Avison Young opens new office in Columbia, South Carolina

Leading Canadian commercial real estate firm opens its 30th office outside Canada and second office in South Carolina; Bruce Neel becomes Managing Director

TORONTO, April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young, Canada's largest independently-owned commercial real estate services company, announced today the opening of a new office in Columbia, South Carolina.

The newest American office represents Avison Young's 30th office outside of Canada, the company's second office in South Carolina, 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, 45 offices in 36 markets and from 300 to more than 1,200 real estate professionals across Canada and the U.S. 

Effective immediately, Bruce Neel joins Avison Young as Principal of Columbia Operations, as well as Managing Director of the Columbia office. He will oversee the growth and development of the company's presence in Columbia as well as manage the day-to-day operations of the office. Neel was most recently President of Neel Real Estate, Inc. in Irmo, SC.

"Opening a new office in Columbia, while continuing to grow our Charleston operations, is a strategic move that will allow us to provide a full-service platform in South Carolina," comments Rose. "We are excited to have Bruce join our rapidly growing U.S. platform. His experience and background will be instrumental to our organization and our South Carolina expansion as we continue to build our business throughout the region and beyond. South Carolina is home to many corporate headquarters and presents a strong regional growth area for our company."

Avison Young opened its first South Carolina office in May 2012 in Charleston, with Chris Fraser joining as Principal of South Carolina Operations and Jeremy Willits as Managing Director of the Charleston office.

"As we continue our expansion in the key Southeast U.S. markets, we are pleased to have someone with Bruce's experience join Avison Young in this new market for our company. This expansion will complement our existing activities in Charleston as well as in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina," notes Earl Webb, Avison Young's President, U.S. Operations. "We are excited to be expanding the Avison Young brand and our client-specific, holistic-based solutions approach across the state of South Carolina, and we look forward to continuing to grow this regional operation with individuals who embody Avison Young's principal-led, client-centric culture."

Effective immediately, Avison Young's new Columbia office will be located at 717 Lady Street, Suite C, Columbia, SC, 29201.

"Given our growing market share in the South Carolina region, opening an office in Columbia is the logical next step to creating a seamless network of offices in South Carolina to serve our valued clients," says Fraser. "Bruce has been an active broker in the Columbia market for many years. Given his deep relationships with key decision-makers in Columbia and the region, he will grow our newest Avison Young office and our presence quickly and effectively."

He adds: "Columbia is the capital of South Carolina as well as the home of the University of South Carolina. As such, state government and higher education play a pivotal role in this market. Moreover, the city's central location will allow Avison Young to cover our clients' needs throughout the Midlands of South Carolina, complementing our coastal presence in Charleston and potential future presence in the upstate."

Neel has been involved in the development, acquisition, sale, leasing and management of multi-family, retail and industrial projects across South Carolina for the past 18 years. He spent the first 10 years of his real estate career as a commercial real estate lender with Wachovia Bank, N.A., where he was Vice-President, Real Estate Financial Services Group. In this role, he was responsible for the origination, underwriting and closing of construction and permanent loans to developers located in the Columbia and Charleston markets.

During the next eight years, Neel owned and managed his own commercial brokerage company, Neel Real Estate, Inc., where he assisted investor clients with the acquisition, sale and management of commercial investment property. Neel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in finance from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.

"Avison Young's comprehensive range of real estate services provides a seamless platform to accommodate the needs of our local and national clients," says Neel. "Moreover, Avison Young's partnership culture aligns the firm's interests with our clients, creating a truly best-in-class service delivery model. The company's unprecedented growth in recent years underscores the fact that the market recognizes the power of this model. I look forward to continuing my career at Avison Young and contributing to its ongoing success."

Columbia is the largest city in the state of South Carolina and also the state capital, with an estimated population of 130,591 within the city limits. The city is the center of a metropolitan statistical area of more than 780,000 people, the second largest within the state. Columbia enjoys a diversified economy, with the major employers in the area being the South Carolina state government, the Palmetto Health hospital system, Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC, Palmetto GBA, and the University of South Carolina. The corporate headquarters of Fortune 1000 energy company SCANA are located in the Columbia suburb of Cayce. Other major employers include Fort Jackson, the U.S. Army's largest and most active initial-entry training installation, and the United Parcel Service, which operates its Southeastern Regional Hub at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Major manufacturers such as Square D, CMC Steel, Michelin, International Paper, Pirelli Cables, and Bose Corporation have facilities in the Columbia area. There are more than 70 foreign-affiliated companies and 14 Fortune 500 companies in the region.

Founded in 1978, Avison Young is Canada's largest independently-owned commercial real estate services company. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Avison Young is also the largest Canadian-owned, principal-managed commercial real estate brokerage firm in North America. Comprising more than 1,200 real estate professionals in 45 offices across Canada and the U.S., the full-service commercial real estate company provides value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management, financing and mortgage placement services to owners and occupiers of office, retail, industrial and multi-residential properties.

For further information/comment/photos:

Sherry Quan, National Director of Communications & Media Relations, Avison Young:
(604) 647-5098; cell: (604) 726-0959

Mark Rose, Chair and CEO, Avison Young: (416) 673-4028

Earl Webb, President, U.S. Operations, Avison Young: (312) 957-7610

Chris Fraser, Principal of South Carolina Operations, Avison Young: (843)725-7200

Bruce Neel, Principal of Columbia Operations and Managing Director, Columbia, Avison Young:   
(803) 298-3010

Avison Young's new Columbia, SC office: 717 Lady Street, Suite C, Columbia, South Carolina, 29201.

www.avisonyoung.com

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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• Editors/Reporters: please click on link to view and download photo of Bruce Neel
http://www.avisonyoung.com/sites/default/files/content-files/Media_Room/Temp/Bruce_Neel.jpg

SOURCE Avison Young Commercial Real Estate (BC)




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