"Dee" Maret climbed high at Coldwell Banker Commercial, but longed to work a little closer to home.
Karl “Dee” Maret had a meteoric and what many would consider an enviable rise over the course of more than a decade at Coldwell Banker Commercial.
Following a five-year stint as an agent in the New Jersey-based NRT LLC network in Tampa, Maret in 2012 shifted into management of the company’s office there. Shortly thereafter, Central Florida was added to his territory.
Two years later, Maret was promoted again, this time to director of the company’s entire Florida operation, which comprised at the time six offices with 130 agents from Pensacola to Naples. In 2014, Coldwell Banker Commercial closed more than $600 million in sales and $220 million in leases in the state.
That performance, in part, earned Maret yet another bump up the corporate ladder, to co-director of the commercial real estate brokerage’s operations nationwide.
At the same time, he was also appointed the point person for the brokerage’s top 15 franchises nationwide, which required constant shuttling between Seattle and Lakeland, to name two locales.
“The travel just got to be too much for me,” says Maret, 58, who moved to Florida from his native Georgia in the mid-1980s. “There were several occasions where I’d have a Friday afternoon flight cancelled and I’d be stuck somewhere all weekend.
“And I was constantly on the road, literally going coast to coast — Long Island to Greenville, South Carolina, then back to Philadelphia.”
Around Thanksgiving, he came to the realization that he needed a change and left the firm he’d been a part of for the past 11 years.
“CB was great to me, and great for me,” Maret says. “(Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate and Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT President) Clark Toole was great to me, a great mentor to me. He treated me with class, and I hope all the folks there will always be my friends.”
Maret took the month of December 2018 off to rest, regroup and assess his future, leaning on many industry contacts he’d made as the president of the CCIM Institute’s Florida West Coast chapter last year.
He was eventually approached by Kris Dumke and Dan Huntington, a pair of Coldwell Banker Commercial veterans who’d also left the firm to start their own boutique brokerage, Bridgewater Commercial Real Estate.
At the start of the year, Maret joined them as a Broker Associate.
Bridgewater plans to focus on commercial sales of office, retail and industrial properties in and around St. Petersburg and Pinellas County to start.
“We’re really geographic-centric,” Maret says. “We feel strongly that there’s a real opportunity for us in this market. We plan to represent all commercial sectors, but we’ll also delve into residential properties if the opportunity presents itself.”
Earlier this month, the opportunity did just that, when Texas-based Amherst Residential LLC closed on a $7.06 million deal for 77 single-family rental homes in neighborhoods south of St. Petersburg’s downtown.
The deal brokered by Huntington with Amherst, which has acquired more than 25,000 residences nationwide over the past seven years, has put Bridgewater on the proverbial map. Maret says the brokerage’s telephones have rung constantly since news of the deal broke.
As for Maret, he says he intends to rely heavily on his Coldwell Banker training and experience as he delves back into pure brokerage work.
“I learned a lot about the business and how to do a lot of different transactions while there, and since I oversaw the top 15 franchises in the company, I was able to get close to the top Coldwell Banker agents and learn a lot about what made them successful and their best practices,” Maret says.
“It’s been a big change for me; now I am hustling again like I haven’t had to for years, back on the street,” he says. “But it’s been good for me. It was just time for me to do something different, and once you realize you need to do something like that, you just have to do it.
“I’ve learned you have to constantly challenge yourself.”