Northern exposure: Avison Young acquires Gainesville brokerage

The acquisition will increase Avison Young's presence in north Florida, especially in retail brokerage in property management

Jan.January 27, 2019 04:00 PM

Nick Banks

UPDATED Jan. 28, 1:45 p.m.: Commercial real estate services firm Avison Young acquired a Gainesville-based firm led by a former executive of Fort Lauderdale-based Stiles Corporation.

The acquisition “assists our roll-out in the northern area of the state, particularly in terms of retail brokerage and all aspects of property management,” Mark E. Rose, chairman and CEO of Avison Young, said in a prepared statement.

Avison Young acquired Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group and opened its eighth Florida office west of the University of Florida campus at 132 Northwest 76th Drive in Gainesville, where Front Street’s 26 members will remain.

Nick Banks, the founder of Front Street, has become a principal of Avison Young and managing director of the firm’s Gainesville office.

Banks, who has 25 years of experience in the commercial real estate business, founded Front Street in 2002. In addition to its home office in Gainesville, Front Street opened satellite offices in Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando, Sarasota and Tallahassee.

Prior to starting Front Street, Banks was the director of finance and dispositions for Stiles, where he financed and sold commercial properties valued at more than $500 million. Before he joined Stiles, Banks was an associate director at GE Capital Real Estate. He graduated the University of Florida with a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in finance and a concentration in real estate.

The acquisition of Front Street brings to Avison Young a property management business with 20 properties totaling more than one million square feet of office, retail, industrial and residential space, including hundreds of apartments, in northern Florida.

The Front Street acquisition increased Avison Young’s properties under management in Florida to 19 million square feet.

Avison Young expanded statewide after opening its first Florida offices in October 2012 in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

In 2013, Avison Young acquired WG Compass Realty Cos. and opened a West Palm Beach office, and the firm acquired Lane Witherspoon & Carswell Commercial Real Estate Advisors and opened an office in Tampa.

In 2014, Avison Young acquired Morrison Commercial Real Estate and opened an office in Orlando, and the firm acquired Miami-based Abood Wood-Fay Real Estate Group. In 2016, Avison Young opened an office in Jacksonville. – Mike Seemuth

Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect name for Avison Young’s chairman and CEO.

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