Lee & Associates has opened its first international office in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, GlobeSt.com has learned exclusively. The office was formerly DTZ Vancouver, but broke away from the company following the Cushman & Wakefield merger. The new office will operate as Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate BC.
“Vancouver is a very natural progression. I don’t think that we have had the opportunity to expand with a group that is as mature and has as much market penetration as Chris’ firm has,” Jeff Rinkov, CEO of Lee & Associates, tells GlobeSt.com. “Based on our strong West Coast presence and our interest in expanding in other key areas in Canada, this is a tremendous opportunity. We have a volume of business that already goes into that market through serving US clients, and we think this is a great tie in with our affiliation with Gerald Eve.”
Chris Anderson, the former president of the DTZ Vancouver office, will remain at the helm as the office adopts the Lee & Associates brand, which Anderson liked because of the broker-owned culture and flexibility. “DTZ Vancouver was a privately owned firm, and has been since our inception in 1970,” Anderson tells GlobeSt.com. “When the merger was announced, the writing was on the wall that we weren’t going to be a part of that organization. We exhausted all opportunities out there, and at the end of the day, we kept coming back to Lee & Associates. They were a good fit for us because it is also a network of broker-owned firms, and it made the most sense for us. This represented the best opportunity to stay independent while becoming a part of a growing international firm.”
Based in Downtown Vancouver, the office focuses on all product and transaction types throughout the British Columbia market, including industrial, land sales, investment sales, office and retail. “They have a long history of being multi-disciplined in their market. The formation of the three founding partners goes back to the 1970s. I have had the pleasure to meet those gentlemen, and I am incredibly impressed, not only in the portfolios of real estate that they have built but in the camaraderie they have built in their market,” says Rinkov. “One of the things we really enjoy about their ongoing operation is how well that they do in the market and their great reputation. Our hope is that they continue to grow based on their trajectory and leverage our brand in that market to continue to grow their office.”
While the firm currently has 22 agents, Anderson’s initial goal is to grow and expand the team. “We will be looking to add more agents, particularly in industrial, retail, office leasing and investment sales as well as land sales,” he says. “We look to grow in all of those areas, and having the Lee brand and our affiliation with all of their offices in the US will help us promote that.”
According to Rinkov, there is still more expansion in store for the firm, which also recently announced a partnership with UK-based brokerage firm Gerald Eve. Rinkov says that the firm has targeted other prime Canadian markets, and expects to make other announcements about international office openings this year. “We have identified large metropolitan cities in Canada from west to east that we are working toward expansion success there as well,” he adds. “With a great anchor in British Columbia, we are very focused on the next few offices in Canada.