Vail Valley’s biggest real estate firm acquires Aspen firm Palladium Properties
By the numbers:
27: Slifer Smith & Frampton offices in Summit, Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties. That includes Palladium Properties offices.
135: Brokers in Eagle County.
55: Brokers in Summit County.
30: Palladium Properties brokers in Pitkin and Garfield counties.
VAIL — The biggest real estate company in Eagle and Summit counties is branching out.
In a blue-lit meeting room at the Marriott hotel in Vail, Slifer Smith & Frampton Managing Broker John Pfeiffer called for quiet before announcing that the firm has acquired Palladium Properties, an independent Aspen-based firm with offices in Aspen, Basalt and Glenwood Springs.
But first, Pfeiffer had to address some rumors that had been going around the firm’s offices. Those rumors included:
• East West Partners — founded by partner Harry Frampton — buying Vail Resorts.
• Vail Resorts buying Slifer Smith & Frampton.
• Pfeiffer is retiring.
With the rumors out of the way, Pfeiffer told the full meeting room what actually happened.
Palladium founder Krista Klees — a longtime veteran of the Roaring Fork Valley real estate business — founded what Pfeiffer called a “fiercely independent firm” about four years ago. That firm, with about 30 brokers, had grown into what Pfeiffer called the largest independent real estate company in the Pitkin and Garfield county markets.
Pfeiffer and Klees met last year at a conference in Santa Barbara, California, and immediately hit it off.
The way Pfeiffer tells the story, he asked Klees if she’d consider a partnership with Slifer Smith & Frampton.
Klees replied: “Only with a company like Slifer Smith & Frampton.”
Both Pfeiffer and Klees talked about the similarities in the two firms. Both are active in community philanthropy. Both firms are members of Luxury Portfolio International, an invitation-only international organization.
“Palladium is really a classier version of us,” Pfeiffer joked.
The deal was done over the course of about seven months, with people in Slifer Smith & Frampton’s Avon office working nights and weekends. And, Pfeiffer said, no one leaked the news.
With the deal announced, Pfeiffer said Palladium will become an affiliate of Slifer Smith & Frampton, but will retain its current management.
The deal also creates what Pfeiffer called the region’s largest, independently-owned real estate company.
After the presentation, Pfeiffer said the move into the Roaring Fork Valley is a “natural progression” for both Palladium and Slifer Smith & Frampton.
“It made sense to partner with an independent firm,” Pfeiffer said, adding that Palladium has strategically placed offices to work with both luxury real estate buyers and the broader community.
In the noisy aftermath of the announcement, Klees said she’d long respected the work done by Slifer Smith & Frampton. In fact, she said, she founded Palladium based on many of the larger company’s business and principles of community involvement.
Jeff Moore is the managing broker of Slifer Smith & Frampton’s Summit County operations. While Summit County and Aspen are fairly far apart, Moore said the merger is a good fit for both firms.
“Real estate, especially (in the luxury segment) is about footprint,” Moore said.
The expanded Slifer Smith & Frampton’s footprint will also be attractive to clients. “It’s going to be good for our sellers,” he said.
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While Kaemmer loved skiing, he also loved to work, and in Vail he found what he believed would be an idyllic setting to be both an entrepreneur and a skier.