Avison Young Launches Hospitality Practice with Purchase of Atlanta Hotel AG

The acquisition of Atlanta Hotel AG adds another line of business to the firm's office, industrial, retail and multifamily divisions.
Keith Thompson, principal, Avison Young
Keith Thompson, principal, Avison Young

Toronto and Atlanta–Avison Young is launching a hospitality service line with the acquisition of Atlanta-based Hotel Assets Group. The acquisition will allow the commercial real estate services firm to offer brokerage, capital markets and structured finance services for single-asset and hotel portfolio deals across the United States. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Avison Young, a fast-growing firm based in Toronto, said Hotel AG has been rebranded as Avison Young. The group brings 25 members to Avison Young, including 20 brokers. Six Hotel AG members are now principals of Avison Young: Keith Thompson, Brad Sinclair and Michael Bernath, all in the Atlanta office; Andrew Broad in New York City; Chris Stark in Portland and Eric Gunderson in Los Angeles. They will work with Avison Young’s senior leadership group to coordinate the hospitality group’s strategic direction while managing the daily operations and working with new and existing clients.

Mark Rose, chair & CEO of Avison Young, said the acquisition gives Avison Young hotel specialists in 10 major U.S. cities–Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Dallas, as well as Tampa and Orlando in Florida.

Mark Rose, CEO of Avison Young
Mark Rose, CEO of Avison Young

“Hotel AG is one of the most prominent and successful hotel brokerage and advisory firms in the U.S.,” Rose said in a prepared statement. “Increasingly, our U.S. and global investor clients either own or want to explore investments in hospitality assets, and the team joining from Hotel AG will enable Avison Young to provide expert advice to these clients and help them increase, and realize, value in their hospitality portfolios.”

Hotel AG was founded by Thompson and Sinclair in 2007 and has been involved in one hotel transaction every five days for the past four years. At the time of acquisition, the firm had 182 hotels on the market totaling $3 billion in market value with $600 million worth of properties under sale agreement.

Hotel AG personnel from the Atlanta office joining Avison Young also include: Rex Cagle, Matt Wilkins, Tracy Helton, Elaine Thompson, Darrell Skidmore, Jeremy Cabe, Scott Foster, Joe Jones, Justin Monsewicz, Victor Kalyanji, Wendy Blissett and Bill Bowen. Rick George and Mike George are in Chicago; Terry Sanders, Dallas; Chelsea Wang, San Francisco; Collin Foran, Orlando; Niven Patel, Tampa Bay; and Thierry Roch, Washington, D.C.

The team also plans to add 10 to 15 experienced hotel brokers to the practice group this year.

For Hotel AG, joining Avison Young allows it to provide a global platform and multiple benefits for its clients, brokers and lenders, Thompson said.

“As the market sees a compression of commercial real estate firms, we believe that our hospitality group is poised to be one of the top three hospitality practice groups in the U.S.,” Thompson said in a prepared statement. “Avison Young’s Principal-led and collaborative culture, integrity and professionalism match our team’s existing culture, where every member and client is respected and highly valued.”

For Avison Young, the Hotel AG acquisition continues the company’s growth from a small Canadian-based firm with 11 offices to a global firm owned and operated by its principals with 2,400 real estate professionals in 70 offices in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom. It also expands Avison Young’s offerings in the U.S. to include brokerage, capital markets and structured finance services for select-service and full-service hotel real estate, focusing on single-asset and large portfolios. Rose said the firm’s hotel real estate specialists will collaborate with CMBS special servicers, whole-loan banks and investment banks while acting on behalf of REITs, public companies, investment funds and private investors.

“This transaction represents another milestone in our company history as we add a significant hospitality practice,” Rose said. “As a result, our strategic framework will now cover five core service offerings as hospitality complements our existing office, industrial, retail and multifamily property sectors while serving two key client segments–investors and occupiers. Morever, the new hospitality group will ensure that this new core service fits seamlessly with all of our other business lines.”

Earl Webb, Avison Young’s President, U.S. Operations, noted that the firm has “gained footholds in multifamily and student and seniors housing, and a dramatic increase in our footprint in the hospitality sector is in line with our overall service strategy.”

Webb complemented Hotel AG’s “seasoned veterans and highly experienced professionals” and also stated that the expansion will give the company’s young brokers the opportunity to specialize in the hotel sector and ensure they will be able to provide “sustainable hospitality services and the latest technologies for decades to come.”

Steve Dils, Avison Young Principal and managing director of the Atlanta office, said Thompson and his team had outstanding relationships both locally and throughout the U.S., adding that their high profile “will ensure that we offer a variety of properties ranging from trophy-class assets to boutique hotels to specialty lodgings, while providing creative investment and financing options that meet the unique needs of all investors.”