Major CRE firms back away from Russia

Knight Frank, Savills among those pausing operations amid attack

National /
Mar.March 07, 2022 01:00 PM

Knight Frank senior partner Alistair Elliott and Savills Group CEO Mark Ridley (Getty, City A.M., iStock)

UPDATED, March 8, 10:45 a.m.: Commercial real estate firms have joined the mass of companies suspending operations in Russia following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Knight Frank and Savills have suspended operations in the country, Bisnow reported. The firms could be only the first of the commercial real estate industry’s retreat from the country, as all five of the companies contacted by the outlet were at least planning to close offices or cut business relations.

“With immediate effect, and with their agreement, we have suspended the commercial arrangements with our independent licensee in Russia,” a Knight Frank spokesperson told Bisnow. The company has been operating in Russia for two decades, employing about 260 people in the country.

Savills also suspended a franchise agreement in the country, according to Bisnow, vowing not to do business with sanctioned persons or entities moving forward.

Colliers and Avison Young both told Bisnow they are evaluating operations in the country, particularly in light of growing sanctions; Colliers has since announced it would discontinue operations in both Russia and Belarus. JLL told the outlet staying abreast of the situation abroad.

Global real estate investment firm Hines is also considering its options in Russia, Bisnow previously reported. The company has about $1.5 billion of assets under management in the country, roughly 2 percent of its portfolio.

A wide variety of companies have paused operations in Russia as international sanctions and reactions from major international businesses pile up. About 120 stores in Russia controlled by luxury giant LVMH, including Moët, Hennessy, Louis Vuitton and Hermès, have been temporarily closed. Ikea, H&M Group and Nike have said they would stop sales and close stores.

Other companies retreating from Russia since the start of the invasion include oil companies Shell, BP, and Exxon Mobil; shipping companies FedEx and UPS; and tech companies Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Airbnb, and Google. Movie studios including Walt Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount, and Universal are stopping film releases in Russia as well.

This article has been updated with Colliers’ ceasing of operations in Russia and Belarus.

[Bisnow] — Holden Walter-Warner





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