Avison Young brings on George Vail to expand capital markets, debt platform

George Vail
George Vail

Avison Young has brought on George Vail as a principal in its Miami office, where he’s heading the company’s capital markets and debt group.

Vail was previously a managing director at Ackman-Ziff. There, he arranged construction debt, mezzanine loans and raised equity for new and existing properties in Florida, ranging from about $10 million to more than $100 million, Vail said. He also worked on investment sales, including the $39 million sale last year of Miami Green, a 13-story office tower near Coral Gables.

He officially started at Avison Young on Monday, and said he is looking to expand the firm’s debt and equity group throughout the state.

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Vail spent about five years at Ackman-Ziff, and before that was managing director at HFF in Miami. He’s worked on more than $4 billion of commercial deals over the course of his 20-year career, according to a press release.  Vail will work with banks, pension funds, debt funds, high-net-worth individuals and other lenders.

In recent years, Avison Young has expanded its Florida presence by acquiring West Palm Beach’s WG Compass Realty Cos., Tampa’s Lane Witherspoon & Carswell Commercial Real Estate Advisors. Orlando’s Morrison Commercial Real Estate, and Miami’s Abood Wood-Fay Real Estate Group.

Vail joined Avison Young at a time when commercial real estate lenders are tightening their standards. But Vail said the lending market is “very healthy” with office and multifamily as the strongest sectors, and condo and big box retail as weaker sectors.

“Obviously, there’s been some headwind with condo development. Sales have slowed down, but there’s still plenty of capital available for the right project,” he said. “It’s just more selective right now.”