Principal in the D.C. Office at Avison Young
As head of Avison Young’s entire U.S. Capital Markets team, John Kevill has driven the effort for that slice of the company’s business during the pandemic. Kevill and his team remained active dealmarkers, leading the execution of two huge, zero cash flow deals.
“I am most proud that our team here in D.C., and nationally not only held together, but in many ways thrived,” he said. “Of course, deal volume was dramatically impaired in 2020, but things are back on track.”
For example, in 2021, Avison Young exceeded its 2020 first-quarter overall sales volume, which was the highest the firm has ever seen.
In December, along with fellow brokers Jon Hipp and Rich Murphy, Kevill executed the sale of two large, long-term leased properties valued at more than $600 million. One was an Amazon distribution center at an airport and the other was a headquarters.
“Both properties represent legacy-type real estate in a highly complex deal configuration that needed a hands-on approach to properly explain to the market,” Kevill said over email. “Our deal team was able to educate the buyers on the tax benefits embedded in the structure as well as the tremendous residual value inherent at the property level, while navigating property diligence and inspection during the pandemic. The teamwork involved was incredible and I was honored to be able to lead the team.”
Over the last year, the firm also dramatically accelerated its use of data and technology, Kevill said. Avison Young now has data scientists analyzing asset classes and layering in real-time market information, in order to understand where capital is focused and where value is being created at the asset level.
“Our teams stayed connected to each other and developed some best practices about sharing real-time anecdotes and information,” Kevill said. “Our monthly internal market scoop sheet became a must-read and a key component of communicating real-time market info to our clients.”
He anticipates the middle of 2021 and the end of the year will be wildly different.
“Investors are approaching Washington with a level of caution right now that will systematically melt away as the year goes on,” Kevill said. “There is a tremendous amount of capital available for investment across all asset classes, and the sheer volume of that capital will drive transaction activity.”