MANATEE -- Following the lead of their boards of directors, the memberships of the Manatee Association of Realtors and Sarasota Association of Realtors have voted to merge.
An afternoon vote Tuesday at SAR's annual meeting and at a specially convened MAR membership meeting comes just weeks after the directors of both organizations voted for the merger Aug. 27. SAR President Peter Crowley said the memberships of the organizations voted "overwhelmingly" in favor of the measure. On SAR's side, 93 percent of members voted "yes."
The membership of MAR and SAR includes 5,250 Realtors and 489 business partners.
MAR and SAR are scheduled to merge Jan. 1 under a new name, Suncoast Realtor Association. The first president of the combined organization will be Stafford Starcher, a Realtor with the ReMax Alliance Group.
Both of the current presidents of the associations, Crowley and Sherry Richardson-Grooms of MAR, are also ReMax Alliance Realtors.
Crowley and Richardson-Grooms have previously stated that Suncoast will maintain offices at both buildings currently occupied by SAR and MAR. Both presidents
have said annual membership dues will likely decrease with the merger.
Leadership of the groups will develop a budget and a strategic plan for the merged association over the next few months, Crowley said.
The organization's new name must be approved by the National Association of Realtors.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.