great deal has changed in Calgary since 1973 when the young city was growing amidst the oil and gas boom. Since then, the city has boomed and busted on a loop as it grew into an economic centre of Canada. And through the ups and downs, Barclay Street has been there every step of the way. It began as Torode Realty and served Calgary clients for 30 years before it rebranded with a new name, Barclay Street Real Estate, in 2004. In the 15 years since the name change, Barclay Street has brought superior service to a diverse Alberta clientele, first with commercial real estate brokerage services and then with the introduction of its property management division in 2007.
“Our focus is commercial real estate brokerage and property management. In brokerage, our services include leasing of industrial, office and retail spaces, as well as investment sales of industrial, office, land and retail properties,” says Barclay Street Real Estate president David Wallach. “Our property management division emphasis is managing commercial properties, especially condo association management.”
Serving Clients in All Areas
Barclay Street Real Estate was built on quality service and a sincere desire to help clients succeed. That’s what has kept clients loyal to the firm. No matter the real estate service required, the team exceeds expectations in every area.
“On the brokerage side, our strength is in industrial leasing and sales as well as office leasing,” says Wallach. “We are turning our attention to investment sales and retail leasing, and we are developing those now to have a better market share in Alberta.”
The leasing division offers institutional and private tenant and landlord client services in office, industrial and retail leasing, providing service in growth strategies, project and construction management, and market analysis. The leasing team works closely with clients in all sectors to locate the perfect space. Their knowledge and trends of the Calgary and Edmonton markets allows the team to help clients make the right decisions in all aspects of the real estate life cycle, all the while fostering great relationships with clients.
The investment sales team has real estate experience with both private and institutional investors, ensuring a good match between property and buyer. The professionals at Barclay Street offer investment expertise across sectors and in all areas including land sales, joint venture opportunities, industrial, retail, office, land and multi-family. These dedicated experts offer investors and owners everything from marketing strategies and materials to professional analysis; acquisitions and dispositions to market review.
The property management division offers clients extensive professional services to best manage their real estate assets – whether office, industrial, retail or residential condo – in order to make the most of their investment. With years of experience in a variety of property types, the team provides innovative plans to meet any real estate requirement. The range of services include: investment and mixed-use property management; leasing negotiations and renewals; budget and financial reporting preparation; and developing and managing building operations. The division also provides real estate asset management strategies and develops health, safety and security programs for clients.
“We are looking to grow the portfolio on the property management side, to really redefine our portfolio. We definitely want to see clients prosper and continue to grow,” says Theresa Llewellyn, executive vice president and general manager of property management.
One growth area in property management has been industrial condos. Development in Calgary is robust in industrial areas and developers are moving toward the individually-owned bays of industrial condos. Barclay Street Real Estate is uniquely poised to offer superior service in this area; if a developer client doesn’t sell all of the units, the brokerage division is available to step in and do the leasing as well.
“We’ve really gotten into that niche in Calgary. We have almost three million square feet in industrial condos,” she says.
As clients’ needs evolve, so does Barclay Street Real Estate. The team keeps its finger on the pulse of the industry to ensure it’s giving the best possible service to create the most satisfied client base.
It’s a People Business
Since the beginning, Barclay Street Real Estate has earned its reputation for quality and high service standards by focusing on exceeding client expectations. To achieve that, they had to staff the firm with like-minded, client-focused professionals. No matter their role, every one of the 48 Barclay Street employees honours the company’s core values in every interaction and transaction. The core values – leadership, professional standards, success and balance – create a positive work culture and productive relationships with clients.
“The biggest core value we have is teamwork. We are definitely team oriented in everything that we do here,” says Llewellyn.
The company lacks the hierarchy ingrained in many companies. Everyone works in a bullpen instead of individual offices, encouraging staff to bounce ideas off each other, brainstorm and get to know each other well without the barrier of a closed door. From the president down, Barclay Street is people-focused and it’s the performance of the talented people at the firm that has made the difference. Staff are respected, challenged in their work and have the opportunity to move up the ranks, so Barclay Street Real Estate sees limited turnover. It must be a great place to work, as seven employees have been with the company for more than 30 years and a handful of others for more than 20 years.
This loyalty and longevity strengthen the relationships with clients, lending consistency from deal to deal. Barclay Street employees bring the highest levels of service and expertise to client relations and work toward achieving success for clients as well as colleagues. The teams are invested in clients and go the extra mile to make sure they are happy.
“Our slogan internally is ‘Because We Care.’ We are not interested in just doing the deal, getting the cheque and walking away. We like to keep in touch with clients, and we like repeat deals with clients,” says Wallach. “The people who work here care about the clients, and we care about the employees.”
As a result of the blue-chip treatment for every client, many are repeat clients, and many of those recommend the firm to others. Its impressive performance has attracted a growing number of institutional clients across the country along with local entrepreneurs fuelling the Alberta economy. Clients want the attention to detail and personal touches they can get from a boutique firm like Barclay Street whether they are seeking property management services, looking to lease a new space or acquiring a property. The firm is a one-stop shop for clients, making any real estate transaction hassle-free.
“It’s a strong local boutique company that fits everything to your measurements so you don’t have to buy off the rack and go for alterations. There are no alterations after you deal with us,” Wallach says.
Being local is important, and Barclay Street has decades’ worth of experience in Alberta that it can put to work for clients.
Local Expertise, Global Reach
The firm is predominantly Alberta based, with two offices in Calgary and another in Edmonton. Over 90 per cent of its business is operating locally, and the Barclay Street team knows the players on all sides. Being part of the commercial real estate landscape for decades gives the firm an advantage and being a boutique firm means the team can better cater to clients’ needs personally. But being boutique doesn’t mean being limited. Barclay Street is a member of TCN Worldwide, which is a consortium of more than 800 privately-owned commercial real estate companies working in more than 200 primary and secondary markets ranging from Australia and Mexico to Italy and the United States. As the Canadian representative, Barclay Street has access to the expertise of members, enjoying the exchange of information as well as two-way referrals between offices.
“Almost every year, we have done a few deals that are referrals from the U.S. to us, or we refer down to the States. We’ve done some sizable deals so that helps us compete with the big international whales,” says Wallach.
But Barclay Street Real Estate isn’t interested in being a whale. It is interested in providing unparalleled service to clients and helping the community grow. The firm supports the arts, both financially as a company and as individuals participating on various boards, and David Wallach stays on the forefront of what is happening in the city as the co-chair of the Calgary Economic Development Real Estate Advisory Committee.
“We live here and we want to see this place succeed. We want to see more art and more sports and we see this as a vibrant city that we’re proud to be part of,” Wallach says.
This vibrant city has been struggling over the past few years, and as the head of an independent boutique firm, the downturn has given Wallach some sleepless nights. Throughout it all, Barclay Street didn’t downsize staff and through efficient management and hard work has weathered the economic storm.
“We see a flashlight at the end of the tunnel – sometimes it’s flashing and sometimes it’s solid so we don’t know yet which direction it is. But we’re having a better year this year and have had some sizable deals that have pushed us in the right direction,” he says.
After more than 45 years in business, and 15 years as Barclay Street Real Estate, the firm remains the benchmark in commercial real estate and now, infused with new talent, is ready to turn that flashlight into a spotlight to take the company into a promising future.