New Orleans company buys Cenla’s Noles-Frye Realty

Noles-Frye Realty, the largest residential and commercial real estate broker in central Louisiana, has been sold to Latter & Blum, Inc/Realtors.  The sale was announced today by Rod Noles, President and Owner of Noles-Frye.

“This is an exciting day for me, for all the employees of Noles-Frye, and for our customers” said Noles. “We have long been the largest real estate broker in this area.  Now we are part of the Latter & Blum family, the largest real estate organization in Louisiana. That means expanded reach for our agents, a greatly expanded scope of services for our customers, and more exposure for Alexandria and the central Louisiana marketplace on the regional and national real estate scene.”

Noles described the move as a strong vote of confidence in the future of Louisiana real estate in general and Central Louisiana in particular by Latter & Blum CEO Robert W. Merrick.

“At a time when there are so many negative stories about real estate, it is gratifying that Mr. Merrick, a renowned real estate investor, sees Noles-Frye and Central Louisiana as smart investments.  I and many others have been touting this area’s potential for years, and it is great to see that others in Louisiana see the same opportunities in Cenla that our citizens do.”

Merrick joined Noles in announcing the sale to Noles-Frye agents and staff, and agreed with Noles’  assessment of the economic future for the region.

“This acquisition was attractive to us for multiple reasons,” said Merrick.  “First, we knew of Rod’s excellent reputation and unparalleled knowledge of the area.  Second, the employees and agents of Noles-Frye have built a great reputation for quality service in this area. Third, we see Central Louisiana as a real hub for commerce in Louisiana moving forward.  And if we want to participate in the region’s growth, the best way to do that is to make Noles-Frye part of the Latter & Blum family.”

Merrick addressed concerns that the area might lose jobs or the iconic Noles-Frye name as part of the purchase.

“Our acquisition strategy has always been to purchase healthy, well-run companies and let the people who have made them successful continue to do what they do best,” said Merrick.

“In 1995, we purchased C.J. Brown Real Estate in Baton Rouge,” Merrick said, referring to the company’s purchase of the second-oldest real estate firm in Louisiana.  “Fifteen years later, C.J. Brown is still the pre-eminent name in Baton Rouge real estate, and the same two managers who ran the residential operations then are still in place.  We have actually moved corporate jobs to the Baton Rouge area rather than cutting support staff there.

“We see the integration of Noles-Frye into Latter & Blum moving forward in a very similar manner, with no jobs eliminated and the Noles-Frye name and its reputation for quality service staying in place.”

Merrick indicated it was possible the existing Noles-Frye commercial operations could be rebranded under a new name in the future, but the residential brokerage will continue as Noles-Frye.  Residential Sales Manager Helen Budd Strickland, an Alexandria native who recently returned to the area, will continue in her present position.

Rod Noles will remain with the company as Senior Commercial Sales Associate.  Noles will retain ownership of Noles-Frye Property Management, which was not part of the sales transaction. Also not included were various properties and partnerships in which Noles has an interest.

Founded by Rod Noles in 1976, Noles-Frye has over 40 real estate agents and 14 support staff employees. The company is the market leader in both residential and commercial sales in Cenla, with over 30% of the market.  The company completed over $45,000,000 in transactions in 2009.

Latter & Blum, Inc./Realtors, the Gulf South’s largest and oldest real estate company, was established in 1916. Latter & Blum operates real estate offices in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Latter & Blum has over 800 residential agents.  The company’s Commercial division, NAI/Latter & Blum, includes over 50 agents in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  The company completed over 9,000 transactions in 2008 with a value in excess of $1.5 billion.

The company can be found on the World Wide Web at www.latter-blum.com (residential services) and www.latterblum.com (commercial brokerage).

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