Press Releases

Avison Young opens new Detroit office, continues aggressive U.S. expansion

Leading Canadian commercial real estate firm opens its 18th location outside Canada;
James Becker becomes Principal and Managing Director

TORONTO, Oct. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young, Canada's largest independently-owned commercial real estate services company, announced today the opening of a newly-formed office in Detroit, Michigan.

The newest American office marks Avison Young's 18th location outside of Canada and an additional step in the firm's ongoing aggressive growth and expansion strategy.

Over the past three and a half years, Avison Young has grown from 11 to, now, 38 offices in 32 markets and from 300 to more than 1,000 real estate professionals across Canada and the U.S.

Effective immediately, James (Jim) Becker joins Avison Young as a Principal and Managing Director of the Detroit office. A 28-year commercial real estate industry veteran, he was most recently International Director and President of the Canadian practice for Jones Lang LaSalle.

In his new role at Avison Young, Becker will focus on overseeing the growth and development of Avison Young's presence in Detroit, as well as servicing new and existing clients and managing the day-to-day operations of the office. He will also focus on opening greenfield offices in Minneapolis and further expanding the Avison Young brand in Ohio, while helping to build the firm's national corporate services platform framework.

"Opening an office in Detroit is an important part of our strategy to establish a strong presence in key markets throughout the U.S.," comments Rose. "Jim has been the trusted advisor to a number of America's largest corporations during his career, and we are thrilled that he has joined our team to help us build our business in several key Midwest markets."

Rose continues: "Detroit is a market that has a significant amount of corporate activity, and we already have a number of clients and prospects in that market. Jim also has the added benefit of being extremely knowledgeable of the Canadian marketplace, as he oversaw that region for Jones Lang LaSalle for several years."

Today's announcement comes on the heels of Avison Young acquiring New Jersey-based project management firm The Walsh Company, LLC and the opening of three offices in South Florida last week. Avison Young also opened its first new office in New Jersey and a third office in Los Angeles (as a result of the firm's acquisition of Los Angeles-based Starrpoint Commercial Partners, Inc.) last month. Since April, the company has also opened new offices in New York, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Charleston, SC.

Earl Webb, Avison Young's President, U.S. Operations, states: "Jim has built a highly successful career around very high-value-added strategy execution and around excellence in client relationship management. I have worked with Jim on several major accounts in our past careers and his ability to deal with complex corporate situations is remarkable. Furthermore, his experience in strategic problem-solving for large organizations will be invaluable at Avison Young. We are very pleased Jim has chosen to come on board as we look to further expand our industry relationships in the Midwest markets."

With the opening of numerous Avison Young offices across the U.S. over the past year, the company is establishing its local corporate infrastructure through the assemblage of a hand-selected team of the industry's leading professionals. Recruiting efforts are focused on Avison Young's core business lines, including capital markets/investment sales, asset management, transaction management, leasing, project/construction management, property management, and consulting and advisory services.

"Avison Young's leadership has a clear vision of why, how, where and with whom it wants to grow the Avison Young platform," says Becker. "The opportunity to capitalize on the Principal-led structure of the company, build on the momentum that has been created during the past two years in the U.S., and benefit from the sterling reputation established by the Canadian professionals, made joining the company very easy. I look forward to introducing Avison Young's differentiated client-centric service model to new and existing clients in Detroit and other Midwest markets."

Becker brings to Avison Young nearly three decades of industry experience. He is a senior corporate executive with broad-based experience in all facets of the real estate spectrum, including driving global portfolio strategy, transaction delivery, project management, integrated facility management and outsourcing initiatives. These professional skills have been augmented by strong leadership acumen that has helped grow service delivery platforms by successfully driving business development, recruiting and strategy at local, regional and international levels.

As International Director (2007-2012) and President, Canada (2010-2012) at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Becker was responsible for all facets of the firm's Canadian business, including the repositioning of its existing platform, recruiting, opening of new offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa, and bolstering of existing teams in Toronto, Montreal and Mississauga with new leadership and talent. Prior to these roles, he served as Market Director, Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota, where he was responsible for JLL's enterprise platform comprising six offices and 700-plus employees. Becker started with the company in 1996 as Senior Vice-President, Chicago, IL after working in various commercial real estate brokerage firms between 1984 and 1996.

Becker is a graduate of the College of Literature, Science & the Arts at the University of Michigan and holds a Bachelor of General Studies. He is a member of the University of Michigan - Alfred A. Taubman School of Architecture search committee and the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan; and on the Board of Directors of the Grosse Pointe South High School Athletic Booster Club.

Detroit is the largest city in the state of Michigan, the 11th largest city in the U.S. and is part of the eighth largest metropolitan area. The Metropolitan Detroit Area has a population of 4 million (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties). As the hub for the resurgent automotive industry, the market is replete with major global companies serving the sector. Healthcare and technology companies have also built a strong base in the region, having found the area's workforce, higher-education infrastructure, and lower-cost structure very attractive.

In February, Avison Young was named a winner of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies program for 2011, sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post and Queen's School of Business.

Founded in 1978, Avison Young is Canada's largest independently-owned commercial real estate services company. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Avison Young is also the largest Canadian-owned, principal-managed commercial real estate brokerage firm in North America. Comprising more than 1,000 real estate professionals in 38 offices across Canada and the U.S., the full-service commercial real estate company provides value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management, financing and mortgage placement services to owners and occupiers of office, retail, industrial and multi-residential properties.

•Editors/Reporters: please click on link to view and download photo of Jim Becker

SOURCE Avison Young (Canada) Inc.