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Aspen entrepreneur adds to real estate empire

ASPEN – Aspen entrepreneur Marcos Rodriguez made another addition to his rapidly burgeoning real estate empire Wednesday by acquiring Wendy Lucas and Co.

Lucas has owned and operated her own firm, based in Basalt, for four years. She will now be managing broker of the newly formed Wendy Lucas Aspen firm under Rodriguez’s ownership umbrella.

Rodriguez has burst into the Aspen real estate market in the past five months, as it is going through one of its worst slumps ever because of the recession. His first step was acquiring Aspen Homes Realty in September 2009. He started Aspen Preferred Properties in November and Aspen Business Brokers in December. He acquired a long-established firm, Aspen Real Estate Co., also in December, and now has added Lucas’ firm.

Lucas said she and Rodriguez started discussing his purchase of her firm before Thanksgiving. She said 2009 was a challenging year for her business. She closed 20 sales compared to more than 100 in a typical year. However, the difficulties weighed less in her decision to sell than the opportunities presented by Rodriguez, she said. He owns KSNO, KUUR, TV Aspen channel 19 and the website http://www.aspenglenwood.com, which provides expansive marketing exposure to his real estate brokerages, Lucas said.

The deal also removes from Lucas the burden of providing the funds to run a real estate office.

“I don’t have to worry about taking care of all the expenses and can concentrate on what I do best,” she said of showing and selling real estate.

In return for removing the funding burden, she will surrender the commissions her firm received when its real estate agents closed a sale. Those will now go to Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was traveling out of the country Wednesday, but provided this statement when asked why he chose to acquire Lucas’ firm: “Wendy’s a very natural fit for what we’re doing because we want to kick up the intensity a few notches and not be complacent. Real estate brokering requires salesmanship, and demands creation and assertiveness in order to super-serve property owners and get them top dollar and a great buyer. Wendy gets it.”

Lucas’ firm is currently located in the Willits Town Center in Basalt. She is attempting to sell her 1,700-square-foot space. She is shopping for an office in Aspen to locate Wendy Lucas Aspen. She anticipates recruiting six to eight brokers and a full-time office manager.

She said it was important for her to keep her own identity. That’s why Rodriguez’s offer appealed to her.

“Whatever the public’s perception is, all the firms are not the same,” Lucas said. In addition, she said, she has worked hard at branding her name. Richard Duddy, a real estate agent in her office, will make the move to Aspen.

Lucas said she will continue selling midvalley real estate despite her move to Aspen. She represents the developers of three major downvalley projects – the residential portion of the Willits subdivision in Basalt; Willits Bend in Eagle County; and the new Mountain Sage condominium project in Carbondale.

Lucas retained ownership of her property management company. It will continue to be based out of the midvalley.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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