Anticipating a coming demand for real estate-related advisory services, Savills LLC, a New York real estate investment banking firm, has set up a distressed real estate division that will assist real estate companies and lenders.

The unit will advise on restructuring and bankruptcy situations, including creditor and debtor advisory services; provide restructuring consulting services representing lenders or borrowers; advise on how to avoid bankruptcy; as well as provide valuation, structuring and strategic planning services. The Savills unit will also handle note sales assignments.

“Capital markets are in greater turmoil today than at any time since the Great Depression,” according to John D. Lyons, president and CEO of Savills. “In tumultuous times like these, it is essential to tap the services of seasoned workout specialists who bring both financial expertise and a global network of investment contacts to the table.”

R. John Wilcox II will serve as senior vice president of the team, along with Fredric J. Leffel. Wilcox has extensive experience with real estate recapitalizations, restructurings, bankruptcies, and note sales. Jeffrey W. Baker, who has more than 20 years of real estate investment banking, investment sales and capital markets experience, will serve as executive managing director.

“Savills team members have advised clients in some of the most prominent and complex real estate related bankruptcy cases in American history,” according to Lyons. These include major bankruptcy cases such as Enron, Kmart, Atlantic Gulf Communities, and Mortgage and Realty Trust.

The senior team members have been involved in execution of more than $2 billion of performing and non-performing note sales related to all the major property types, according to Savills.

The unit will also tap into Savills’ international investment base. With the help of offices located in Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Asia, Savills offers the capability to handle cross-border workout and bankruptcy assignments.