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Winder Out

Winder and Co. sells to California company

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Here's another sign that Boise is turning into a regional hub: Boise commercial real estate mainstay Winder Company has sold to California-based real estate brokerage Lee and Associates.

Founder Chuck Winder confirmed the sale late last week, stating that after 29 years in business, the offer was just too good to pass up. He declined to say just how good it was.

"It's one of those opportunities that doesn't come along very often in your lifetime," Winder told BW.

Effective this week, Winder and Company will become Lee and Associates of Idaho, Inc. Winder will stay on as president and managing partner, and will be a principal in the larger Lee company.

The whole deal went down in just 90 days after Lee had expressed interest in getting into the Boise market late last year. Winder said he has received offers to join with other national real estate companies in the past, but had never been tempted until this offer.

The buyout means an expansion in the downtown Boise office. Winder said he expects to go from five employees to nearly 20 by next year. The deal also means access to markets in the Southwest corner of the country for Boise-based agents.

The appeal for Lee is a foothold in the lucrative and growing Northwest. Boise is the company's first office in the region, although it is already one of the country's largest real estate firms.

Principals in the Lee company couldn't help but notice the large amount of investments Southern California residents were making in the Gem state in recent years. For them, it seemed only logical to head north, according to a release issued by Lee.

There are already a few deals in the works, but Winder didn't know the specifics.

"[Lee's clients are] basically saying, in their minds, Boise's one of the places where they want to do business," he said. "It's a major growth market for the future.

"This is going to be really good for us and the Boise market," Winder said.

The timing of the deal couldn't be better for Winder, who recently won his Republican primary race for the District 14 senate seat. He's running unopposed in the general election, and is thereby basically guaranteed the seat.

Winder came out on top of a five-way primary, running neck-and-neck with incumbent Sen. Stan Bastian. After an agonizingly long night waiting for results, Winder ended up with 2,713 votes to Bastian's 2,076.

Winder said he made Lee and Associates well aware of his political aspirations during the negotiating stage, and the company was supportive of his goal.

"It will make it easier to actually go do this than if I had to do it on my own," he said.

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