Devencore’s Toronto offices have two familiar faces back in the fold in senior positions. First, Tim Bell returned to the company as managing director and broker, and Friday morning Devencore followed that up by announcing the return of Mark Petznick as principal and senior vice-president.
Bell began at Devencore in 2004 and served as associate VP and broker until 2010, when he moved to CBRE. He served there as associate VP and broker until returning to Devencore on Feb. 20.
“I wanted to focus on occupiers and corporate services, and wanted more of an opportunity to mentor and coach,” Bell said of the move in an interview with RENX this week. “I am very familiar and comfortable with the company, people and culture. As such, coming back was easy.”
Bell was named Devencore’s “rookie of the year” in 2006 in recognition of his work ethic, production and the results he achieved on behalf of his clients. He’s negotiated more than 400 transactions.
Bell’s passion for real estate is so strong that, in his spare time, he enjoys finding, acquiring and improving investment properties for his own small portfolio.
Bell’s responsibilities at Devencore
In his new role, Bell leads a team responsible for delivering advisory, brokerage, lease administration, legal, project management and procurement services. He’s responsible for client service delivery and satisfaction, attracting and retaining talent, assisting with developing corporate strategy, innovation and furthering best practices.
Bell’s priorities are to: build Devencore’s corporate services offering across Canada; better communicate the company’s story and services; and work closely with employees in a mentoring and coaching capacity.
“I am analytical and I enjoy problem-solving,” said Bell. “I enjoy working with clients and professionals on challenging and complex problems.”
When asked to compare CBRE with Devencore, Bell said it was like “night and day. CBRE is a massive Fortune 500 corporation. Devencore is a privately owned Canadian success story. I enjoyed working in a corporate setting, but I am also looking forward to a more entrepreneurial culture.”
Bell has consistently updated and improved his skill set, and this includes becoming a LEED Green Associate. This credential acknowledges he has basic knowledge of green design, construction and operations. He acknowledges that sustainability and the environment aren’t getting the attention in today’s commercial real estate market that some in the industry might like.
“Most clients are focused on attracting talent, productivity, branding, costs, amenities, transit, location, building quality, et cetera,” said Bell. “The importance of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is significant, and will become increasingly important as time moves forward, but at this point it is a secondary concern, for sure.”
Commercial real estate executive movement
There’s been a fair bit of company-to-company movement among commercial real estate executives of late, which Bell said is a result of a “hyper-competitive” industry.
“We are always on the lookout for great talent and we are always striving to keep our people happy. I anticipate there will be more movement as the market tightens and the war for talent heats up. I think industry consolidation will continue to play a role in people moving around.”
Bell noted, however, that Devencore has established a track record of welcoming former employees back into the fold — both before and after his return.
“Just this week, we had another 20-year vet return to Devencore after having left us six months ago. I think this is a testament to our company, leadership, values and culture.”
That, of course, turned out to be Petznick, who brings 19 years of commercial real estate experience servicing local and multinational accounts. Devencore calls Petznick a consistent top performer who has earned several awards for his accomplishments.
“We are thrilled to have Mark return to Devencore,” said Allan Schaffer, president and broker of record in the Toronto office, in a release. “During his previous years with our firm, Mark was not only a top producer but the ultimate team player, and we are lucky to have such a valuable employee back on our team.”
Petznick spent the past seven months as partner at Ellington Tenant and Facilities Services.
Toronto’s commercial real estate market
Bell expressed mixed feelings when asked for his thoughts on the current Toronto commercial real estate market.
“On one hand, it is great to see the success of Toronto, the growth of our business and solid market fundamentals,” he said. “On the other hand, downtown Toronto is the tightest downtown centre in North America.
“It is a tough market for tenants. Prices are high and on the rise. Options are few and fewer. Competition for space is high. It is great to see Toronto booming, but I also think it is a missed opportunity for the city of Toronto and Canada as a whole.
“If there was more space available and prices were more reasonable, we would see more companies increasing their growth and hiring more people. There is a lot of unmet demand for space, and I think that is unfortunate.”
Devencore was founded in 1972 and has become one of the largest privately held corporate real estate brokerages and advisory firms in Canada. It has offices in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, as well as affiliated offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Moncton, Halifax, Quebec City and Victoria.
Devencore assists clients with American real estate needs through a strategic alliance with United States-based Transwestern, which provides agency leasing, tenant advisory, capital markets, asset and research services to commercial real estate owners.