Oxford Commercial, a 20-broker commercial real estate firm in Austin, Texas, has severed its ties to Colliers International to ally itself with Cushman & Wakefield.

Colliers International owned Oxford from 1997 through 2004, when local principals purchased it out of the Colliers fold. The company maintained an affiliation with Colliers and retained the name Colliers Oxford Commercial until it announced the realignment this week.

“As good as we had it with Colliers, we believe Cushman & Wakefield is the top name in the real estate business, period, so it’s a great opportunity for us,” says Spencer Hayes, president and managing partner of Oxford Commercial.

Oxford remains a locally owned firm, becoming the 21st member of Cushman & Wakefield’s Alliance program. While not owned by Cushman & Wakefield, Alliance members function as Cushman & Wakefield offices. In Austin, that will make new service lines, such as appraisal, available to Oxford Commercial clients.

Launched five years ago, the Alliance program has enabled Cushman & Wakefield to reestablish footholds in a number of secondary markets, according to Dave Lawton, the program’s executive managing director. “We can get into the market quickly with known brokers and without the capital [expense] on the front end.”

The announcement marks a homecoming of sorts for Oxford Commercial. Cushman & Wakefield first opened the Austin office in 1985, but sold the firm to a group of employees when the company exited the market in 1993. The local firm operated as Oxford Commercial until its acquisition by Colliers in 1997. In 2004, the firm’s local principals bought back the Austin office from Colliers International, retaining the Colliers affiliation.

The new alliance serves to strengthen Cushman & Wakefield’s local market presence and scope of services in Texas by aligning with the leading local firm, while enabling Oxford Commercial to utilize Cushman & Wakefield’s global reach. Cushman has forged similar alliances with other independent real estate companies that initially formed as Cushman offices, including those in Memphis, Nashville, and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

“The Cushman & Wakefield Alliance Program will open new avenues, allowing us to serve our clients on a global basis, while still retaining local ownership,” Hayes says. “From our point of view, it’s the best of both worlds.”