Eastdil Secured Hires Avison Young’s Rob Walters to Head Up Data Center Business


Eastdil Secured has hired Rob Walters to lead the firm’s data center and digital infrastructure business, Commercial Observer can first report. 

Walters joins from Avison Young, and brings more than 25 years of industry experience to the table. He will be based in Washington, D.C., and his new purview will span investment sales, leasing, joint venture partnerships and financing, both domestic and international. 

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Walters’s hiring and the continued expansion of Eastdil’s data center and digital infrastructure business is a response to the sector’s rapid growth, and the firm meeting red-hot client demand for the sector — which shows no sign of cooling anytime soon. 

“Over our more than 50-year history, we have grown our presence, capabilities and expertise to meet the evolving needs of our clients across market cycles and sectors with trusted, differentiated advice globally,” Roy Hilton March, CEO of Eastdil Secured, said in a statement. “Rob is a distinguished leader and trusted adviser with a proven track record of delivering top-level results for clients, and his addition further validates our commitment to thoughtfully building out our best-in-class team in a way that provides tangible value for clients around the world in the growing digital infrastructure and data center space.”

Indeed, U.S. data center demand is forecast to increase by 10 percent annually until 2030, according to a McKinsey & Company report. The sector’s skyrocketing demand has attracted an increasing number of investors — in particular pension funds and sovereign wealth funds — to the space due to the recurring cash flow and growth it offers.

Walters is well positioned to guide Eastdil’s clients and further grow its business. He spent almost 13 years at Avison Young. Most recently, he worked as a principal at the company, where he led investment sales and leasing for its data center business, executing more than $4.5 billion worth of transactions comprising 15 million square feet during his tenure. 

“Across the globe, Eastdil Secured is known as the preeminent adviser and partner in commercial real estate,” Walters said. “I am humbled and beyond excited to join the team and have an opportunity to work alongside Sean McDermott, Collins Ege, Mark Chu and the rest of the Eastdil team to further the firm’s best-in-class capabilities in the data center and digital infrastructure sector.”

While Northern Virginia, Northern California, Atlanta, Dallas and Chicago are among the top data center markets today, increasing demand in the sector is creating plenty of investment opportunities in secondary and tertiary markets as primary markets experience both power and space constraints. 

As a result, locations such as Nashville, Columbus, Ohio, and Hillsboro, Ore., are experiencing strong investment tailwinds today as more cost-effective markets. 

“As digital infrastructure and data centers become increasingly important in today’s global digital economy, we are pleased to expand our team with a leader and professional of Rob’s caliber, which enhances our capabilities significantly in this critical asset class,” D. Michael Van Konynenburg, president of real estate investment banking at Eastdil Secured, said. “With approximately $4.5 billion of global data center-related projects in process today, adding a market-leading professional like Rob to our already strong team will accelerate our ability to deliver for our clients and capitalize on a growing opportunity set.” 

Cathy Cunningham can be reached at ccunningham@commercialobserver.com