger projects, in addition to pursuing smaller value-add opportunities.” They also are pursuing stabilized, cash-flowing assets.

Baukol, 41, has completed more than $3 billion in commercial real estate investment sales. He came to Brue Baukol Capital Partners from CBRE, where he was an executive vice president in institutional investment properties.

“I was having a good run in investment sales and brokerage, and I loved brokerage and loved CBRE,” said Baukol. “But as our talks began and escalated over a series of months, it became evident to me that we have the opportunity to do something very special here,” he said, adding he sees no ceiling to what the firm can accomplish for itself and its investors.

Brue and Baukol are longtime friends and colleagues who started their careers at Grubb & Ellis and worked together at CBRE. At 35, Brue was managing the firm’s Private Client Group, overseeing 350 brokers in 54 markets in the United States and Canada.

He started Brue Capital Partners just as newly licensed recreational marijuana growers were scrambling for industrial space. “We had 36,000 square feet for lease and I had probably 200,000 square feet of tenants that wanted it,” he said. “Every time we bought a building, we were able to raise rents higher than the previous one.”

Although the company became known as “the marijuana guys,” 92 percent of its investments are outside that realm. They include Frost Creek, a 2,600-acre property that Brue competed against Vail Resorts and Donald Trump to buy; the Denargo Market site in RiNo; and 4 acres at the 41st and Fox commuter rail station, which Brue Baukol Capital will develop with Littleton Capital Partners. Brue partnered with Littleton Capital on the Oxford Station transit-oriented apartment development and teamed with Confluent Development to develop the 77,500-sf Lab on Platte office building in Denver, which was sold.

Brue Baukol Capital Partners plans to continue partnering with developers seeking equity partners.

“One of the things we’ve found that we’re really good at is raising capital,” said Brue, noting that over Thanksgiving 2015, the company was fully subscribed on a $25 million raise within 24 hours and the next day had $50 million worth of investor interest. “I think it’s because our investors know they can trust us, and they know we only work on quality deals that are good investments,” Brue said.

Featured in CREJ’s March 1-14, 2017, issue

Jill Jamieson-Nichols has been an Editor with the Colorado Real Estate Journal for more than 15 years, providing coverage of office, industrial, hospitality and mixed-use development news in the Denver metro area, plus all property types in Northern Colorado, Boulder County and along the Highway 36 corridor. Prior to joining CREJ, Jill was Editor of…