H.G. Smithy Co., one of Washington's oldest and largest real estate management firms, will acquire Braedon Property Management, Inc.

"The end result will be two strong local companies joining forces," Braedon President James L. Eichberg said yesterday. The merger "will enable us to better serve the clients of each," said Smithy President Edmund B. Cronin Jr.

Cronin said the current downturn in the real estate market had not been a factor in acquiring Braedon. The acquisition "gives us a very broad base in the real estate business," he said. The combined companies will lease and manage properties in excess of 10 million square feet, Eichberg said.

Smithy, a full-service management firm also dealing in insurance, mortgage financing and commercial sales, began business in 1903 as N.L. Sansbury Co. before changing its name in 1930. The firm joined Financial General Corp. in 1966 but was sold to private investors in 1977 when laws governing bank holding companies required divestiture of nonbanking businesses.

The Braedon firm began in 1970 as Braedon Property Leasing Inc., and Braedon Property Management Inc., popularly referred to then and now as the Braedon Companies. Eichberg, one of four founders, will be president of Smithy's soon-to-be-formed commercial leasing and management subsidiary. Cofounders Donald H. Mensh and C. Duke Brannock are no longer with the company; the fourth partner, Raymond C. Brophy, is now chairman of Braedon's board of directors but will not be associated with the new firm.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by March 31, when a new name will be given to the Braedon company, which will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Smithy, Eichberg.