RKF Expands into Canada

RKF, which specializes in retail leasing, investment sales and consulting services, is crossing the border to open its first office in Canada and has named Canadian retail services veteran Steven Alikakos to run the operation in Toronto.
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Robert Futterman & Steven Alikakos, of RKF

RKF, which specializes in retail leasing, investment sales and consulting services, is crossing the border to open its first office in Canada and has named Canadian retail services veteran Steven Alikakos to run the operation in Toronto.

Alikakos, who has more than 22 years of retail leasing experience, was most recently senior vice president and senior manager of DTZ Canada, formerly J.J. Barnicke. At RKF, he will serve as President, Canada, and will be the firm’s Broker of Record and start working with clients once it receives its license from the Real Estate Council of Ontario.

Toronto, the largest city in Canada and the fourth largest city in North America, will be the eighth major market for RKF, which was founded in New York City in 1998 by Robert Futterman, chairman & CEO.

The expansion into Canada comes one month after RKF formed an alliance with leading U.K.-based retail consulting firm CWM Retail Property Advisors, L.L.P. The alliance is RKF’s first formal association with an overseas firm. Under the agreement, RKF acquired CWM’s New York City office. Futterman said last month the CWM alliance represented a “critical part of our global strategy to expand RKF’s reach into key cities throughout the U.K. and continental Europe.”

Future plans include building a joint presence in Asia where CWM already has offices.

Both announcements show that retailing has become increasingly more international. RKF said a growing number of major American retailers have opened stores in recent years and Canadian retailers have moved south into the United States. Both trends are expected to continue and RKF expects to play “a pivotal role in sustaining and accelerating this cross-border retail migration,” the release noted.

“Toronto has increasingly become known as a global hub for retailers and retail real estate investors, and there are few people who know and understand the retail landscape in Canada better than Steve,” Futterman said in the news release. “I have no doubt that he will attract Canada’s best and brightest retail services professionals as we continue to expand our business both in Canada and the U.S. during the coming months and years. Our clients also will immediately benefit from this expansion given the wealth of great retail opportunities that exist across Canada.”

Alikakos has worked on numerous high-profile redevelopment projects with clients including Allied REIT, CD Capital, Westmont Hospitality Group, GWL Realty Advisors, Brookfield Properties and Slate Properties. He has represented retailers such as Brooks Brothers, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, Andrews, Maverick and others as they expanded their reach throughout Canada.

Saying that he has admired the RKF team for some time, Alikakos said he was excited to launch the RKF brand in Canada.

“The retail market in Canada has needed a service provider of this caliber for some time, and I’m confident RKF will make a tremendous impact,” he said in the release.

RKF also has offices in Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, Northern New Jersey and San Francisco. Known for its influence in transforming urban and key suburban retail markets and providing strategic solutions, the company has been growing. The New Jersey office expanded its staff by 20 percent and recently moved into larger quarters. The Miami office is also expanding and is expected to need more space next year as well.