FirstService Merges Three Residential Management/Preservation Subsidiaries

FirstService Corp. of Toronto has merged its FirstService Residential Realty, TenantAccess and Property Access subsidiaries, which will operate as one in Fort Lauderdale.

Jim Warren, FirstService Residential Realty’s chief marketing officer

As the housing market lurches its way to a presumably inevitable recovery, FirstService Corp., of Toronto, one of the world’s largest property managers, has merged its FirstService Residential Realty, TenantAccess and PropertyAccess subsidiaries, the company announced Tuesday. The combined entity will operate as FirstService Residential Realty, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The reorganization reportedly makes FirstService Residential Realty the largest provider of “complete, end-to-end single-family property management services in North America,” although the company is also heavily involved with multi-family.

Jim Warren, FirstService Residential Realty’s chief marketing officer, told Commercial Property Executive that roughly a quarter to a third of the company’s approximately 25,000 units (homes, apartment units and lots) under management are multi-family units.

The company offers services ranging from acquisition, market and property assessments, leasing and evictions through to disposition to such clients as property owners, government-sponsored enterprises, banks, institutional investors and residents.

Greg Tolander, formerly chief operating officer of FirstService Corp. subsidiary Field Asset Services, has been appointed CEO of FirstService Residential Realty.  Danielle Cooney, who previously served as vice president of national operations for FirstService Residential Realty, was named chief operating officer, and Warren, formerly senior vice president with TenantAccess and PropertyAccess, was named chief marketing officer.

“We are going to get extremely aggressive in the multi-family area,” Warren told CPE, and explicitly not just in terms of distressed properties. By leveraging the merged company’s connections within its corporate parent, including those with FirstService subsidiary Colliers International, he said, FirstService Residential Realty aims to provide “all things rental.”

“This is absolutely a strategic move,” Warren added, noting that “there is a horizon” on the current market for services relating to foreclosures and REO, as the nation’s shadow inventory of housing shrinks.

Bolstering the rationale behind FirstService’s move is an announcement just last week from the National Association of Realtors. On Sept. 19, the NAR reported that distressed sales (which combine foreclosure sales and short sales) accounted for 22 percent of August home sales nationwide, down from 24 percent the previous month and from 31 percent 12 months prior.