Veteran broker Graeme Webster to lead Avison Young’s new capital markets team

Avison Young capital markets team
From left, Benjamin Burns, Graeme Webster and Jessica Thalen have joined Avison Young's Ottawa office. Photo courtesy Avison Young

Avison Young has tapped the co-founder of one of Ottawa’s top boutique commercial real estate brokerages to lead its new capital markets team as the national firm looks to beef up its local service offerings.

Graeme Webster, who launched Koble Commercial Real Estate with his longtime friend and colleague Marc Morin in 2014, joined Avison Young’s Ottawa office on Monday as principal of its new capital markets group. 

A veteran of nearly two decades in the local real estate industry, Webster specializes in brokering the sale of office, industrial and retail properties. 

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Over the past nine years, he and Morin built Koble into a small but mighty force in the Ottawa market. The seven-person firm helped broker major deals such as Katasa Group and ARG Devco’s recent acquisition of a pair of office buildings at 66 and 130 Slater St., a $72.5-million transaction that ranks among the city’s biggest deals of the year.

Webster said Koble has “really almost become a proxy for offices that don’t have a national presence in Ottawa.” When he and Morin decided a few months ago that the time had come to wind up the business, Webster approached a number of national brokerages about joining them.

Two of Webster’s colleagues at Koble, senior associate Benjamin Burns and senior associate of brokerage services Jessica Thalen, will round out Avison Young’s new Ottawa-based capital markets team.

“To go to a group like Avison Young, where we have access to resources and reach that we didn’t as a local boutique, we can just deliver a better service offering to our client,” he explained. “At the end of the day, this is a firm that really matched up with what our clients, I think, expect from us.”

Michael Church, the managing director of Avison Young’s Ottawa office, said the addition of Webster, Burns and Thalen gives the firm new expertise that will allow it to broaden its client base and service offerings. 

For example, several high-profile properties that were being marketed by Koble, including the Carling Executive Centre, will now be listed by Avison Young.  

“It’s a platform that we really didn’t have,” said Church, who focuses on leasing. “It’s fabulous for us because there are so many opportunities.”

The new team expects to work closely with its counterparts in Toronto and Montreal and will be a “critical part” of the firm’s Canadian growth strategy, Joe Almeida, the managing director of Avison Young’s Ontario operations, said in a statement.

“Having industry leaders like Graeme, Benjamin and Jessica join the fold further enhances our service offerings in key markets across the country,” Almeida added.

Webster – who started in the real estate industry at Colliers International and spent time at prominent local firm District Realty before founding his own brokerage with Morin – said the decision to shut down Koble was bittersweet. 

At the same time, he said he can’t wait to start the next chapter of his career.

“It’s Wednesday, and I think we’ve submitted four offers (since Monday),” Webster said. “We’re busy. The three of us are really excited, and we think the future is very bright.”

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