Toronto real estate giant gobbles up Florida

Avison Young, which doubled its Florida footprint in 6 months, is broker-owned

Aug.August 01, 2013 01:00 PM

Toronto-based Avison Young has more than doubled its real estate holdings and its staff since merging with a group of disaffected South Florida brokers last October, Pike Rowley, a principal and managing director of Avison Young’s Florida operations, told The Real Deal.

Rowley and seven other brokers left Flagler Realty Oct. 1 to join Avison Young chief executive Mark Rose in expanding the broker-owned company.

“The business is originated on the ground, but companies take 50 percent of commissions,” Rowley said. “Instead of having a company owned by Wall Street, it’s owned by the key people winning the business every day.”

Since entering the U.S. market in 2009, Avison Young has become the fastest growing commercial real estate services company in the world, expanding from 8 offices in Canada to 50 offices in Canada and the U.S., diced up into regions.

In June, Avison Young acquired WG Compass, a small brokerage in West Palm Beach, and has added several additional veteran brokers to its roster, including Daniel Carlo, who in May was appointed head of the Miami office.

The company manages 7.1 million square feet in South Florida, and aims to expand its portfolio statewide to 10 million square feet by year’s end through hiring and acquisition of boutique brokerages, Rowley said.

As Avison expands its Florida holdings, however, Miami will continue to represent between 40 and 50 percent of the company’s business.

“It’s a dynamic market,” Rowley said, adding that Avison Young competes by being lean. “We don’t have a large corporate empire to feed.”

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