Avison Young expands into Florida, 30 members join from Flagler Real Estate Services

Pike Rowley becomes Managing Director, South Florida; expansion adds 3.4 million
square feet to Avison Young's property management portfolio

TORONTO, Oct. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young, Canada's largest independently-owned commercial real estate services company, announced today that it has expanded its operations into Florida.

Effective immediately, 30 members from South Florida's leading brokerage and property management firm Flagler Real Estate Services, LLC (FRES) join Avison Young, forming the nucleus for Avison Young's entry into the Florida commercial real estate markets.

The move further expands Avison Young's market coverage in the Southeast U.S. Avison Young's new Florida operations will be headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, with branch offices in Boca Raton and Miami.

The newest American offices collectively represent Avison Young's 17th market (South Florida) outside of Canada, and an additional step in the firm's aggressive growth and expansion strategy.

Over the past three and a half years, Avison Young has grown from 11 to, now, 37 offices in 31 markets and from 300 to more than 1,000 real estate professionals across Canada and the U.S.

The expansion also adds 3.4 million square feet (msf) to Avison Young's property management portfolio, bringing the total square feet under management to approximately 50 msf.

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FRES is the service arm of Flagler - one of Florida's oldest and largest full-service commercial real estate companies. FRES is consistently ranked among the top brokerage and property management companies in Florida.

The move adds eight new Principals to Avison Young: S. Pike Rowley, Keith O'Donnell, Wayne Schuchts, Greg Martin, A.J. Belt III, Brian Mark, Michael Vullis and Scott Auker.

Rowley, most recently President of FRES, becomes Managing Director of Avison Young's Florida region. He will focus on overseeing the growth and development of Avison Young's presence throughout Florida, as well as servicing new and existing clients and managing the day-to-day operations of the South Florida offices.

Also joining Avison Young are the following brokers from FRES: David Bateman, David Duckworth, Van Barron, Brett Rowley and Jonathan Senn.

"We are thrilled to be welcoming Pike Rowley and his team to the Avison Young organization. Expanding our brand into the Florida marketplace is an important part of our strategy to establish a strong presence in key markets across the U.S.," comments Rose. "We have always viewed the major Florida markets as critical to our national platform, especially as the demographics continue to shift in that direction, and as capital from both North America and South America continues to seek investments in these markets."

Rose continues: "Pike and his group of senior partners, who will be responsible for the expansion of the Avison Young platform statewide, all have extensive experience with both occupier and investor clients in the key markets of Florida, and they will provide us with a solid platform from which to grow our business throughout the state and in the region."

Today's announcement comes on the heels of Avison Young opening an 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.

"We are very excited to have the Flagler team members join our Avison Young family. The move provides an anchor for our company to further expand into other significant Florida markets," states Earl Webb, Avison Young's President, U.S. Operations. "Pike and his team have a long history of success in South Florida, both as the former Codina firm as well as with Flagler, and have established a stellar reputation for excellent client service. The Florida region is a significant growth area for Avison Young, and we are very pleased to be partnering with one of the most dominant real estate players in the Florida market."

The team joining Avison Young services four asset classes: office, retail, industrial and multi-family. Past and present clients include: AMB Property Corporation, American Express, Duke Realty, IBM, Clarion Partners, JP Morgan, MetLife, Prudential, Siemens, SunTrust Bank, The St. Joe Company, Bacardi, Barclay's, UPS and TIAA-CREF, to name a few.

Recent honors/rankings include: no. 1 largest brokerage firm in the state of Florida, ranked by the total dollar value of transactions closed in 2010 - Real Estate Forum (2010); and no. 1 largest property management firm in South Florida, ranked by the total square footage managed in the marketplace - South Florida Business Journal (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). In 2011, the brokerage team leased or sold $536 million in total transaction dollar amount, and leased 4.5 msf of office, industrial and retail space.

Recent transactions include: Office Depot HQ: 635,000 sf, 15-year build-to-suit office lease in Boca Raton deal, subsequent sale; Bulletline lease: 475,000-sf deal, 15-year industrial lease in Miami; Altadis lease: 56,000 sf, eight-year office lease in Fort Lauderdale; acquisition/management assignment: exclusive engagement with offshore investment group to acquire $200 million annually in single-tenant credit leased assets.

"Avison Young's platform fits us like a glove," says Rowley on behalf of his team. "We are able to tap into a national platform with a group of senior level brokers and property managers who share our culture of excellence and client service. Seasoned brokers and real estate executives reach a turning point in their careers where ownership in their company is important to them. Most options include owning your own company, which means running your own company. Avison Young has created a platform that provides an ownership structure without the headaches of operational decisions. This principal/shareholder-based model has attracted the nation's best talent with key executives and producers focused on client solutions."

He adds: "My team learned very quickly that the peer group within Avison Young comprises passionate crew members rowing in the same direction. Avison Young's company-wide collaboration is refreshing, and puts the client first. The members of my team have longstanding relationships with institutional and private clients who expect great service and intelligent solutions. We needed a partner who aligned with our interest in serving these clients, and we found that with Avison Young."

Avison Young's new Florida headquarters will be located at 515 E Las Olas Boulevard, Suite 400, Fort Lauderdale. Branch offices will be located at 1875 NW Corporate Boulevard, Suite 280, Boca Raton, and 1111 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1100, Miami.

South Florida (generally defined by the three major counties Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach) is the seventh largest metropolitan statistical area in the U.S. The region has approximately one-third of Florida's total population of 5.5 million citizens. South Florida also has the third largest consular corps in the U.S, and approximately 60% of the population is in the prime working ages. The region's strong tourism industry, as well as seasonal residents, help fuel the market, providing solid demand and consumer spending. South Florida is home to a large number of corporate headquarters and major operations, including American Express, AutoNation, Motorola, Carnival, Templeton, Ford, Office Depot, Ryder, Citrix, Bacardi & many others.

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 37 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.


Pike Rowley

Pike Rowley brings to Avison Young more than three decades of commercial real estate experience, with expertise in office and industrial leasing, property management, acquisitions and dispositions. Prior to joining Avison Young, he served as president of Flagler Real Estate Services, where he was responsible for overseeing day-to-day brokerage operations, and property management of more than 12 msf of industrial, office and retail space for corporate, private and institutional clients.

Rowley attended Clemson University, where he received a full four-year tennis scholarship. He also obtained a Master of Commercial Real Estate from CoreNet Global in 2001 and served as an instructor for its educational institute. Throughout his career, Rowley has been active in professional and community organizations. He has served as President of NAIOP's South Florida chapter and founded the South Florida Office Brokers Association. His awards include NAIOP's and BOMA's Broker of the Year honors. He also sits on the board of directors for Miami-Dade-based non-profit His House Children's Home.

Keith O'Donnell

Keith O'Donnell brings more than three decades of commercial real estate expertise to Avison Young. Prior to joining the firm, he served as Senior Managing Director for Flagler Real Estate Services. During the past decade, O'Donnell has been responsible for the completion of more than $3 billion worth of regional U.S. transactions, including 3.5 msf of properties for IBM and Siemens. Significant assignments in Boca Raton include: Mizner Park, Office Depot Global Headquarters, Lynn Insurance, BlueLake, IBM, NCCI, and Lynn University, totaling more than 4 msf, 800 acres, and $1 billion in value.

Prior to joining Flagler, O'Donnell formed Southcoast Partners Development and Southcoast Partners Realty. In the 1980s, O'Donnell served as a broker with the firm now known as CBRE, where he was consistently a Top Sales Award winner. He also served as Vice-President of the commercial division for Arvida/JMB, directing the land planning, entitlement, development, marketing, sales and leasing of mixed-use assets. O'Donnell has sat on the executive boards of several community groups, including the Boca Raton Planning and Zoning Board, and is past Chair of the downtown Boca Raton Visions Committee. He is currently the incoming Chair of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce; sits on the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Board, the Palm Beach County Business Development Board and the Allianz PGA Golf Championship Board; and is Co-Chair of the nationally recognized MedUTech initiative.

A.J. Belt

A.J. Belt has served clients in the commercial real estate industry since 1983. He specializes in retail properties, paying particular attention to brokerage and recapitalization of joint-venture structures. He relies on his extensive experience within capital markets and knowledge of financial structuring and asset and property management. Prior to joining Avison Young, Belt served as Senior Vice-President, Asset Management with Flagler Real Estate Services from 2010 to April 2012. During the previous 12 years, he co-founded and operated the publicly-traded Dutch retail real estate fund DIM Vastgoed, N.V. Over the course of his career, he has been responsible for the acquisition, disposition and management of more than $2 billion worth of commercial real estate assets.

Belt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1981). In addition to being a licensed Florida real estate broker, he also has a U.S. Green Building Certification Institute designation. From 1986 to 2005, he held a certified general contractor's license in Florida.

Greg Martin

Greg Martin's commercial real estate career has spanned more than two decades, exclusively in the South Florida area. Before joining Avison Young, he served as Senior Vice-President with Flagler Real Estate Services for two years and spent a total of 16 years with Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE. Martin specializes in office leasing and primarily focuses on landlord agency in the Broward and Palm Beach Counties. With experience in building sales and tenant representation, he has developed a diverse background that includes marketing and promotions, enabling him to serve clients with a variety of requirements. Current and past clients include: TIAA- CREF, Tricony Partners, SunTrust Bank, Clarion Partners, TA Associates, HDG Mansur, Mainstreet Capital Partners, DRA Advisors, West City Partners, and The Alter Group.

During his career, Martin has earned several industry awards, including NAIOP Broker of the Year (2004). He was a finalist for the award in four other years and earned such other accolades as the South Florida Business Journal Deal of the Year, and Rookie of the Year with both Cushman & Wakefield (2002) and CBRE (1995). Martin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Westminster College in Futton, Missouri, where he was also a four-year letterman on the varsity men's basketball team.

Wayne Schuchts

Wayne Schuchts has more than two decades of commercial real estate experience. Specializing in office and industrial property transactions for institutional investors and corporate users, he has negotiated the completion of more than $5 billion and 12 msf worth of transactions, including 50-plus transactions involving properties greater than 100,000 sf. He has represented notable clients such as AutoNation, Bacardi USA, the State of Florida, UPS, and Sara Lee. Prior to joining Avison Young, Schuchts served as Senior Vice-President for Flagler Real Estate Services, after opening CBRE's West Dade office and owning the Staubach franchise for South Florida. The Staubach franchise was later sold to Jones Lang LaSalle.

Schuchts has garnered several industry honors during his career, including NAIOP Broker of the Year and CBRE # 1 Producer of the Year. Before launching his real estate career, he played quarterback in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. Schuchts studied at the University of Virginia and Colgate University. He has held board, founder and member positions with a number of community groups, including Community Partners for the Homeless, Nova Southeast University Sports Advisory Board, Indian Creek, the Orange Bowl committee and Champions Camp, which serves youth in high school and college. He has also completed an Ironman Triathlon.

Michael Vullis

Michael Vullis has been responsible for the property management of more than 24 msf of commercial properties during his real estate career, which has spanned more than two decades. Prior to joining Avison Young, he spent 17 years at Flagler Real Estate Services, where he most recently served as Vice-President of Property Management. During his tenure at Flagler, the property management division was ranked the largest property management firm in South Florida by the South Florida Business Journal between 2008 and 2011. Vullis' prestigious client roster includes corporate, private and institutional investors. Prior to moving to Flagler, he served as Vice-President and Controller with Equitable Real Estate/Compass Management, overseeing all financial and asset management reporting for the South Florida and Washington, DC offices.

Vullis is a member of BOMA, serving on the sustainability committee, and remains active in several industry associations. He is a member of NAIOP and the Institute of Real Estate Management and participates frequently as a panelist at South Florida forums on sustainable property management practices. He holds an accounting degree from Queens College in New York City.

Brian Mark

Since launching his real estate career in 1997, Brian Mark has facilitated more than $2 billion worth of commercial property transactions. During this time, he has acted in both an advisory and management role and overseen the financial-reporting functions on more than 200 properties. Mark joined Avison Young after serving as Vice-President of Finance of Flagler Real Estate Services following its merger with DBR & Associates in April 2011. Prior to joining Flagler, Mark spent 14 years with DBR & Associates, a $1-billion asset and property management company, where he was responsible for overseeing the financial reporting for publicly-traded firm DIM Vastgoed, N.V., a grocery-anchored fund with properties located throughout the Southeast U.S. In addition to this role, he acted as a consultant and asset manager for many private clients, providing acquisition and disposition strategies as well as negotiating more than 500 leases with many national retail tenants.

Mark joined the commercial real estate industry from the public-accounting sector after gaining experience with two companies while analyzing and evaluating various firms' accounting and control procedures. He holds an economics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Science in accounting from the American University in Washington, DC.

Scott Auker

Scott Auker is a multi-family property specialist with more than 15 years of experience in the real estate industry. He has led the acquisition, development, construction or management of more than 5,000 multi-family units and 1 msf of commercial projects across the Midwest and Eastern U.S. His expertise includes the acquisition and repositioning of existing assets, as well as the development of new projects, including structuring investment partnerships, project entitlements, project design, structuring debt and equity financing, development and construction management, property management, and investment sales. Prior to joining Avison Young, Auker served as Director of Development, Acquisition and Multi-Family for Flagler Real Estate Services. Before joining Flagler, he founded ADI, a South Florida-based developer of multi-family rental and condominium projects. He was also previously involved with several national multi-family development firms, including JPI, Altman and Clark Realty Capital, where he led many projects across the country.

Auker holds an architectural-engineering degree from the Pennsylvania State University; and an MBA from the American University in Washington, DC. He is active in local church and charitable organizations, including Lifework Leadership, and serves on the board of the National Christian Foundation of South Florida.

• Please click on link to view and download photos of Pike Rowley, Scott Auker, A.J. Belt III, Brian Mark, Gregory Martin, Keith O'Donnell, Wayne Schuchts, Michael Vullis:

SOURCE Avison Young (Canada) Inc.