Colliers Canada launches strategy and consulting group

13 August 2020 3 min. read

The Canadian arm of Collier International, a Toronto-headquartered global commercial real estate services and investment firm, has launched a new strategy and consulting group to help clients optimize their real estate portfolios.

With the pandemic changing the way people work and accelerating the obsolescence of a variety of buildings, an effective real estate strategy is imperative in a situation with more shifting variables than ever before.

Colliers Canada is aiming to be the real estate strategy advisor of choice for Canadian businesses, competing with the real estate practices of dedicated management consulting firms.

The Colliers Strategy & Consulting (S&C) Group will have offerings across strategic advisory, development management, and workplace strategy – leveraging the firm’s expertise, scale, resources, and proprietary data in the commercial real estate sector.

“As Covid-19 continues to transform the commercial real estate industry, our clients are having to re-imagine the way their assets are being utilized to minimize risk and provide optimal value,” said Brian Rosen, president and CEO of Colliers Canada. “Now more than ever, there is a need for commercial real estate advisory and consulting services to help organizations navigate a rapidly changing environment.”

Colliers Canada launches strategy and consulting group

The consulting group will help clients select functional workplace designs that meet company objectives, advising on the most suitable work arrangement – be it satellite offices, flexible workspaces, or work-from-home solutions.

The group will also advise on the best use of portfolio assets, monetization strategies for latent real estate assets, and the ideal capital structure.

Colliers Canada’s consulting business will leverage the firm’s extensive proprietary databases, which includes accurate supply and demand information from the management of 65 million square feet of property, the annual sale of 1,200 commercial properties, and 5,000 annual lease completions.

The strategy offering can then move to execution through the firm’s existing capabilities, which include $20 billion of property assets under management; more than 600 project and program managers; a real estate brokerage that completes 6,000 projects annually; and other offerings such as tax services and property appraisal.

“We’re eager to launch the Colliers Strategy & Consulting Group at such a critical time for our clients who need an effective real estate strategy covering every major aspect of a project,” said David Bowden, leader of the S&C Group. “We have the largest dedicated real property strategy and consulting practice in Canada, supported by the country’s largest real estate services company – we have the capabilities to create viable, effective solutions for our clients, with a true real estate lens.”

Bowden has more than 40 years of commercial real estate experience, and served as CEO of Colliers Canada between 2009 and 2020.

The explicit move into real estate strategy consulting continues Colliers’ efforts to diversify into high-margin professional services as commercial real estate management and brokerage suffers the impacts of a pandemic-fueled downturn.

Colliers International earlier this year acquired Maser Consulting, a Red Bank, New Jersey-based engineering consultancy with more than 1,000 professionals.

“Colliers enters the highly fragmented engineering design services sector as a major player while furthering our strategy of diversifying revenues with another essential, highly valued real estate service offering,” said Jay Hennick, global chairman and CEO of Colliers International, in July. “Our new engineering division not only strengthens our Outsourcing & Advisory segment but also complements our tremendously successful Colliers Project Leaders project management business.”

Rival commercial real estate services firm Avison Young created a professional services practice in April, tapping former Deloitte partner Sheila Botting to build out the firm's consulting offering in the Americas.