REAL ESTATE

Avison Young homes in on North Florida with new acquisition

BY Al Urbanski

In 2004, Nick Banks was living and thriving in the commercial real estate business in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale. But his young family was growing and he thought it might be better suited to Gainesville, where he’d attended the University of Florida. He decided to make the move there and hasn’t looked back.

“I lived in Gainesville for four years without ever doing any business in the region. I opened my own brokerage and was a one-man show, still doing deals in South Florida,” said Banks.

That changed. Banks’s Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group began focusing on Florida’s wide-open northern tier. The one-employee shop evolved into 30, and this year Front Street was acquired by Avison Young to expand its presence in North Florida.

Banks is now a principal in Avison Young and manager of its Gainesville office, charged with expanding the company’s retail footprint and property management services in the region. He also serves as retail practice group leader for company, which named the No. 6 and fastest-growing commercial real estate brand in this year’s rankings by The Lipsey Company.

During the Front Street’s first eight years, Banks developed and acquired office and retail projects throughout Florida. In 2010, he shifted the firm’s focus to third-party client service along with brokerage and property management services.

“For so many years, North Florida had been a forgotten part of the state, and it’s been eye-opening to witness room there is for growth here,” Banks said. “There are abundant resources here in workforce, affordable land, major universities, and fresh water—which is a big issue in Florida.”

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