From today's Bakersfield Californian:
BY RYAN SCHUSTER, Californian staff writer
The company formerly known as Crisp & Cole Real Estate Inc. is in the midst of reorganizing and downsizing as the local housing market continues to cool.
Local real estate magnate David Crisp has formed a new company, Crisp Real Estate Inc., and operations at Crisp's in-house mortgage company, Tower Lending, have ceased. Crisp's California Avenue offices have closed, plans for new offices have been scaled back and several employees have been laid off.
"It's a result of the downturn in the market in Bakersfield," said Jack Doremus, the former broker of record at Crisp & Cole Real Estate. "People are losing their jobs everywhere."
Crisp declined to address any of the changes in detail.
"It doesn't concern anybody else," Crisp said. "It's my business."
Doremus, who is now sales and production manager at the RE/MAX Magic office in Bakersfield, said he resigned from Crisp & Cole in late March after Crisp told him and five others with high salaries that Crisp could no longer pay them.
"He said, 'I can't make payroll for you guys.' So we left," said Doremus, who said he has remained good friends with Crisp. Doremus said the four others with backgrounds in fields such as human resources and bookkeeping have also landed at RE/MAX Magic.
Crisp's new venture, Crisp Real Estate Inc., was licensed as a corporation by the state Department of Real Estate on April 19.
"Crisp & Cole Real Estate is no longer," Doremus said. "They wanted to form a new company. It's all been switched over to the new name."
Carl Cole, the other half of the former Crisp & Cole partnership, stepped away from the company last year but has remained active in plans to build twin high-rise towers on Cal State Bakersfield's campus. Cole said the towers project -- which has recently shrunk from 32 to 24 stories and is still seeking financing from investors -- will not be affected by changes at the real estate company.
Tower Lending closed its last two loans in March and Crisp is now using another mortgage company, Cole said. Cole said that although he remained the broker of record at Tower, he hasn't had any direct involvement with the company in recent months.
"David was running that company," Cole said. Cole declined to comment on other changes at the company formerly known as Crisp & Cole.
A building that had been slated to become a new home for some Crisp & Cole operations has been put back on the market by Crisp. The approximately 10,000-square-foot building in University Place across from CSUB is listed for sale for $4.5 million. Crisp is listed as the property's selling agent on the Bakersfield Multiple Listing Service property listing.Crisp purchased the building from Bakersfield University Partners for $2.5 million in late April.
As recently as last year Crisp and Cole said publicly that they planned to move Crisp & Cole's California Avenue operations into the University Place property that Crisp purchased and an adjacent leased building on Stockdale Highway. The California Avenue offices have since closed.
The company has signed a 10-year lease with developer Gregory D. Bynum and Associates Inc. on an approximately 5,000-square-foot building next to the property that is for sale.
Greg Bynum, owner of Gregory D. Bynum and Associates Inc., said Crisp & Cole originally planned to use the leased building for Tower Lending. The larger building next door that Crisp & Cole bought was to become home to the company's real estate operations, Bynum said.
Crisp said the leased building is large enough that a second building won't be needed.
"We have enough room in the other one," Crisp said.
Crisp called the change in office space plans "just a business decision" and referred to the building being listed for sale as "an investment."