Knowles and Van Buskirk were most recently with JLL while Shepley was with NAI in central Pennsylvania, where Van Buskirk had also done a stint.
Lee & Associates joins DTZ, Avison Young and HFF, which in the last couple of expanded into the Philadelphia area and added to what is becoming an increasingly crowded field of firms looking to get their share of the market.
Lee & Associates has been in expansion mode during the last three years.
Based in California, the broker-owned firm is starting out its local presence by focusing on the industrial market in the Lehigh Valley and Central Pennsylvania. From there it will work to get a foothold in other sectors such as retail, office and investment as well as other geographic areas.
Philadelphia is a strategic part of its expansion.
“We like the multidisciplinary opportunity that is present in the market and its proximity to other markets,” said Jeffrey Rinkov, chief executive officer of the company.
A bigger East Coast presence also gives it the ability to provide national coverage to clients who have business on both coasts and elsewhere, Rinkov said.
For the brokers who joined the firm, Lee & Associates gives them an equity stake and ability to tap both an entrepreneurial spirit of the firm and what Van Buskirk called an “exceptionally strong brand.”
It has established an office in Camp Hill, Pa., and plans for additional offices as it grows its local presence.