It’s been a little over three years since Savills Studley purchased Real Facilities, an acquisition which has opened up the Toronto-based commercial real estate firm to the world.
“Whether the client’s negotiating a single transaction or managing a worldwide real estate portfolio, this merger with Savills has allowed us to extend our breadth and our depth for our clients,” Real Facilities founder and Savills Inc. vice-chairman, head of Canada and downtown Toronto broker Stan Krawitz told RENX.
“That means that we can tenaciously be a client advocate, which we always were in Canada, but now we can do it globally. We’ve had phenomenal feedback and buy-in from our clients.”
Savills plc is a 164-year-old British-founded real estate service provider with more than 36,000 employees and 660 offices in 71 countries. It entered the North American commercial tenant advisory market with the May 2014 acquisition of Studley, Inc. The North American arm was rebranded to Savills Inc. in March to better align it with the global platform.
Savills Inc.’s Toronto services
“The reason Real Facilities had an alliance with Studley before it became Savills is that we had a history of pure specialization in tenant representation,” said Krawitz. “We have a better understanding of how clients can get more value out of their real estate because we’re laser-focused on their needs. Since the Savills acquisition, we’ve expanded our service offerings.”
While still a pure tenant representation firm, the Toronto operation has enhanced its office services. It has also added retail, industrial and suburban real estate brokers, consultants and specialists in project management and design.
“That’s allowed our team to transcend the conventional brokerage model and develop occupancy solutions for our clients, and not just leases,” said Krawitz. “That helps drive profitability and productivity because we can get them into their space on time and on budget. More importantly, we’re getting them into the right space by putting the consulting piece up front.”
Savills Inc. employs 25 people in Toronto, where Krawitz said business has “at least doubled” in the past two years. Key to that growth is a global perspective combined with local expertise. The firm can assist both “a Canadian company looking to grow internationally, or an international client trying to enter Canada,” according to Krawitz.
While focused on Toronto at present, Krawitz said: “We intend to grow strategically throughout Canada as the right talent becomes available.”
Savills Inc.’s Canadian clients
Savills Inc. is involved with finding tenants for Menkes Developments Ltd.’s Waterfront Innovation Centre, which is under construction in Toronto’s East Bayfront community. More than 2,000 people are expected to be employed in the building when it’s completed.
The building is 60 per cent pre-leased, with approximately 140,000 square feet of office space and 29,000 square feet of retail space available, according to its website.
“It’s ready to bring the world’s greatest innovation organizations together with startups, professors and the brightest academic minds all under one roof to create synergies and bring capital to the table to bring these great ideas to market,” said Krawitz.
“We’ve done relocations, expansions, workplace strategies, design and product management for these companies,” said Krawitz.
On the industrial front, Savills has acted for the likes of Verity Corporation and Array in Canada. It has also worked with established retailers and helped with the rollout of new retail brands, according to Krawitz.