Member Spotlight

Amanda Neal, Partner & Executive Vice President at Devencore Victoria

For our March 2020 Newsletter, we asked Amanda about  Devencore Victoria, about Victoria’s commercial and industrial markets, and a bit about her life outside of work.

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Can you briefly introduce yourself and Devencore Victoria?
Partner and Executive Vice President with Devencore Realty Victoria. I have 15 years experience in Commercial Real Estate sales, leasing, and advisory services. Consistent top performer in the Victoria Region. Devencore is a real estate brokerage with a solid reputation for integrity and service excellence. We have been offering commercial real estate services since 2001. It’s a locally owned company, and one of 10 Devencore offices in Canada, benefiting as well from a partnership with Transwestern (and affiliate BNP Paribas) internationally.

What is the secret to Devencore’s success in Victoria?
We are experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated to the success of our clients. We work hard and operate in a collaborative and cooperative manner that serves our clients best interests without compromising our commitment to the highest professional and ethical standards.

What is the most challenging part of your job, and what do you love most about it?
People and people. 😉
I also love that I feel connected to the community and enjoy meeting interesting people and learning about the businesses that they operate.

What is driving retail demand in the region?
Downtown street front and suburban shopping centre vacancies decreased last year, as a result in part to strong economic conditions as well as our increasing population. Demand is largely focused on personal services, pharmacy, fitness, food and beverage, and similar uses that are less impacted by e-commerce. Big box retailers continue to perform well in Greater Victoria (i.e. Costco, Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire), but with more and more customers shopping online and requesting delivery options, even those retailers are needing to adapt to changing requirements for pick-up / delivery etc.

As demand for flexible work spaces and built in amenities grows, what do you see happening with older office buildings?
Older office buildings are being improved to meet the demands of office tenants as needed, including flex office and coworking businesses who have taken space in older buildings. Older office buildings can offer tenants premises with loads of character, affordable rates, and prime locations within the City. Although, they may not benefit from the same amenities on-site, often they are situated nearby. Some buildings may be repurposed if it’s not cost prohibitive to do so, but demand has been strong in recent years, so most premises have been absorbed by both the private and public sector.

How have you seen the industrial market adjusting to the limited land available in the core?
Unfortunately, it’s not just the downtown core. It’s a challenge to find industrial space and land from Sidney to Sooke. With very few options available, businesses have had to expand their georgaphic boundaries in which they will consider locating. Some have had to adjust their growth plans in the region as they search and wait for suitable land / premises.

What do you believe is the biggest challenge for new brokers to get into the industry, and what advice do you have for them?
Victoria is a relatively small market that can take time to get established. The biggest challenge is finding someone to mentor new brokers and give them the experience and knowledge needed to service clients appropriately. My advice would be to be patient and take the time necessary to gain the experience and market intelligence to ensure that you’re well equipped to market, negotiate and represent clients accordingly.

What do you love most about living in Victoria?
There seems to be a greater focus on lifestyle and health and wellness. It feels like a small town but offers diverse  opportunities and amenities that one would generally find in a larger City. It’s beautiful here.

When you’re not working, what are your favourite activities?
Beach, boating, walks, reading, wine, eating.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I have three daughters (ages 6, 4, and 2) and hiked to base camp Mt. Everest (not with my three daughters)