In his 25 years in the brokerage business, Jon Mook has been part of both large public entities and smaller private boutique shops. He learned the ropes in one of the large firms, and after a dozen years he’d earned the position of partner and senior vice president. While it was a great company, he found that being public forced them to focus on generating revenue for quarterly returns and he wanted to find a smaller private company that could offer more independence and control of his team’s direction.
He moved to Barclay Street Real Estate, a locally-owned, full-service brokerage firm that allowed Mook to come in with his own team and operate out of their own office.
“It was a great experience. The owner gave me a lot of freedom, full autonomy and we were very profitable every year,” says Jon Mook, president and managing director of Lee & Associates Calgary.
Mook was essentially running his own business within a business for a decade, but there was one thing missing: ownership. With his three children expressing a desire to join the family business after they complete their business degrees, Mook was looking to build a legacy that the next generation could carry on. In November 2022, he was given the opportunity to establish a branch of Lee & Associates, the largest broker-owned firm in North America.
Lee & Associates has a stellar reputation as a top-tier international commercial real estate brokerage and integrated services provider, with 70 branch offices across Canada and the United States that employ around 1,400 industry professionals.
“With Lee, they really like an entrepreneurial kind of individual. It’s a unique model, as you own your firm but you’re part of a bigger group. There’s a ton of collaboration and support,” he says.
The transition from being a satellite office of Barclay Street to the Calgary branch of Lee & Associates was a simple matter of new signage and an office refresh as Mook already had his team of six in place to provide leasing services, acquisitions and dispositions for clients under the new Lee umbrella. It also created a middle point for Lee’s Vancouver and Toronto offices for better connectivity across the country.
Lee & Associates offers full-service brokerage services in disciplines including industrial, suburban office, downtown office, retail and investment, and the Calgary office is adding to its team to better fill out all of these asset classes. As a broker-owned firm with profit sharing, the team is invested and agile, capable of implementing quick decisions and pivoting to keep projects running smoothly and successfully. This contributes to the shop’s end goal: to outwork the competition, partner with clients to deliver more than they expect and become indispensable to clients’ current and future projects.
The firm goes over and above in all areas to achieve this, servicing clients beyond the scope of a traditional brokerage shop. If traditional firms can’t assist a client with tenant improvements or a renovation, Mook’s team can assist with their development arm, something very unique to their firm. The alternative is having a landlord do the work and charge a fee for such services. As a result, Lee & Associates is far from traditional. Jon Mook has the skillset and experience to do new construction and design build projects through his complementary business, the Mook Group of Companies. This development arm operates parallel to Lee & Associates to offer more expansive service options for companies seeking real estate solutions in Alberta.
“Development always starts with a client looking for land and I would broker the acquisition but then step in as a development manager to help them pull together a team to design the building, work on drawings, take it out for tender, price it, pick a general contractor, help with construction documents and then shadow-manage the project all the way to the end,” he says.
Some clients also look to the team to teach them about the ins and outs of their mortgage agreement and help with securing financing to ensure they are putting the best package in place.
“I’m the only guy in the market offering this set of services,” Mook says.
He started offering development services hand-in-hand with brokerage back in 2002 and then established his own property portfolio in 2008. Now the Mook Group has 11 buildings in the portfolio, and he has completed 45 facilities going back to 2002. His latest venture is near completion in Grande Prairie for a repeat client where they are in the final stages of construction for a cross dock terminal, the third one in Alberta with the same client.
This high-level expertise makes Lee & Associates the one-stop shop for industrial development, a market that represents more than 150 million square feet of space in Calgary. Mook and his team have been involved in many incredible projects, both as part of the brokerage and the development arm, and there is no greater compliment than being invited back to work on subsequent facilities in other locations or asked for sophisticated solutions to challenging needs. The firm has proven it’s up to the challenge of complicated projects, with one of the most significant being the PTW Energy Services project. The team was asked to unite several of that company’s facilities into three new buildings measuring more than 200,000 square feet built on 40 acres of land. Mook and his team spent more than two years guiding the client through the specs, design and construction for the 20-year design build lease.
Now, Lee & Associates is working with a private developer to bring to market a 185-acre northeast industrial park that is situated on the last tract of land in the city that fronts onto Deerfoot Trail. The team will sell off large 30- and 40-acre parcels as well as some smaller owner-user ones to create a park that fits a wide range of needs. It’s an amazing project and Mook and his team have a strong base of experience on which they can build to be successful.
“I’ve been involved with two other industrial parks in the past, bringing them from absolute farmland to serviced land that you can sell, so just having a skillset beyond a traditional brokerage has allowed me to work with clients in a greater capacity,” Mook says. “We’re really excited bringing this park to the market.”
While the team prides itself on its properties and delivering the services surrounding them, it’s the relationships that elevate the company. Mook believes that the most important client is the existing one, and his team is dedicated to exceeding the expectations of their long list of repeat customers. Relationships extend well beyond the boardrooms as clients have become more like good friends you work with.
“Even though we’re selling real estate, the core of our business is relationships and trust. That’s the backbone of brokerage,” he says.
That trust is something the whole team at Lee & Associates takes seriously. They are handling huge accounts and projects, and clients are confident that the Lee team is taking care of the details. For decades, Jon Mook has been partnering with clients on their leasing, acquisitions, dispositions, land and construction projects and now, with the expertise and resources of Lee & Associates behind him, the sky’s the limit for this small brokerage firm that delivers big.
117, 4950‑106th Avenue SE
Calgary, Alberta T2C 5E9