Avison Young acquires WG Compass Realty Cos., opens new office in West Palm Beach, Florida, 24 members join

Purchase strengthens Avison Young's business-line coverage in South Florida; 5 new Principals added, Jonathan Satter becomes Managing Director

TORONTO, June 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young, the world's fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm, announced today that it has acquired Florida-based WG Compass Realty Companies and opened a new office in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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."

One of three counties comprising the South Florida Metropolitan Area, Palm Beach County is the largest county in the state of Florida in terms of total area, and third in population with 1.33 million people (2012). The county is home to aerospace/aviation companies Pratt & Whitney and Parametrics, a burgeoning biotech and research community led by Scripps and Max Planck, and high-tech and medical technology firms opening up or expanding operations in Boca Raton's FAU Research Park.

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


Donald DeWoody
Donald DeWoody has been actively involved in commercial real estate for more than 25 years, during which time he has established himself and his firm as one of the premier tenant representation firms in South Florida. DeWoody has assisted some of the most recognized national retail and restaurant companies in expanding their brands into the Florida market. Additionally, he has overseen the development of the firms' retail leasing divisions and provided consulting services to public and private companies in the disposition of commercial sites, and evaluation and negotiation of potential sites for lease or purchase. Prior to joining Avison Young, DeWoody was a founding principal of WG Compass Realty Companies, a regional realty services firm with offices in South and West Florida. Earlier in his career, he worked as a commercial real estate appraiser for the appraisal firm Callaway & Price, Inc.

DeWoody has earned several industry honors and certificates throughout his career, including the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute, and the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation from the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute. He has served as an executive member of the Board of Directors and is a past chair of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. In addition, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, and was appointed to serve as a member of the 15th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee sponsored by the Florida Bar. DeWoody is a member of the National Association of Realtors and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). A native Floridian, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in real estate from Florida State University.

Michael Walters
Michael Walters has achieved extensive knowledge of Florida's commercial office markets during his 30-year career, during which he has been responsible for the leasing and management of some of Palm Beach County's most prestigious office developments, including Phillips Point, Palm Beach Park Center, Golden Bear Plaza, Waterfront Clematis and One Clearlake Centre. Prior to joining Avison Young, Walters was a founding principal of WG Compass Realty Companies. Prior to that, he served as President of Walters/Gottlieb Partners, Inc. for 20 years.

Walters has served in an exclusive brokerage capacity for numerous national companies, including Citigroup Global Markets Inc./Smith Barney Inc., KPMG LLP, Marcum LP, Kaye Scholer LP, Iberia Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Chilton Trust, Beasley Hauser Kramer & Galardi, PA, and the Taggart Companies. Walters is a member of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), Palm Beach County's Business Development Board, and the Northern Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce. Walters holds Bachelor of Science degrees in English and political science from the University of Wisconsin, and also attended Marquette University's graduate school of business.

Gary Gottlieb
Gary Gottlieb has been actively engaged in the Florida real estate industry for more than 30 years, and has significant knowledge and expertise in retail and office leasing, land assemblage, acquisition and disposition, and development. Prior to joining Avison Young, Gottlieb was a founding principal of WG Compass Realty Companies. Earlier in his career, he was a founding principal of Walters/Gottlieb Partners, Inc., where he served as Vice-President for 20 years. Throughout his career, he has been responsible for leasing some of South Florida's most prestigious office and retail properties. He also represents national retailers throughout Florida.

Gottlieb is currently a member of SIOR, ICSC, Palm Beach County Business Development Board, West Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, Executive Board of Directors of the Palm Beach State College Foundation, and is a founder and member of the Board of Directors of the PGA Corridor Association. He is the past President of the Palm Beach Chapter of the March of Dimes and a past member of the Board of Directors for the State of Florida chapter of the March of Dimes. Gottlieb is a graduate of the Florida Institute of Technology and holds the Real Property Administrator (RPA) designation from the Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI).

Brian Richardson
Brian Richardson has achieved a comprehensive understanding of Florida's commercial real estate market during his 10-year career, with expertise in site selection/tenant representation (including site evaluation, development planning, lease and purchase contract negotiations, and property disposition services). Prior to joining Avison Young, Richardson was a senior member of the Advisory Services Group with WG Compass, providing leasing, consulting and disposition services to institutional, regional, and local property owners, lenders and users such as AT&T, Starbucks, Panera Bread, and National City/PNC Bank.

Richardson is a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University's Rinker School of Business. He is an active member of ICSC.

Jonathan Satter
Jonathan Satter has a broad and diverse real estate and financial background and has overseen more than $7 billion in assets during his 20-year career. Prior to joining Avison Young, Satter was a founding principal of WG Compass Realty Companies. Earlier in his career, he was Vice-President and Senior Operations Officer for the management group of one of the nation's largest REITs, where he was directly responsible for the asset and property management, leasing and marketing, brokerage operations, construction, and risk management of a diverse office, retail and residential portfolio in the U.S.

A graduate of Rollins College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, Satter also received a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Active in both professional and community organizations, Satter is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Pathfinders of Palm Beach/Martin County Scholarship Fund, Inc. and is Chair of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County in addition to being a member of its Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Satter has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau of South Florida, as a member of the Board of Governors and treasurer of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, and on the Board of Directors of the Palm Beach Cancer Institute Foundation. In July 2005 and September 2006, Satter was appointed by Florida Governor Jeb Bush to serve as a Commissioner of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County where Satter has also served as Board Chair for four consecutive terms. Satter holds the Real Property Administrator (RPA) designation from BOMI and is a member of SIOR. Additionally, he serves as an independent receiver appointed by the civil court system in matters involving real estate assets.

Avison Young is the world's fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Avison Young is a collaborative, global firm owned and operated by its principals. Founded in 1978, the company comprises 1,200 real estate professionals in 48 offices, providing value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management, financing and mortgage placement services to owners and occupiers of office, retail, industrial and multi-family properties.

• Please click on links to view and download photos of Jonathan Satter, Donald DeWoody, Mike Walters, Gary Gottlieb, Brian Richardson 

For further information/comment/photos:

Sherry Quan, National Director of Communications & Media Relations, Avison Young: 604.647-5098; mobile: 604.726-0959

Mark Rose, Chair and CEO, Avison Young: 416.673.4028

Earl Webb, President, U.S. Operations, Avison Young: 312.957.7610

Pike Rowley, Principal & Managing Director, South Florida Region, Avison Young: 954.980.7983

Jonathan Satter, Principal & Managing Director, West Palm Beach, Florida, Avison Young: 561.721.7031

Avison Young's new West Palm Beach, Florida office is located at: 250 South Australian Avenue, Suite 1100, West Palm Beach, Florida, 33401, 561.721.7000


Avison Young was a winner of Canada's Best Managed Companies program in 2011 and requalified in 2012 to maintain its status as a Best Managed company.

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SOURCE: Avison Young Commercial Real Estate (BC)

For further information:

Media Relations:              
Sherry Quan                  
(604) 647-5098 or (604) 726-0959               
email: sherry.quan@avisonyoung.com 


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