Photo credit: CoStar Group

Timed with the 10-year anniversary of the launch of Lee & Associates | Maryland, the local affiliate of the world’s largest employee-owned brokerage firm has expanded its lease at 8840 Stanford Boulevard, Columbia. The group now occupies approximately 4,800 square feet of space, in the building owned by Merritt Properties to house its 15 full-time brokerage professionals, property management staff and marketing and administrative team.

The Maryland office was founded by Allan Riorda and Tom Whelan, and currently features five brokerage professionals ― also including Kate Jordan, Bill Harrison, and Marley Welsh ― that have been with the team since its inception.

“A number of factors drove this expansion decision, led by our primary objective to aggressively grow our local office and tap into the suburban Maryland-Northern Virginia region to take advantage of emerging opportunities,” said Allan Riorda, president, and principal of Lee & Associates | Maryland. “We intend to accomplish this in partnership with our sister office in Washington, D.C., and by adding fresh talent in all real estate disciplines including retail, multi-family and investment sales. Strengthening and enlarging our existing commercial office and industrial group, the recognized backbone of our team, is also part of the strategy.”

With many companies downsizing, allowing remote or hybrid work situations or closing their offices entirely to revert to a virtual environment, Lee & Associates felt it was extremely important to “double-down on the importance of an in-person option for our team, according to Principal Kate Jordan.

“Our team knows that there is no replacement for collaborating in-person to creatively exchange or brainstorm ideas and problem-solve,” said Jordan. “Understanding that our brokerage professionals and clients work out of the office frequently, we intend to add small ‘executive touch down spaces’ that provide laptop connectivity for anyone who needs a touchdown spot.”

“There is no denying that office configurations have considerably changed, but we feel strongly about maintaining an atmosphere that promotes working together and preserves our collaborative corporate culture,” she said. “Hybrid is here to stay, so having an office that feels like home when you can work from home is important. We have upped our snack game and are excited for some pickleball matches on the new courts Merritt built at the building. We want people to enjoy being back in the office when they are here.”

The workplace culture at Lee & Associates is built to combat toxicity, often caused by uncomfortable competition in the office, jealousy and resentment, feelings of unwelcomeness, lack of collaboration and poor executive leadership.

“Brokers shifting companies is more prevalent than ever and professionals join firms for different reasons, but we work extremely hard to offer brokers exactly what they need in the specific stage of their career and we never take anything for granted,” Riorda adds. “We know that young brokers require strong mentors that can teach them the craft, while more seasoned professionals crave collaboration and complete transparency. Everyone, no matter their age or accomplishments, want a pleasant workplace environment where they do not feel micromanaged or overjudged.”