Alain Pinel buys S.F. firm 

Alain Pinel Realtors, one of the top-three Bay Area residential real estate brokers, has purchased boutique luxury-home realty firm Ritchie Hallanan Real Estate Ltd., creating an entry into the San Francisco and Napa county markets. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"This is our first substantial office in The City, and we’ve waited a long time for it," Alain Pinel Realtors Chief Operating Officer Larry Knapp said.

To provide local expertise, the firm hired former Pacific Union Real Estate President Tim Murray as vice president and manager for its new region, Knapp said. Ritchie Hallanan owners Joseph Gartland Moore and David Papale will also stay as directors of agent development, selling houses and recruiting and training real estate agents.

Ritchie Hallanan has an office on Buchanan Street and one in St. Helena, with approximately 30 agents combined. Specializing in high-end residential property, Ritchie Hallanan’s average sale in 2006 topped $2.5 million, and the firm sold approximately 100 houses in 2006, Knapp said. He hopes to expand Alain Pinel’s San Francisco presence to 80 to 100 agents.

"It will create some more competition for the luxury real estate market," San Francisco Association of Realtors President John Asdourian said. "It brings in a very reputable broker from the Peninsula to the San Francisco market."

Moore and Papale sold their company to take advantage of Alain Pinel’s larger size and business practices, Moore said.

"We had to take it to the next level in terms of marketing and support," as well as technology, Moore said. "We all want to thrive and prosper as sales people, and it just makes it that much easier."

Alain Pinel Realtors had a 2006 sales volume of $6.71 billion, with an average sale price of $1.14 million, according to a release. The company has more than 1,200 agents and 25 offices after the acquisition. It is headed by owner and CEO Paul Hulme.

kwilliamson@examiner.com

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