Avison Young to Open NYC Office

Start spreading the news. Avison Young is now a part of it -- New York, that is. Canada's largest independently owned commercial real estate services company has made its debut in the Big Apple with the opening of a new office on Park Avenue.

Start spreading the news. Avison Young is now a part of it — New York, that is. Canada’s largest independently owned commercial real estate services company has made its debut in the Big Apple with the opening of a new office on Park Avenue. It’s all just part of the plan.

Avison Young is Canada’s largest independently-owned commercial real estate services company and since making its debut in the U.S. with the establishment of a Chicago office in 2009, the firm has been setting up shop in major metropolitan locations across the country, one office at a time. New York City is lucky number 13. “Our strategy is to be a holistic provider of client services and focus on what the needs are of those clients,” Mark Rose, chairman & CEO of Avison Young, told Commercial Property Executive. “When you look at it that way, our clients are global and some of the largest clients from an occupier point of view and some of the largest inventories, if you’re talking about landlords and owners, are in New York.”

But for Avison Young, entering New York is not just about having a presence there; it is about having the right presence there, and that takes time. The fact that the firm established offices in such leading U.S. cities as Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and, as of earlier this month, San Francisco, before entering Manhattan has more to do with getting the right people in place than market status. To that end, Avison Young pursued one of the industry’s best, Arthur J. Mirante II, to serve as principal and Tri-State area president.  Mirante brings to the table a multi-decade history as a Manhattan heavy-hitter. Before joining Avison Young, he spent more than 40 years at Cushman & Wakefield, where he served as CEO for 20 years and most recently, held the title of president of global client development. Mirante’s name is attached to any number of mega-deals in the city, including the 2007’s gargantuan $1.7 billion sale of 200 Park Ave. on behalf of MetLife in 2005 and the even larger $1.8 billion 666 Fifth Ave. acquisition transaction in 2005.

“We are handpicking the people that we believe our clients are going to deem leaders in the industry, we are very methodical in terms of getting this right,” Rose said. “We’re not just going to do this fast. So in this particular case, the fact that San Francisco came before New York or Chicago came before San Francisco, was really irrelevant to the strategy. It’s a matter of staying on point on behalf of our clients — who are the best in the business — to service their needs and bring them solutions. And it took a little while but we knew that we wanted Arthur.”

Mirante is working with Greg Kraut, principal, to execute Avison Young’s local growth plan. With the most desirable leaders at the helm and additional tactical recruiting underway, the firm is primed to permeate the market through a strategy it refers to as the two-by-five-by-four. The two in the equation represents the two client types, buyers and sellers. The next component is the five-segment service line for both client types: owner and tenant leasing representation; facility management and property management; project management and corporate project management; capital markets activities and consulting.

However, Avison Young does not expect to realize its New York City goals overnight. “Fully baked plans take five years,” Rose attested. “So what we’re attempting to do here is stay on our strategy. Our focus will be recruiting the individuals and winning the client mandates that allow us, when we’re done — and hopefully most of this will be done in the first 12 to 18 months — to service those five service lines for those two client types in those four product lines.”