Heller: Building AY in the
Garden State.

(It’s almost here: RealShare NJ comes to the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, NJ on Sept. 19)

MORRISTOWN, NJ-Jeff Heller’s signature on his new agreement with Avison Young was barely dry when he appeared Friday at the firm’s Annual General Meeting in Washington, DC. Heller, who leaves CBRE, is coming aboard as principal and managing director charged with starting up a New Jersey outpost.

In his new post, Heller will report to principal and tri-state leader Arthur Mirante  and managing director Gregory E. Kraut, both based in Manhattan. “Jeff began his career at C&W,” Mirante recalls, “and I remember how disappointed I was when he left. He’s a top-flight broker.”

Heller, a 26-year industry veteran, will get the chance to prove himself again as he grows the firm’s disciplines in the Garden State. He tells GlobeSt.com that in addition to office, industrial and retail disciplines, the shop is going to focus on such areas as life-sciences and data centers, all from tent-rep or landlord/agency specializations. “All of our practice leaders will be best-in-class professionals who specialize in those fields,” he explains. And the key there is specialization, “a real separation of church and state.”

“The opening of our first office in New Jersey is an important part of our strategy to establish a strong presence in key markets throughout the US,” chair and CEO Mark Rose said in a company statement. “One of the largest office and industrial markets in the country, New Jersey presents significant opportunities to effectively introduce Avison Young’s differentiated approach to principal-led client service.”

Heller notes that he did a thorough check under the hood, “a complete diagnostic on this company before I determined to move my practice. I got to spend quality time with the executive-management team and the board members. I was impressed with the intellectual property and the level of professionalism, the focus and the financial discipline far exceeded my expectations.” That Mirante was on board, he confesses, was icing on the cake.

For its part, CBRE is philosophic: ”We appreciate the contributions Jeff has made during his time with CBRE and wish him well,” says Jeff Hipschman, senior managing director and head of the firm’s New Jersey operations. “As the number-one commercial real estate firm in New Jersey, we’re fortunate to have an deep array of professional talent and are strongly positioned for continued growth.”

For AY, the Heller coup is another step in its ongoing initiative to build a formidable presence in the US. In the weeks since it secured Mirante, GlobeSt reported exclusively that the firm acquired brokerage Starrpoint in Los Angeles and property manager Landry & Associates in Las Vegas.

According to Rose, the numbers alone tell the story. AY, which had 290 people in Canada and no US presence in 2008, grew that to 803 people in both countries by 2011. By next year, he expects that number to hit 1,450, and 2,500 by 2016.