VOL. 133 | NO. 90 | Friday, May 4, 2018
By Patrick Lantrip
For the fifth time in a little more than two years, commercial real estate brokerage Avison Young is growing in Memphis. Now the rapidly expanding local franchise, which started out as two men in a temporary office and currently employs 15, will be occupying 5,200 square feet in an iconic building along the Poplar corridor, more than doubling its previous footprint.
“Our capabilities, people and customer base continue to grow,” said Avison Young principal Shane Soefker, who established the office – one of 84 in Toronto-based Avison Young’s global network – alongside principal Jacob Biddle in 2016. “We have experienced over 350 percent growth in personnel and over a 1,000 percent growth in year-over-year top-line revenue from the time we started AY Memphis.”
To accommodate this growth, Avison Young Memphis chose to relocate into the Trustmark Centre at 5350 Poplar Ave., a building they helped purchase last November.
“We continue to pursue investments in a variety of real estate transactions and we are partners in the sponsor that currently own 5350 Poplar,” Soefker said. “We are doing a lot of great things at 5350, including the launching of a significant capital program and aggressively repositioning the property, and as such, we wanted a flagship space that represented who we are and the direction we are heading with the building.”
For the new digs, Avison Young decided to buck the trend of open office space in favor of a more traditional setup, but still with plenty of breakout and collaborative space.
“There are a lot of reasons why an open office plan works and a lot of reasons why it doesn’t,” Soefker said. “We chose to have offices.”
However, he added, this is indicative of a work culture that hasn’t been afraid to go against the grain to get the job done.
“Our principal-owned, principal-led platform gives us a lot of flexibility with what we want to do and how we want to do it,” Soefker said. “It’s a much more entrepreneurial platform.”
Avison Young vice president Chase Carlisle said that for a long time most people didn’t take the company’s local presence seriously and questioned Biddle’s and Soefker’s decision to start their own office.
“Now I think we’ve proven that we’re not only viable, but we’re going to be competitive,” Carlisle said. “And I think our culture is going to be very inviting for a lot of people.”
Moving forward, Carlisle said, AY Memphis will continue to build off the momentum it has created over the past two years.
“Our goal for the immediate future is to increase our visibility in the marketplace and build on the track record that is legitimately there, Carlisle said. “So that people understand that we are going to continue to disrupt and that we are a serious player.”
Soefker said his company’s goal is to continue to grow its market share while adding strategic new hires along the way, such as new director of research Lauren Goddard.
“The first two years were proof of concept,” Soefker said. “I think everyone was waiting for us to fail to a certain degree, which is just human nature, but not only were we able to prove them wrong, we were able to flourish.”