Chris joined Avison Young in 2009, shortly after marking his 30th year in the commercial real estate industry. He began his career in 1979 at a Toronto industrial leasing and sales brokerage, and led the firm with a record in securing design-build solutions on behalf local and international firms, including the Canadian headquarters facility for Sharp Electronics.
In 1986, he joined J.J. Barnicke Ltd. where he continued to excel, achieving Chairman’s Circle status year-after-year as a result of major lease and sale contracts completed on behalf of clients such as Inglis, Mercury Marine, Dundee Securities, The Bay, Sunbeam Corp., Xerox, MTS Allstream and Bell Canada.
Chris was one of the very first in Canada to complete the course program in 1982 for the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation.
Chris is recognized across the business community for completing complex office leasing assignments. His work includes signature office lease renewal/relocations on behalf of national law firms and financial services organizations, in addition to telecommunications and financial regulatory agencies. Examples of major corporate tenant representation assignments include the National HQ lease renewal for the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) in 2007, and then the subsequent early lease renewal and expansion in 2014 for what is now known as the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA), formed through the merger of the CA, CGA, CMA accounting designations. He led the team in a seven-floor relocation of Denton’s LLP (formerly Fraser Milner Casgrain) to the Toronto Dominion Centre. In 2010, Chris completed the lease restructuring of 140,000 sq. ft. in the Exchange Tower on behalf of National Bank of Canada, followed by securing their new retail and commercial Flagship location in Standard Life Centre in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Throughout his impressive career, Christopher has gained invaluable experience and insight into changing market conditions. As a result, has devised creative and innovative strategies and solutions to the challenges and opportunities his clients face. His demonstrated dedication to each assignment, along with his highly professional manner and approach, has earned him the privilege to represent numerous clients on a long term basis. In 2010, Christopher was invited to be a Principal in Avison Young.
Chris and his Team worked very closely with us, attending all bi-weekly real estate committee meetings, and consistently anticipated and answered our needs throughout a year-long process resulting in our relocation to TD Centre. He was instrumental in assisting us with space planning, development and implementation of our real estate plan, selecting third-party consultants, comparisons, and risk assessment, the selection of our new premises from among several locations, and negotiation of the actual offer to lease and lease. He and his team conducted a town hall meeting with our full Toronto partnership which enabled us to readily approve the selection of the new premises and answer all questions. Our partners gained great confidence by knowing that he and his team were an integral part of the selection and negotiating process. He has great credibility in the office leasing community and excellent relationships with landlords and other brokers.
I had the opportunity to work closely over many years with Chris before and after he joined Avison Young. The list of assignments and challenges he managed on my behalf include leasing new office and retail space, lease renewals, lease consolidations and relocations, and the successful sublease of what were considered at best marginal recovery opportunities. I asked Chris to locate properties that by definition did not exist, including a new Trading Floor in a downtown Toronto. Specifically, high performance space with ceiling heights and an infrastructure associated with our demanding operations environment. Our $12 Million, state-of-the-art, 35,000 sq. ft. facility opened the Exchange Tower in 2008. Chris has the necessary experience and foresight required to properly distill market data into market intelligence so I turned to him for advice when the Bank decided to address its Toronto regional office space. He devised an imaginative strategy to renew and restructure our 7 floor, 140,000 sq. ft. office lease, and he then finalized negotiations in less than 45 days. Immediate savings captured through his efforts exceeded $6 Million.
Jean Pierre Belanger
I relied exclusively on Chris in securing and expanding our retail footprint across the GTA and most importantly, the relocation of our main Toronto branch from 150 York to 121 King St. West. The relocation was the most significant because of its size and complexity. It encompassed the entire ground floor and Tower entrance lobby, plus 2 other floors of office space, as well as our visibility requirements including exclusive rights to the existing the jumbo video screen on the building exterior, as well as extensive banner and podium signage deemed a must-have by me. This was, by far, one of the most difficult and complex real estate transactions I have ever witnessed due to internal and external pressures and constraints imposed by my firm and the building ownership. Chris was tenacious and patient throughout. He negotiated with skill and diplomacy bringing two parties to a mutually satisfying agreement. This transaction would not have been possible had it not been for Chris's determination to do what was right for his client, namely NBC. He is an outstanding executive and broker, and I do not hesitate in providing my unqualified support and recommendation!
Pasquale (Pat) Minicucci
CPA Canada was established in 2013 when the assets of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and the Certified Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) were combined. With the new CPA offices based in the legacy CICA downtown Toronto location, CPA Canada needed additional office space to meet staff requirements; however, the Toronto office lease did not expired until 2017.
Chris determined that, at the current premises, additional space was available in mid-2014 and in early 2015. We anticipated that the additional space would meet our needs for the foreseeable future and approached the landlord to discuss leasing the additional space and early renewal of the existing lease, without affecting the head lease terms. We also sought to secure favourable rates and incentives as dictated by the market conditions.
This was a difficult and complex real estate transaction and Chris presented to the landlord, a detailed analysis of the local market conditions and CPA’s spacing issues. Subsequent discussions between the parties resulted in the landlord and the building owners working with CPA Canada to reach amicable lease terms, tenant improvement incentives and extension of the lease expiry date to 2027.
Throughout this process, Chris demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the market, ability to analyze complex information and make sound recommendations, and a professional manner that made dealing with him and his firm a pleasure.