WHR Crossley Buckley Williams Rooney
WHR's equity partners. From left: Crossley, Buckley, Williams, Rooney

WHR acquired by Canadian group

The Manchester property consultancy has entered into an agreement with Avison Young that will see it join the global real estate group within the next month.

Upon completion of the deal, WHR will be rebranded as Avison Young and its 35 staff members will transfer to the firm. Mark Williams, Gareth Buckley, Mike Rooney and Dan Crossley will become principals of Avison Young, with Williams becoming managing director of the Manchester office. The operation is to move from its long-established base at the Lexicon to Beech Holdings’ 11 St James’s Square, premises managed by WHR, in December. The relocation was agreed earlier this year prior to the takeover.

11 St James Square WHR

WHR’s new base will be at 11 St James’s Square on John Dalton Street

Avison Young said that Williams will play “a leading role in the company’s strategic expansion in the North West region while managing the day-to-day operations of the office”. He also will continue to work closely with Buckley, Rooney and Crossley and collaborate with principals across the company.

For Avison Young, the Manchester office will represent its fifth office in the UK and 11th office in Europe. Over the past nine years the business has grown from 11 to 81 offices in 73 markets, employing more than 2,600 real estate professionals in Canada, the US, Mexico and Europe. The UK division is headed by Jason Sibthorpe.

WHR was founded in 2004 when a group of senior professionals departed Lambert Smith Hampton to set up a firm specialising in office and industrial agency, building consultancy, investment and ratings.

Mark Rose, chairman and chief executive of Avison Young, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the WHR team to Avison Young and open a new office in Manchester, which will provide us with a centre of excellence in the dynamic North West marketplace and expand our footprint in the UK.

“The new Manchester team prides itself on close relationships with clients, many of whom have relied upon the firm since its inception. Avison Young will provide the new team’s clients with a countrywide service offering that spans the entire property lifecycle. In addition, we’ll provide North West clients with access to overseas markets and global resources.”

Avison Young entered the UK market in April 2014 when it acquired Haywards, giving it offices in London and Thames Valley. The firm further widened its UK footprint in January 2016 with the purchase of Midlands firm North Rae Sanders.

Williams said: “While we are proud of WHR’s achievements and growth to date, we do recognize that the future growth of the business will require a stronger national and, importantly, international brand.

“When we were approached by Avison Young, we were impressed with how closely our companies’ philosophies aligned, and felt confident that our regional presence would be enhanced by joining a larger firm with strong UK. and international client bases. We feel that this move is particularly important in the context of Manchester and the North West of England, as we are seeing real estate become an increasingly globalised commodity.”

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