CB Richard Ellis announced today the completion of its acquisition of Insignia Financial Group, marking one of the biggest mergers in commercial real estate in recent history. It is no secret that CB Richard Ellis' presence in the New York has been quiet at best, in fact "at the point of the merger I don't think CB Richard Ellis had any retail brokers," says Robin Abrams, executive vice president of The Lansco Corp. and also chair of RBNY retail committee.

While Insignia has been one of the foremost players in office real estate as well as retail, having just under 500 brokers servicing the New York region, who closed 17 of the city's top 50 leasing transactions in 2002, according to Crain's New York Business. "Why do you think they did it, they have wanted for years to have a major foot-hold in the major market of the world," says Faith Hope Consolo of New York-based brokerage Garrick-Aug Worldwide. "They wanted a very big presence in a very short period of time. You don't have ten or 20 years to position yourself in New York, if you want to compete, you have to control."