Q&A With Savills Studley’s Newly Acquired Toronto Team
Savills Studley has acquired Toronto-based tenant rep firm Real Facilities Inc, the first move in a nationwide expansion bid. Canada EVP Stan Krawitz (founder of Real Facilities) and Ontario branch manager Ken Norris offer insights.
Bisnow: How did Savills Studley come to acquire your firm?
Stan Krawitz (left, with Ken): We’ve enjoyed a five-year relationship with Savills Studley. We share the same DNA. Their philosophy about acting only for tenants—and being very specific as to who the client is—is the same as ours. We were also pleased that the quality of service we got from them when we had Canadian clients looking to execute transactions or projects in the US was the same type of service we provided them when their US clients were looking north of the border.
Bisnow: What is Savills Studley’s aim in coming to Canada?
Stan: It’s typical for US companies to expand across the US and forget that Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal fit into their Top 10 markets; they expand into much smaller US markets before looking north. That was true for Savills Studley, and it came to a point where there was enormous pressure on them from their US clients to have proper representation under the same brand and banner, with the same platform, to perform the work on either side of the border. So this gives their US clients an opportunity to execute their requirements in Canada, and the same is true for our Canadian clients expanding into the US.
Pictured: 8690 Escarpment Way in Milton. US healthcare supply manufacturer Medline engaged Savills Studley to find expansion opportunities in the GTA; Real Facilities helped the firm relocate to its 250k SF premises.
Bisnow: What’s the upside for you in joining Savills Studley?
Stan: We’ve always enjoyed being a boutique and the benefits of being small and nimble and offering personalized service. But our clients had grown with us and were looking at expansion into the US. Having the seamless capability of doing this with a partner we know and trust—their smarts and unbiased commitment to the tenant and user—was attractive to us and our clients. In fact, three of them have already engaged us to do work outside Canada with the Savills Studley platform globally.
Bisnow: What’s your objective for year one and beyond?
Ken Norris: The main mission is to grow the business, not only in Toronto but nationally. Savills is based in London; Studley is in New York; both want to see expansion across the country. And they’re looking for top-level talent with a strong affinity for tenant advocacy because that’s our platform in North America. They’d like to be in two other Canadian cities, Calgary and Vancouver, by 2017. That could be through the acquisition of a boutique firm or it could be individual producers opening a Savills Studley branch. It’s important to have the right personnel in those markets, and if that takes a little longer, they’ll be patient.
Pictured: 6925 Century Ave (First Meadowvale Centre II) in Mississauga. Real Facilities partnered with Savills Studley’s New Jersey office to help pharmaceutical company Eisai Ltd secure 10k SF there for its Canadian HQ.
Bisnow: Where do you see opportunities for growth?
Stan: Our firm has a great template and platform; we cover the waterfront from a tenant rep perspective. We have a small office group, small industrial group, small retail group, and we also have project management and design. Big firms all have those departments, but they have 50 or 60 people in each one, whereas we have between two and four. So there’s an opportunity to grow the platform that already exists and has already been proven as opposed to having to build platforms from scratch. That’s going to be attractive to smart brokers interested in a progressive platform.