Retail Design & Project Mgmt Firm

Colliers and G.L. Smith Multi-Layered Transaction

Two-Phase Owner-Occupier Solution for Growing Business

What began as a cold call grew to be a mutually beneficial relationship that culminated in a multi-layered transaction for Dominic Delapenha and Chris Luxton of Colliers International.

The team worked with client G.L. Smith Planning and Design, an interior design firm specializing in retail design and project management, in solving a multi-layered challenge. Having outgrown its 3,863 square-foot office space at 229 Sheppard Avenue West, the architecture firm purchased 202 Sheppard Avenue West, a 5,000-square-foot parcel of land, with the intent of completing a 10,000-square-foot design-build.

However, G.L. Smith’s growth would not allow the necessary time to build and develop the new space. As a result, the firm hired the Delapenha/Luxton team to solve its challenge.

Dominic’s first meeting with Gary Smith, G.L. Smith’s President, was a memorable one. Dominic was on crutches, having recently pulled his Achilles tendon. Despite his injury, Dominic helped deliver results like the professional that he is. “When I tried looking for spaces on the web on my own, I couldn’t find anything that would work for us,” says Gary Smith. “Time is important when you run a company and I felt this team took my time seriously.”

Chris and Dominic expertly established that G.L. Smith needed a two-phase solution: to relocate and lease its office space, providing flexibility for its forecasted growth, and to simultaneously sell its assets to help inject the necessary capital into the business.

The team then worked with Gary to determine the most suitable location for G.L. Smith’s new office, based on existing staff and the desire to retain and attract new talent. Colliers implemented a seamless marketing strategy, leveraging existing relationships in the North Yonge Corridor with adequate vacancies. “Overall, we looked at five to six places with Chris and Dominic before we settled – which was exactly what we were looking for,” says Gary. “I liked the idea that we weren’t playing games and wasting my time. It was an open and transparent deal and relationship.”

The Colliers team sold G.L. Smith’s office building for $2.7 million and the land for $1.3 million. Furthermore, they secured a 10,000-square-foot, 10-year office lease for G.L. Smith at 4711 Yonge Street, all within an impressively short period of three months.

What’s next for G.L. Smith? As the firm is growing faster than anticipated and filling up its new space, G.L. Smith has begun thinking about acquiring even more space in the next few years. “Just don’t tell my wife that. We are not allowed to grow any bigger,” jokes Gary. “In all seriousness, we would absolutely go back to Chris and Dominic as we felt we were represented well. When we had concerns, they answered the phone and didn’t hide. Nothing ever goes 100% smoothly – and if anybody says that, they are living in the dream world. When I had problems, Chris and Dominic explained the situation or found ways to solve them.”

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