Avison Young Makes Entrée into Southern California’s Orange County Market

Toronto's Avison Young continues the rapid expansion of its footprint in the United States with yet another new office opening.

Mark Rose, AY CEO

Toronto, Ontario’s Avison Young continues the rapid expansion of its footprint in the U.S. with yet another new office opening. The independently owned commercial real estate services firm, Canada’s largest, just set up shop in Irvine, Calif., a move that marks its fifth location in the Southern California region.

It appears Avison Young has a good sense of timing. In Irvine, which sits approximately 40 miles outside of Los Angeles, in Orange County, the economy is in recovery mode, which bodes well for the future of the area’s commercial real estate industry. In the third quarter, the office market experienced 650,000 square feet of positive absorption; the industrial sector saw encouraging numbers with an enviable vacancy rate of 4.5 percent; and the retail market also posted positive absorption and a small quarter-over-quarter drop in vacancy, according to a report by Voit Real Estate Services, the firm that just lost two of its best and brightest to Avison Young’s new Irvine office.

As Avison Young’s Earl Webb, president, U.S. Operations, told Commercial Property Executivein March of this year (http://www.cpexecutive.com/business-management/avison-young-opens-bethesda-reno-offices/), for the firm, it’s not just about being in the right places; it’s also about recruiting the right people. Avison Young has brought aboard Alan Pekarcik and Daniel Vittone, longtime players in California commercial real estate. Combined, the two industry experts have completed industrial and office investment sales and user transactions exceeding 82 million square feet and valued at an aggregate $6.7 billion. Additionally, Avison Young grabbed John Pianta, also previously with Voit, to serve as a senior financial analyst.

The Irvine location marks Avison Young’s 20th outside of Canada and one of approximately a dozen new offices to debut this year. The firm has also been increasing its presence across the country through the acquisition of other independent real estate services firms. And the year isn’t over just yet. “We are very fortunate to be ahead of planned acquisitions for 2012,” Mark E. Rose, CEO of Avison Young, told CPE. “December is a tough time to close transactions, but we are hopeful for another announcement by year end.” Rose is not divulging details–the real estate services business is hardly without competition–but he did note that Avison Young currently has one or two key cities on its agenda.

As for 2013, Avison Young will continue full steam ahead with the growth platform it kicked off in 2009 with its entrée into the U.S. through the establishment of an office in Chicago. However, the firm will not necessarily limit its sights to the U.S. “Global is a 2013 priority and we will do our best to make some noise there as well,” Rose said.