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Fraser Valley’s largest real estate brokerage eyes growth

Frontline eyes commercial division, downtown Vancouver office
Amyn Bhayani, CEO of frontline Real Estate Services, plans to add a commercial division to the Langley-based firm, the largest non-residential brokerage in the Fraser Valley.

A new direction under new leadership is on tap as the Fraser Valley’s largest non-residential real estate brokerage marks its 15th year in business.

With an active business in industrial and land deals, Frontline Real Estate Services Ltd. of Langley plans to expand into commercial real estate.

“In order for us to grow the company we need to add another cylinder in the engine,” says Amyn Bhayani, CEO of Frontline.

The move into commercial real estate is a logical expansion for the firm, building on and expanding the company’s existing focus on ICI deals. To date, it has typically referred commercial opportunities to others.

“We refer a lot [of work] out to experts in that field that I would like to bring into the firm, and have a commercial division,” Bhayani explained.

The move will also set the stage for a more direct engagement with the Vancouver real estate community.

“The other ambition of ours is to plant a flag in Vancouver, in downtown,” he said. “A lot of clients are there, a lot of the developers are there, so it makes sense to plant the flag downtown and have another office, a presence in the downtown area, to be able to service our clients.”

The new direction coincides with new leadership at Frontline, which has grown significantly since its creation in 2009 by Justin Mitchell and Jordan MacDonald. It now ranks as the largest non-residential brokerage in the Fraser Valley, according to Business in Vancouver, and the 16th largest in B.C. with eight agents.

Shareholders include Mitchell, as well as Derek Senft of Tricor Pacific Capital Inc. and Danielle Reed, who headed a property marketing division within Frontline from 2011 to 2020 prior to it being spun off as White Rock’s Breakside Real Estate Group, an independent company.

“The firm is now of a size where we need professional leadership,” said Bhayani, now 53, who took the helm as CEO last November following an extensive search.

Bhayani had previously chaired Frontline’s advisory board, set up in 2015 to oversee the firm’s growth. He was selected on the strength of his experience with Colliers, where he worked with investment star Avtar Bains and helped played a key role in Colliers’ growth and transformation following its acquisition in 2004 by First Service.

“When I started with Colliers, it was doing less than $200 million in turnover. When I left it was somewhere in the region of $1.2 billion. That’s massive growth,” he said. “You see a lot of things that can help companies move in the right direction and avoid making mistakes and pitfalls.”

Bhayani helped shape Colliers’ corporate governance structure, managing relationships with shareholders and updating the company’s affiliation agreement that dated to 1996.

“The experience was fantastic,” he said of his time with Colliers “That new affiliation agreement helped bring Colliers into the modern age.”

Bhayani left Colliers in 2014, but remained in close contact with them while sharing his knowledge with Frontline and other emerging companies. He also established his own development company to pursue opportunities globally. Most recently, he undertook construction of a minihospital in Portugal for the national health care agency.

This speaks to the kind of international connections and collaborations that make sense to him.

“If we want to grow really large, I already have established contacts in key markets around the world that I can lean on and get advice from,” he said of the resources Frontline has to help it grow. “The exciting thing for me now … is to take this this company from its infancy and see where we can take it in terms of growth.”