For the second time in six months, a longtime Baton Rouge commercial real estate firm is merging with New Orleans-based NAI/Latter & Blum Inc.

Skill Real Estate said it is joining with NAI/Latter & Blum. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Like the deal Donnie Jarreau Real Estate struck with Latter & Blum in April, Skill will continue to operate out of its own offices, under a slightly modified name. "We'll still operate as Skill Real Estate, but with some kind of reference to NAI/Latter & Blum," said Ben Skillman, broker and owner of the nearly 50-year-old business.

About five people work on the commercial end for Skill Real Estate.

Skillman said he started discussing a merger with Latter & Blum about three or four months ago. "I like the resources they make available to you," he said. "NAI/Latter & Blum has the resources and the contacts."

Rick Haase, president of New Orleans-based Latter & Blum, said the merger fits with his company’s policy of growing by joining with strong local real estate companies. Latter & Blum also operates C.J. Brown Realtors in Baton Rouge, which it acquired in 1995.

"Ben Skillman is a very accomplished professional, and it's a great fit for our organization," Haase said. "The timing for us couldn’t be better as Baton Rouge continues to be one of our strongest regions of operation."

Skillman specializes in raw land. Over the years, he helped put together a number of deals, including the Chili’s and Hampton Inn near the Interstate 10-College Drive intersection, the 235-unit Sterling Burbank apartments off Burbank Drive and the Paula Manship YMCA off Perkins Road. He was also involved in residential development as a founder of the Country Club of Louisiana and Mallard Lakes.

Karl Landreneau, director of Latter & Blum, said the move will benefit clients in the Baton Rouge market by combining Skill's expertise with NAI's global network of offices. 

Latter & Blum is a top 40 real estate brokerage and home services company with sales of more than $2.92 billion.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.