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The real-estate maven

Arlin Markowitz, BA 03
November 6, 2023
By Richard Burnett, BA 88

Portrait of a serious-looking, clean-shaven man with short black hair. He is wearing a business suit with a white shirt and blue tie.

As one of Toronto’s premier urban-retail specialists, Arlin Markowitz has represented many of the world’s most recognizable brands, personally executing more than $1 billion in investment sales and lease transactions.

At CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real-estate services and investment firm, Markowitz is the executive vice-president of Toronto’s Urban Retail Team, which he founded when he joined the company in 2015.

He has placed Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo, Zegna, Equinox, Holt Renfrew Men’s, MCM, COS, Brooks Brothers and Lululemon in some of the country's most coveted addresses, and has assisted international brands, including Muji, on their entry into the Canadian market.

But Markowitz says his greatest accomplishment is family: “I love my wife of 14 years and our three wonderful children aged 11, 10 and seven.” 

Proudest moment

“In 2022 I received the award for being one of the top 10 brokers in Canada at CBRE.”

Career moment

“In the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood of Toronto over the past three or four years, I was able to assemble the sale of five buildings that were next to each other with three different owners, which was really complicated and took a long time during COVID.”

Career challenge

“My salary is zero. You can make lots of commissions and have a great year. But every January 1, you’re back to zero.”

The Concordia factor

“I was a member of Hillel, the Jewish campus organization, which really shaped my experience at Concordia. I think the dialogue that can be born in those situations is very good.”

Career advice

“You’ve got to put in the work, especially during your 20s and 30s. That means taking less time off, working late and being the first one in early in the morning. It’s not rocket science. It’s just hard work.”

Industry projections

“I’ve seen a big resilience in my retail-leasing business. People want to be around other people and still want to go out to the mall and go shopping on the main streets of our great cities.”

Giving back

“I volunteer with an organization called Yad Vashem which has one of the most extensive Holocaust museums in the world, in Jerusalem. My grandparents survived the Holocaust and came to Canada in the early 1950s, so it’s very meaningful work for me.”

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