Avison Young opens first U.S. office in Chicago

    Top industrial brokers Michael Fonda, Brendan Kelly, Hugh Williams and
    Suzanne Serino join Avison Young from Cushman & Wakefield to open
    Canadian commercial real estate firm's first location outside Canada

    TORONTO, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - Avison Young, a leading Canadian commercial real
estate services company, announced today the opening of a newly-formed Chicago
office- its first U.S. location -and that veteran brokers Michael Fonda,
Brendan Kelly, Hugh Williams and Suzanne Serino have joined as Principals.
Previously one of Cushman & Wakefield's top producing teams nationally, with a
combined 75 years of experience in the Chicago marketplace, the four bring an
impressive roster of corporate and institutional clients to the Canadian
brokerage and property management company.
    The new office, to be located in Northbrook, IL, marks Avison Young's
first location outside of Canada and represents the next step in the company's
growth and expansion strategy. Avison Young is Canada's largest
independently-owned commercial real estate services company with 11 offices
across Canada.
    "We are very proud to be launching the North American expansion of Avison
Young with one of the most successful real estate teams in the Chicago
marketplace," comments chair and CEO Mark E. Rose, who joined Avison Young in
June 2008 to spearhead the company's global growth initiatives. "Expanding the
Avison Young brand to the United States is a significant step in our overall
plan to grow beyond Canadian borders, stay competitive and provide a
sustainable mix of products and services to meet the real estate needs of our
clients. We couldn't be more pleased than to begin with a group with this
caliber of experience, market knowledge and client relationships."
    Over the past several months, Avison Young has pursued an active
acquisition and expansion strategy to enhance its solid Canadian operation.
Earlier this month, the company completed its national merger process,
creating the single national entity: Avison Young (Canada) Inc. In December
2008, Avison Young (Canada) acquired Darton Property Advisors and Managers,
establishing Avison Young (Canada) as one of the country's largest
independently-owned, third-party commercial property management firms.
    "With the merger of our regional offices into one corporate entity now
complete and the hiring of key talent in our existing markets well underway,
we believe the timing is right to leverage our base business by expanding into
the U.S. market," adds Rose, who was formerly CEO of U.S.-based global real
estate services firm Grubb & Ellis, and COO and CFO of the Americas for Jones
Lang LaSalle.
    The veteran Chicago team has represented well-known clients such as Solo
Cup, Pep Boys, Newell Rubbermaid, Partylite Gifts (Blythe Industries), VIAD,
Honeywell, BTR, General Electric and Mail Express. Recent notable transactions
include: the disposition of a 1-million-square-foot (msf) industrial Midwest
portfolio on behalf of Rollex Corporation to ProLogis; the 650,000-sf
warehouse distribution lease on behalf of Newell Rubbermaid; a 350,000-sf
corporate headquarters build-to-suit in Atlanta, GA, also on behalf of Newell
Rubbermaid; the 133,000-sf corporate headquarters lease in Lake Forest, IL on
behalf of Solo Cup; and the 500,000-sf warehouse/office facility for Michael
Lewis, developed by Centerpoint Properties. The team won the prestigious
Greater Chicago Food Depository "Broker of the Year" Award in 2002 and has
been a perennial finalist.
    Significant projects over the years include: the sale of the Sportsmen's
Race Track, the 1.3-msf Stewart Warner Plant in Chicago, the sale of Honeywell
Building and Systems Control Headquarters in Arlington Heights, IL, and the
acquisition of the 900,000-sf Midwest distribution center build-to-suit for
Sweetheart Cup.
    "We are impressed by the strength of the Avison Young organization led by
Mark Rose, and the company's level of commitment to its long-term growth
strategy," says Kelly, on behalf of the Chicago team. "We are excited by the
platform Avison Young is building to serve clients internationally and we look
forward to helping move the company to even greater success."
    Brendan Kelly is a former senior director and founding member of Cushman
& Wakefield's Global Supply Chain Practice Group. During his 18 years with
Cushman & Wakefield, he negotiated $1.3 billion in transactions involving 41
msf. Prior to joining Cushman & Wakefield, he was a mainframe salesperson for
IBM from 1984 to 1990. Kelly is a 1984 graduate of the University of Arizona
with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Active in professional as well as civic
endeavors, Kelly is Past President and board member of the Chicago 20-30 Club.
He currently serves on the Board of Regents for the Mercy Home for Boys and
Girls and is a member of the School Board for St. Francis Xavier Parish School
in Wilmette, IL.
    Michael Fonda most recently served as a senior director with Cushman &
Wakefield's Industrial Brokerage Group. During his 32-year real estate career,
the last 28 spent at Cushman & Wakefield, he has represented both owners and
occupiers with their real estate requirements and completed 600-plus
transactions valued at more than $3 billion. He is a Past President of the
Chicago Chapter of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) and is
a graduate of Colorado State University.
    Hugh Williams has more than 11 years of experience in commercial real
estate, most recently as a senior director with Cushman & Wakefield. In 2008,
he was named one of the top brokers at Cushman & Wakefield by Black Enterprise
magazine. Williams currently sits on the NAIOP (National Association of
Industrial and Office Properties) Board of Directors and on the advisory
committee for REAP, an organization that encourages and promotes minorities in
real estate. Prior to joining Cushman & Wakefield, he played professional
football in Europe. He holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees
from Northwestern University.
    Suzanne Serino has more than 11 years of experience in the commercial
real estate industry. Formerly a director with Cushman & Wakefield, she brings
expertise in the corporate services arena, having served a range of national
and international companies with multi-market assignments. Serving as a
strategic business partner, Serino manages the full cycle real estate process,
from site selection and competitive bid analysis to lease negotiation and
project cost-out on behalf of corporate users. She holds a Bachelor of Arts
degree from Arizona State University.

    Founded in 1996, Avison Young (Canada) Inc. is Canada's largest
independently-owned commercial real estate services company, with offices in
Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Mississauga, Toronto, Ottawa,
Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax. Ranked among Canada's leading national
commercial real estate organizations, Avison Young is a full-service
commercial real estate company and the only national, Canadian,
principal-owned real estate brokerage firm in the country. The company
provides value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory,
management and financial services to owners and users of commercial,
industrial and multi-residential real estate properties.

    -   Editors: please click on links to view and download media photos

    Mark Rose

    Brendan Kelly

    Michael Fonda

    Suzanne Serino

    Hugh Williams

    (If you are unable to open any of these links, please contact Sherry Quan
    for pdf versions, thank you.)

    For further info/comment/photos:

    -   Sherry Quan, Director, Corporate Communications (B.C.),
        Avison Young (Canada) Inc.:
        (604) 726-0959 (cell) or (604) 647-5098

    -   Mark Rose, Chair and CEO, Avison Young (Canada) Inc.: (416) 629 7703
        or U.S. cell (847) 770 5342

    -   Brendan Kelly, Principal, Avison Young: (847) 612-0007


For further information:

For further information: Media Relations: Sherry Quan, (604) 726-0959 or
(604) 647-5098, Email: squan@ay-bc.com

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