IRES, REcolorado merger dead — uh, maybe not

LOVELAND — Leaders of an informal group of Realtors calling themselves the Front Range Brokers want to revive merger talks between Information Real Estate Services Inc. in Loveland and REcolorado in Denver that would have formed a regional multiple-listing service.

REcolorado terminated negotiations in May, halting a more than 18-month effort to merge the two MLS’s, saying in a blog posted on its website, that after shareholders of both groups approved the tenets of the merger, IRES added two conditions, one that would allow IRES to walk away from the merged company after one year, and, two, that after merging and sharing data, IRES and REcolorado would operate as independent organizations. The blog post said REcolorado wants to merge, but that the added conditions were a deal breaker.

Kirby Slunaker, president of REcolorado, did not respond to a phone message requesting more information.

A meeting has been set for July 10 at which representatives of the brokers group will sit down with executives and a member of each association’s board that make up the two MLS’s, in an attempt to revive merger talks that REcolorado terminated May 21.

REcolorado’s shareholders are the Denver Metro Association of Realtors, South Metro Denver Realtor Association and Aurora Association of Realtors. Shareholders of IRES are the Boulder Area Realtor Association, Fort Collins Board of Realtors, Greeley Area Realtor Association, Longmont Association of Realtors and Loveland Berthoud Association of Realtors.

The group of brokers is led by Peter Niederman, Kentwood Real Estate in Denver; Brandon Wells, The Group in Fort Collins; Scott Nordby, Berkshire Hathaway/Innovative Real Estate in Denver; Greg Zadel, Zadel Realty in Firestone; and Chad Ochsner, broker and owner of Re/Max Alliance in Arvada.

Niederman, the group’s spokesman, did not respond to phone messages requesting comment on the upcoming meeting.

The group represents brokerages of all sizes from Northern Colorado to Denver that believe it would be best to have one MLS serve the region.

Lauren Hansen, IRES’s chief executive, said REcolorado’s terminating negotiations came as a surprise. She posted in a blog on the IRES website saying that REcolorado sent IRES a letter terminating negotiations the same day leadership from both IRES and REcolorado were scheduled to meet to “further the discussion.”

“We believe that the concept of merging REcolorado and IRES is in the best interest of Colorado real estate brokers and those they serve,” Hansen said. “We continue to feel strongly some agreement for merged-data access is in the best interest of our industry and consumers.”