Avison Young Acquires West Palm Real Estate Services Firm

Written by on 06.18.13 in Industrial, Office, Retail - 1 Comment

Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young, announced today that it has acquired Florida-based WG Compass Realty Companies and opened a new office in West Palm Beach.

WG Compass, founded by Donald DeWoody, Gary Gottlieb, Jonathan Satter and Mike Walters in 2009, is a diversified real estate services firm headquartered in West Palm Beach. With offices in West Palm Beach, Stuart, and a Vero Beach office servicing the Treasure and Space Coast, WG Compass provides real estate site selection, brokerage, management, development and consulting services to national and regional clients throughout Florida.

The acquisition further expands Avison Young’s market coverage in South Florida and adds a powerhouse team led by DeWoody in retail tenant representation, leasing and sales throughout Florida. Effective immediately, 24 members join Avison Young, five of whom become Principals of Avison Young: Satter, DeWoody, Walters, Gottlieb and Brian Richardson. The new Principals have a combined 100-plus years of experience in the industry.

“We are pleased to welcome the WG Compass team to the Avison Young organization,” comments Rose. “We have always viewed the major Florida markets as critical to our national platform, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have this prominent team on board.”

Rose continues: “Opening an office in West Palm Beach was a key goal for us but we did not want to parachute in and start cold. We wanted to partner with professionals who live, work and play in the region. Mike Walters and Gary Gottlieb founded Walters Gottlieb Partners, Inc. in 1988, developing a strong reputation in the office leasing, sales and management arenas. Don DeWoody and Jonathan Satter opened Compass Realty Advisors in 1998, and developed a legacy of great service in retail tenant representation and property management in Florida. Moreover, the business and personal relationships between the Principals of WG Compass and the Principals of Avison Young in Florida go back 20 years and, thus, the merger of cultures was smooth and easy.”

The newest American office represents Avison Young’s 33rd office outside of Canada, the company’s fourth office in Florida, and an additional step in the firm’s ongoing aggressive growth and expansion strategy.

Over the past four years, Avison Young has grown from 11 to, now, 48 offices in 38 markets and from 300 to more than 1,200 real estate professionals across Canada and the U.S.

“Establishing a Florida retail division and expanding our office and industrial service platform into the Palm Beach County market is of great interest to our clients,” states Earl Webb, Avison Young’s President, U.S. Operations.

“The WG Compass team is well known throughout the Florida market and, in addition to having a team of proven professionals in all asset types, will help Avison Young expand its retail client presence both in Florida and the Southeast U.S. Don DeWoody and Brian Richardson represent some of the leading retail chains in Florida on the tenant side as well as numerous shopping center owners on the landlord side,” Webb says. “The leadership of WG Compass brings to Avison Young broad experience with both owners and occupiers, and the team will be a welcome partner in our growing Florida business.”

Also joining Avison Young from WG Compass are: Josh Wade (associate), Scott Goldsmith (associate), Colin Newton (associate), Laura Acosta (marketing coordinator), Fred Albright (physical plant operator), Rick Broullon (physical plant operator), Pierre Charles (physical plant operator), Caite Corripio (director of operations-property management), Gladys Cruz (porter), Jonathan Elson (associate), Raymond George (physical plant operator), Christine Goodine (administrative coordinator), Corinna Gosman (property administrator), Elizabeth Hauser (property accountant), Robert Leddick (physical plant operator), Carrie Mirabal (marketing coordinator), Jacqueline Ruszenas (marketing coordinator), Lorrie Scott (property administrator), and Craig Stella (physical plant operator).

Avison Young opened its first South Florida offices in October 2012 in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Miami, with 30 members joining from Flagler Real Estate Services, including Pike Rowley who became a Principal and Managing Director of Avison Young’s Florida region. Last month, industry leader Dan Carlo was named Managing Director of the Miami office. Avison Young’s Florida operations are headquartered in Fort Lauderdale.

“In growing the Florida business, Avison Young had several goals in mind. First was the continuation of a great culture of business with people of strong integrity,” notes Rowley. “Second was geographic coverage, including planting flags in the key major markets in Florida. Third was servicing the four asset classes of commercial real estate that Avison Young provides internationally, with those being office, industrial, retail and multi-family. Finding partners throughout the state of Florida with the right fit in these three areas was not easy, but the pieces came together nicely with the acquisition of WG Compass. The culture of service with strong integrity and putting the client first is a priority with WG Compass, as its reputation has been stellar for many years.”

Effective immediately, Avison Young’s new West Palm Beach office is located at 250 South Australian Avenue, Suite 1100, West Palm Beach, Florida.

“Don, Mike, Gary and I are thrilled to join forces with Avison Young. The company provides us with the growth opportunity and the connection to a national service company that we have been looking for in order to best serve our clients,” says Satter, who will be serving as the Managing Director for the office. “In addition, joining Avison Young affords our team the platform to remain entrepreneurs and principal owners in a fast-growth company. We have yet to come across a commercial real estate services company of this size that is designed by brokers and run by brokers. This is a very exciting opportunity for our entire organization.”

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Avison Young opening an office in Sacramento, California last week.

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