Case Study



Unisource Canada Inc. was formed in 1992 after a series of mergers and acquisitions. Subsequently, Unisource is now the premier Canadian distributor of printing, imaging and supply products. Its goal is to become the "Distributor of Choice" for its clients through the expertise of its associates.

The Challenge

Unisource engaged Savills for a variety of business and real estate issues to facilitate its business development plan. The plan called for converting its industrial space to devote square footage for freezers/coolers. It also sought to maximize operational efficiencies, thereby reducing its real estate costs.

With a number of significant leases up for renewal, the greatest challenge for Unisource and Savills was to balance new business while maintaining competitive lease negotiations to fund the freezer/cooler installations.


Savills Response

Savills undertook a study of Unisource's operational needs against its industrial real estate portfolio. The study focused on the markets with impending lease expirations as well as markets that required freezer/cooler installations. This study included a thorough review and audit of each lease and extensive consultation with each Unisource operations team to get a clear analysis and understanding of its business needs in order to facilitate its acquiring new business contracts.


The FLOW process led us seamlessly through the consulting phase, to the space search, to the lease negotiation, and finally to the design, construction, project management, furniture and move management phase. With the entire team involved from day one there was never a need to reiterate or repeat our mission or vision to multiple suppliers and vendors. This saved us time and money and we always knew that Savills was completely accountable, and accepted that responsibility.

Con Constandis, President & CEO, Corby Distilleries Limited

The Solution

Savills customized a competitive bidding platform for Unisource's tenancy. Its in-house engineering team developed highly technical specifications that would enable Unisource to relocate to any alternative facility. As a result, Unisource's landlords came to the negotiating table highly motivated to amend its terms regarding the existing facilities in order to maintain Unisource's tenancy.

Savills successfully renewed leases on Unisource's 240,000-square-foot head office and distribution centre in Montreal, as well as those of its 220,000-square-foot and 85,000-square-foot distribution facilities in Calgary and Winnipeg, respectively. Consulting services and additional counsel was provided on the renewal and restructuring of Unisource facilities in Vancouver, B.C. Key features of these negotiations included rent reductions, energy cost savings, and tenant incentives for freezer/coolers and lighting upgrades. In addition, Savills negotiated termination provisions to accommodate any future business needs.