Avison Young grows agency leasing operations in Chicago

Avison Young grows agency leasing operations in Chicago 15 Sep 2020

Industry veteran Matt Ward joins as Principal; team delivers expertise to downtown market

Chicago, IL – Danny Nikitas, Avison Young Principal and Managing Director of the firm’s Chicago office, today announced the addition of office leasing veteran Matt Ward as an Avison Young Principal. Ward is joined by Melissa Hemberger as a Vice President. Both professionals join the firm’s growing team in Chicago, focused on downtown agency leasing.

“Matt and Melissa bring a well-regarded track record of client service and industry expertise that will help build our downtown agency leasing platform,” said Nikitas. “I have known Matt for many years as a consummate professional, entrepreneurial thinker and collaborative teammate. Melissa’s attention to detail and market know-how are a great compliment to Matt’s big picture focus.”

Ward and Hemberger were most recently with Newmark Knight Frank (formerly Newmark Grubb Knight Frank), where they focused on agency leasing, property marketing and advisory work for a large book of clients. They bring with them a leasing portfolio of approximately 320,000 square feet, including 20 West Kinzie, 936 Fulton Market, 167 Sangamon Street and 82 Orland Park Place.

Beginning his corporate real estate career in 1989, Ward has worked for brokerages, developers and owners, formulating a strong ownership mentality under the direction of industry pioneers Bill Alter and William Brown. Drawing on his multifaceted experience, Ward specializes in large, complex assignments and transactions. He has negotiated phased leases with puts and options, vertical subdivisions of office properties, lease-to-own strategies, joint venture agreements and ground-up development anchor-tenant leases.

“Avison Young’s entrepreneurial platform provides us with big market, multinational reach, with the ability to pivot quickly and develop creative solutions tailored to our clients’ needs,” said Ward. “We’re excited to work with the teams in such a collaborative and nimble environment.”

Hemberger specializes in multi-tenant office buildings, assisting owners in maximizing their real estate value. Comfortable with complex transactions and assignments, she has leased of some of the city’s most recognizable new-economy buildings, including 20 West Kinzie. Additionally, Hemberger is LEED GA certified and has significant experience in energy consulting and sales for all asset classes and tenants from class A office buildings to large-scale manufacturing.

Both Ward and Hemberger are active community members. Ward is a mentor to inner-city youth through the One Million Degrees’ program and he coaches youth sports and serves his local parish. Hemberger volunteers at Make-A-Wish Illinois and PAWS Chicago.

Ward holds an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.S. in finance from Illinois State University where he graduated cum laude. Hemberger earned her B.S. in economics with a minor in public relations from Eastern Illinois University.

Avison Young creates real economic, social and environmental value as a global real estate advisor, powered by people. As a private company, our clients collaborate with an empowered partner who is invested in their success. Our integrated talent realizes the full potential of real estate by using global intelligence platforms that provide clients with insights and advantage. Together, we can create healthy, productive workplaces for employees, cities that are centers for prosperity for their citizens, and built spaces and places that create a net benefit to the economy, the environment and the community.

Avison Young is a 2020 winner of the Canada's Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation, having retained its Best Managed designation for nine consecutive years. 

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