Exclusive: Lowe subsidiary acquires Boulder’s Keys Commercial

BOULDER — Hospitality at Work, a Denver-based subsidiary of Los Angeles-based Lowe, has acquired Keys Commercial Real Estate LLC, a Boulder-based property-management company and commercial brokerage founded by Geoffrey Keys in 1984.

Lowe is a real estate investment, development and management company. Hospitality at Work provides property-management services and will assume Keys’ property-management clients, while Keys’ brokerage team will join a newly launched Lowe division, Skye Commercial Inc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Keys

Keys said that his team of eight — including four brokers — will remain with the company, which will continue to be housed in the PearlWest building at 1048 Pearl St.

He said the sale will provide numerous benefits to the Boulder operation.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for everyone in my company to feel the benefit of that expansion,” Keys told BizWest. “Along with it, there’s a big technology gain that we get from Lowe. They’re more tech-driven, which I think is a real advantage in this market.”

Keys said a key advantage will be creation of a regional, Front Range brokerage with strengths in both the Denver and Boulder markets. Lowe this week formed Skye Commercial, headed by longtime Denver broker Alec Wynne, who serves as managing broker.

“Alec Wynne and I had been trying to put together a regional brokerage for quite some time and just hadn’t put it together,” Keys said. “The Lowe team came along late last year and was interested in our idea and kind of wanted to work with us. It seemed like a good cultural fit.”

Keys noted that many companies along the Front Range maintain offices in both Boulder and Denver, and having one brokerage able to service those companies would create regional synergies.

“We’re seeing a lot of companies that have a presence or an office in Boulder, an office in Denver or are expanding in one way or the other,” he said. “It was kind of important for us to get boots on the ground in both markets, just so we could take advantage of providing those services.”

He said that clients will see few changes, other than an expansion of services.

“We don’t anticipate any material changes other than that the phone will be answered differently,” he said. “But we’ll have the same team and provide the same services and hopefully expand those services, too.

“It felt like the right time to do it,” he added.

Marty Caverly, executive vice president of Hospitality at Work, said the Keys acquisition will help the company take advantage of Denver’s increasing profile in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have had a long presence in Denver and really like the market,” he said. “The main reason for the deal is that we view Denver, the Greater Denver area, to be a real beneficiary of the pandemic. A lot of Southern Californians are moving there, for better or for worse for you guys. The economics of this cycle favor Denver. This is a way for us to get ahead of that and service our clients better.”

Keys typically has 500,000 to 800,000 square feet under management. Hospitality at Work has almost 6 million square feet under management, most in the Denver area, and expects substantial growth in that portfolio during 2021.

Lowe has a long history in the Denver market, including with Greenwood Village-based CoralTree Hospitality, which provides asset and property management for hotel and resort properties. Lowe also operates affordable-housing investor and developer Concord Communities. Hospitality at Work in 2019 acquired Rise Commercial, a Denver-based commercial brokerage.

Keys Commercial ranked as the fifth-largest commercial real estate brokerage in the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado in terms of dollar volume brokered as ranked by BizWest in 2020.

Keys is a native of Boulder and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Mile High United Way and on the board for the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder. He also founded the Commercial Brokers of Boulder organization in 1994.

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