SAO PAULO, BRAZIL-The commercial real estate listing service has expended its presence to South America through a licensing agreement with a Brazilian partnership. This new service, which operates under the name, marks the Seattle-based company’s first expansion outside the U.S.

After several months spent translating the site into Portuguese and populating the site with data, the site was launched last week with 149 buildings totaling 11.8 million sf of rentable space and 453 available spaces. president John Suryan tells he expects further expansion throughout Brazil over the next several months and throughout South America over the next couple of years.

“Brazil is like the U.S. was twenty years ago in terms of available real estate information – you can find it, but you have to know where to look and who to call,” says Suryan, whose firm will receive an annual licensing fee as well as a percentage of revenue. “Our service will bring tremendous efficiency to a fragmented market and we see this as a great opportunity”

The principal of is Walter Benadof, a Brazilian that lives in Seattle and spends two weeks a month in Brazil, where he and his brother have a space planning and architecture services business. Prior to that, Benadof worked for Westin Hotels in Seattle for 10 years.

Most of the listings for the Sao Paulo site right now are class A office buildings, says Suryan. All told, Suryan estimates there could be 250 million sf of office space in the greater Sao Paulo region. Benadof has the option to expand into as many South American markets as possible in the next two years, says Suryan. has listing services in six U.S. markets: Seattle, Portland, Denver, Cincinnati, Columbus and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Brokers can list properties for free and pay to enhance the listing with photos and floors plans and a property flyer.

Suryan says the business has been making a profit for five years and growing at a 20% clip until this past year, when revenue stagnated as a result of the economy. Effectively, Suryan says the business operates at breakeven because profits are continuously being plowed back into the business, whether enhancing software, upgrading the Web site or launching expansion initiatives.

Suryan describes business nowadays as “surprisingly strong in a very weak economy.” He says when the market first started to turn for the worse, advertising actually increased for a little while because when it was tight and tenants were lined up three deep, there was no need to advertise. “Now it’s gone a little too far in the other direction,” says Suryan.

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