Real Estate News & Editorial First Quarter 2015
EDITORIAL from Dan Mihalovich, Principal of Mihalovich Partners and Founder of The Space Place
In this Issue:
- Nuclear Winter. That’s When the Market Will Turn.
- My Lunch with David Stockman.
- Untapped Asset Value in Your Office Lease, Tenants. AKA The Market Wants Your Space. Give it Up!
- Office Planning Guidelines: How Much Space Should We Really Be Looking For?
- 1Q 2015 Top Leasing Transactions
- If Your Lease Will Expire Within The Next Three Years…
- Vacancy Rates: Are Your Options Fading?
- Six Brokerage Firms / 7M SqFt of Space / 430 Buildings Listed: How Do You Spell “Conflict of Interest”?
If you're in search of intelligent life in the brokerage community…please enjoy this Editorial with my compliments. And, here are the last 10 years of pearls of wisdom in our Editorial Archives.
655 Montgomery Street, Suite 1490
San Francisco, CA 94111
License # 01376000
Nuclear Winter. That’s When the Market Will Turn.
Global news be damned. The San Francisco office market is a sizzler and none of the outside influences appear to affect it. Signs of weakness elsewhere in the economy, artificially treated with “the cure” – nearly zero interest rates – manifest locally only to feed the Bay Area frenzy. Record prices paid to acquire commercial buildings; record rental rates paid, led by VC and Angel-backed tech companies; record, yet ludicrous valuations of young companies, especially those without profits and revenues; and every square foot of developable land and property in motion to capture the surge.
Other international news, ongoing and expanding wars, currency wars (the Euro, Pound, Yen, Canadian and Australian dollars have been crushed during the past year), Greece-gone-bust, sanctions squeezing our trading partners, record Wall Street penalties, $1.2 Trillion student debt, a slumping property market in China ($16B bailout this month), all deflected by the carbon-coated Bay Area. Buried on page 16 of the New York Times, AIG was just made to pay for its 2008 massive deception of investors. Just under $1B. Let’s not forget the $8.5 Trillion Fed rescue.
1Q San Francisco saw nearly 900,000 square feet of net positive absorption of space. Historically, that’s a year’s worth of absorption. Asking rental rates continue to pop as well, now hovering at $50/sf/year Citywide, all classes of space. Don’t get lost in the stats. The fact that 11 million square feet is available should give you some comfort. But it’s the pace at which deals are being made that pays the greatest dividends to landlords. Before we see any relaxation of landlord terms, we’ll see tenant demand slow to a gentle roar.
1Q San Mateo County, on the other hand, saw dismal absorption of space – only 90,000 square feet. Deal flow declined for the fourth straight quarter….yet asking rates increased to mid-$40s! Just under 6M sq ft available.
1Q East Bay (Contra Costa & Alameda Counties) was also FLAT. Net absorption was only 80,000 square feet and deal flow, like San Mateo, was its lowest in three quarters. Average asking rates are hovering around $25/sf/year.
Interesting factoid: Between San Fran, San Mateo and East Bay counties, all-told have constructed 25 MILLION square feet of new buildings since the Dot Com period. Bearing in mind the construction boom going on right now, if/when this local economy slows, things could get quite sloppy once again.
Watch for large blocks of space coming on the market. We do. During the past 30 days, new spaces indeed brought impressive new supplies:
San Francisco County: 775,000 square feet
San Mateo County: 1,130,000 square feet
East Bay (Alameda & Contra Costa Counties): 800,000 square feet
Marin County: 85,000 square feet
My Lunch with David Stockman.
OK, so there were other people in the room that day, attending the Luncheon Society gathering for our speaker, David Stockman. Formerly the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, we put politics aside and sat down next to one another to hear about his new book. The latest? Warning alarms about over-leveraging the economy:
YTD corporate bond issues total $241 billion. An annualized run rate of $1.4 Trillion or nearly 2x the rate before the financial blow-off in 2008. All of this debt issuance has made its way to the stock market. During the month of February alone, stock buybacks for the S&P 500 were a record $104 billion.
Total corporate and non-corporate business debt outstanding has been on a tear since late 2007. Back then, business credit outstanding totaled $11 trillion. That has now ballooned to $14 trillion. So disregard the propaganda about post-crisis deleveraging, it’s been full steam ahead with debt issuance in the business sector.
The lion’s share of that $3 trillion has gone to financial engineering including trillions of stock buybacks during the last six years. By contrast, business CapEx has been tepid at best, and a downright disaster in reality.
During Q4 2007 the annualized rate of business spending on plant and equipment totaled $1.447 trillion in constant dollars. Seven years later in Q4 2014—after massive monetary stimulus and cheerleading about a rebound in CapEx—– the figure was $1.496 trillion annualized.
During Q4 2007, real net investment after capital consumption in the US business sector was about $400 billion annualized. By contrast, during Q4 2014 the comparable number was about $300 billion.
Real net investment in the US business sector is now 25% smaller than it was before the crisis; and before it was “solved” with massive money printing, false interest rates at the zero bound and the explosion of corporate borrowing that resulted therefrom.
The Fed has grown its balance sheet by 9X since 2000, but real net investment in the business sector has plunged by 33%!
Untapped Asset Value in Your Office Lease, Tenants. AKA The Market Wants Your Space. Give it Up!
The majority of you, tenants, are sitting on office leases with asset value -- not liability. Current market rates in and around San Francisco far exceed whatever rental rates you committed to 3-5-7 years ago.
The questions are:
(a) What is the value?
(b) How do we leverage that value going forward?
This is a great opportunity to assemble your core leasing Team -- led by your tenant-representation broker (our sole specialty) -- to review your lease document to confirm your existing rights; explore your company's spatial aspirations for the next 3-5-10 years; discuss your financial wherewithal to achieve those aspirations vis a vis current market opportunities; and juxtapose your remaining leasehold asset value versus those market (or early renewal) opportunities.
The Asset Value
- In San Francisco, where direct space rates are generally exceeding $55-$60/square foot/year, your under-market fully-escalated rates (including your landlord's pass-through increases for taxes and operating expenses) establishes the starting point for discussions.
- Don't forget to address any unamortized improvements you may have financed from the inception of your lease.
- Consider your lease's Assignment/Subleasing net-profit split to be shared between yourselves and your landlord -- likely a 50/50 split for most of you, after first deducting your reasonable transaction costs.
- Confirm any "recapture rights" given to your landlord, which would allow the landlord to terminate your lease as to that space -- or your entire Premises -- you may wish to assign/sublease…..which could scrub any profits for your account.
- If considering a sale or other transfer of ownership of your company, confirm any rights given to the landlord which could trigger recapture….and the potential loss of profit.
- We may advise a consultation with your real estate counsel to affirm your rights prior to entering any negotiations.
Leveraging Your Lease Asset Value
- The bidding war to acquire buildings is intensely hot in and around San Francisco. Underwriting requires a crystal ball pointing to significantly higher rental rates than today. So, the prospect of your space becoming vacant represents a huge opportunity for your landlord to rake it in when you renew -- or turn over your space. Under current market conditions, it would literally pay the landlord to buy you out of your lease right now.
- If your landlord refuses to engage with you prior to the normal advance period, you may leverage the conversation by putting your space on the market for sublease. In this tight market, even short term subleases are faring well -- compared with direct space pricing. Salesforce, for example, is beginning its consolidation into its core buildings…..and subleasing other large blocks of short-term space for $60+.
- If what's driving you into the marketplace early is the need to expand, consider tying a lease assumption to your acquisition of new space. Since your current space is under market, allow the new landlord to assume your positive-asset-lease as a means of capturing your much larger tenancy at the new building.
- If your renewal or relocation is essentially a lateral decision – committing to the same square footage -- consider talking with us about the variety of strategic space decisions which could make an early decision most compelling. Think about consolidating your space; separating Operations from everyone else; relocating people to areas outside San Francisco; or wiring your employees to encourage telecommuting/hoteling.
If your lease expiration is coming up and your landlord is considering selling your building, let's talk. Buyers can be irrational, meaning that some would actually prefer to have your space sitting vacant at purchase time rather than having your renewal commitment -- along with the creditworthy substance of your well-aged tenancy.
Office Planning Guidelines: How Much Space Should We Really Be Looking For?
By Ned Fennie, Jr.
At the onset of a search for office space a real estate broker will invariably want to know right away, how much space will be needed by the prospective tenant. If you have been through this before estimating the right amount of space required for a new facility can be tricky. Leasing too much space and cash flow can be hobbled by an excessive rent payment and under-utilized space, too little space and staffing growth will be limited. This may result in the need to relocate, prior to your lease expiration - potentially a very expensive exercise. Adding the architect to your leasing team early in the leasing process to develop reliable space requirements (before you begin looking at potential lease spaces) can make all the difference in leasing the proper size and type facility for your company.
If you are the owner of the company, an experienced architect will arm you up front with all the crucial information, so you can confidently make the correct strategic real estate decisions for your firm. This will save you precious time and effort...and ultimately money. Having this information in hand when you begin looking for space will allow you to pre-screen potential lease spaces and quickly zero in on only those spaces that really meet your long term business goals. The overriding goal is to make sure that when the dust settles your new space not only meets your functional requirements, but where your employees love coming to work every day.
If, on the other hand, you are the person responsible for finding facilities for a larger organization, you know that relocating your corporate offices, or opening a new branch office can be a very challenging experience, one that will demand the most from you and your team.
You will want the transition to the new location to be as painless as possible for all involved, users and management alike. Your real estate team should help you get moved in on-time while avoiding any bumps along the way. This is best accomplished by having a clear program requirements of the space and functions early on, and this is best collected by a professional architect with a track record of creating successful spaces. This space program information will assure you there are no surprises for upper management and provide them with a clear picture of the size of the office being considered, as well as the projected headcount that can be accommodated at this particular site.
The first step an architect will usually take is to derive a baseline of your existing facilities. This analysis should look at numbers and types of spaces, room/space sizes, utilization rates, etc. The space requirements for the new location would then be checked against this baseline. The next step is to develop the data for the new requirement. This can be accomplished in a number of ways including staff surveys, discussions with user groups, and interviews with principals or group leaders, or another method which fits your culture and organization. This data should also be validated to ensure there is alignment with the company goals (both in the near term and in the future). The architect will collect all this information and carefully analyze trends in your space allocations and your cultural and functional organization.
This information should be formally presented back to you in a report format which can be quickly reviewed and endorsed by management, and then passed along to your leasing agent. The space program report should document both the quantifiable aspects of the new office, as well as the more subjective or qualitative goals for the architectural design and/or cultural determinants. Once this report is approved, your broker can then quickly develop a short list of the building spaces which potentially meet your needs as spelled out in the report for review by you and your architect.
IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER
There are metrics which are invaluable for analyzing the efficiency of any office space, both existing and planned spaces. These metrics form the yardstick which you will need to measure the potential candidate spaces and layouts. Your architect will assist you in the analysis of your current space and the plan(s) for your new space. These numbers usually take the form of a series of ratios and the most common ratios are listed here. There are others which would apply to your specific workflow and functional organization; and where applicable, these will be identified and tabulated by the architect.
Gross Density Ratio
One ratio which can be helpful is to determine your current Usable Square Feet per person ratio. While this will give you a general idea of the density of your existing space, if you are considering a significantly larger or smaller workforce, extrapolations using this ratio can be misleading, as not all rooms or spaces grow or shrink proportionally. For example, the amount of space dedicated to support areas and rooms, such as data rooms or copy/mail areas is not usually directly proportional to the number of private offices or individual workplaces. Additionally, if you plan to adjust the office to individual workplace ratio in the new office, this will change your gross density ratio. Typically this ratio ranges anywhere from 135 USF/person (and lower) for densely planned, larger, all open offices with dense benching systems and up to 325 USF/person for small, private office intensive service firms with frequent in-office client/visitor meetings.
Enclosed to Open Ratio
This is the number of staff in private or enclosed offices compared to those in systems furniture, open office cubicles, or benches. Generally enclosed offices take up more space on a per person basis, so this ratio can have a direct impact on total space required. This ratio can also will have a big impact on the corporate culture and it can affect how your firm is perceived in the marketplace by both clients and potential candidates for hire. Law firms, large accounting firms and some management consulting firms generally have a higher private office ratio than average, whereas applications development, emerging technologies companies and other horizontally managed firms tend to favor a more open office environment with a lower private office ratio (with some firms forgoing private offices altogether!). Both approaches are valid for the respective organizations and depend on many factors within the company's culture and workflow. Security, communication between staff, levels of hierarchy in management and other cultural factors all play a role in the definition of this ratio. This should be considered carefully before locking in the desired size of a lease space for consideration.
Group Work Ratio
The ratio between number of staff served by each group work area (whether enclosed or located within the open office zones) is another metric for programming a space requirement. Firms operating in predominantly open office environments tend to need more spaces for group meetings between staff, both for small personnel meetings, as well as large team or group meetings. This ratio can range from 1 group work area for every 10 employees in an all open office environment to 1 group work area per 20 employees in a private office-rich environment. This ratio should be carefully considered and your architect can guide you to an appropriate ratio based on discussions with management. And determining how many of the group work areas should be acoustically enclosed will depend on your cultural factors as well, but at a minimum half should be enclosed rooms. Once the group work/individual ratio is established, the architect will then be able to recommend an appropriate number of conference rooms, team rooms, or other spaces and the resultant space requirements.
Room to Move
At first glance it may appear simple to just list all the spaces needed, along with their respective sizes and arrive at a total square footage requirement; however, additional space should be allocated to account for hallways and circulation paths within your space. This can vary dramatically depending on how efficient a layout that can be accomplished within a given building footprint. This added space is commonly referred to as the circulation factor.
For example, the dimension between the outside wall of the building and the interior building core rooms (toilet rooms, elevator shafts, etc.) should allow for a pathway to give access to one or more rooms on each side of the circulation path. A narrow lease depth dimension here will likely mean only one side of the hallway (referred to as “single loaded”) will serve the rooms and the circulation factor in this type of area will be higher. Where this dimension is adequate to serve rooms on either side of the circulation pathway (or “double loaded”) this area is more efficient and will have a lower circulation factor. Usually for early planning purposes this factor is established at 30-40 % of the planned office area. Once again, the enclosed office/workplace ratio will affect this number, but your architect should be able to help you determine the appropriate ratio for your organization.
SIZING THE ROOMS
Here’s where most people start listing the numbers of staff and their respective spaces. How big to make the spaces naturally will affect the overall square footage, so care must be taken to size the rooms appropriately for the given activity. Listed below are some of the more common rooms in an office environment. The actual room size is a function of many factors, and they should be reviewed with your architect to determine the appropriateness for your operations.
An office of 20’x15’ can easily accommodate a senior executive desk, credenza, a conference table for 4 people and lounge seating for 2-3. This size is not uncommon for the CEO’s office in small to mid-size companies
An office of 15’x15’ can include an executive desk and credenza, a conference table for 3-4 people and either a bookshelf or a small sofa for 2-3. This size is what we normally find for senior management of mid-size firms.
The 10’x15’ office is very prevalent these days and can fit a mid-manager desk and return, two guest chairs and a bookshelf.
Some offices at the smaller end of the spectrum are 10’x12’ or an even smaller 10’x10’. At this size a regular size desk and return are possible along with two guest chairs.
Individual Workplace Sizes
These vary greatly depending on the systems furniture manufacturer’s panel and work surface modules, panel thicknesses, clustering capabilities, cubicle or bench style. There is a trend to move towards a denser bench arrangement in lieu of the more traditional cubicle. This can provide for higher headcounts on any given floor, but comes with other design challenges. Depending on the type of work the width allocated per person on a bench can vary from as low as 4' to 7'~8', with most technology companies opting for 5' per person. The depth of the individual bench space is dependent on the style and depth of the workcounter, but allowing a minimum of 7' should be sufficient.
Older style cubicles vary in size as well with popular sizes of roughly 8’x10’ for middle managers or engineers with multiple computer systems; 8’x8’ for engineers or senior staff; 8’x6’ for general staff; and 6’x6’ for administrative or telephone support personnel. Your firm will likely vary somewhat from these sizes, but the module areas in square feet will most probably be similar. Once again your architect is the best person to guide you to a reasonable module standard.
Group Work and Conference Rooms
The appropriate size for an enclosed Group Work or Conference room depends on a multitude of factors (i.e., Audio Visual needs, maximum group size vs. typical group size, frequency of use, video and tele-presence requirements); however if you allocate 20-25 USF per seat in the early planning stages you will be allowing sufficient space which can then be fined-tuned in the Space Planning or design phase later on. Open casual work areas are similar in size although the furniture is likely very different. Planning 20-25 USF per seat should be adequate to accommodate these areas.
Rapidly growing firms and companies dedicated to keeping their staff current with the advances in technology are usually committed to the ongoing training of their employees (and many times these firms will do on-site training of their clients’ staff as well), therefore the space program should include allocation of space for in-house training rooms. If you plan on having lecture-style seating allow 20 USF per person. If your training involves people seated at mobile training tables allow 50-60 USF per person. (Depending on the frequency of use, you might consider renting off-site facilities which can then be paid for on a per use basis, in lieu of burdening your real estate overhead. This should be discussed with your architect and broker prior to committing to a lease.)
AVOIDING COMMON PITFALLS
Your architect and broker form an important team in the leasing process. Optimally they should have a track record of working together to get you the best space possible for the least rent commitment. They will provide all the assistance you will need to find an appropriate space to lease on your terms. But there are some things which you should consider so that you are not caught off-guard as you are reviewing potential lease spaces.
Usable Square Feet versus Rentable Square Feet
Your architect will normally calculate your need based on Usable Square Feet (USF) as defined by standards established by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). Depending on the building and the nature of your occupancy (retail, full-floor or multi-tenant floor) a load factor multiplier will be applied by the landlord to the square footage you actually occupy in your space or the USF. When the USF is multiplied by this factor the result is a Rentable Square Footage (RSF). This load factor accounts for your pro-rata share of the Common Area in the building that you share with other tenants (i.e. building lobbies, corridors, toilet rooms, etc.) The RSF is typically what rent rates are quoted on, so when communicating your space needs to your broker be clear that your needs are calculated using USF. The broker will then adjust for the correct RSF amount depending on the building and the respective load factor. This load factor is important when comparing buildings as it can vary significantly and because it is the basis for the rent calculation it goes directly to the bottom line.
Allow For Enough Growth
It usually is hard to plan accurately for growth, but sometimes good indications can be derived from department budget projections, headcount projections, hiring histories and other market indicators. Usually some additional space needs to be included to plan for this growth. Optimally the new space should be sized to accommodate all the staff projected through the midterm in the lease, e.g. 30 staff are expected at move-in and your firm expects grow to 50 by the end of the lease, then ideally you should plan a space for about 40 people. Also, if you reconfigure teams often you should allow for additional space that will be needed for staging the moves.
Allow For Mobile Workers
Many firms are embracing a more mobile workforce and are changing the type of office facility to support the staff members that do not sit at headquarters on a daily basis. Allowing for additional "touchdown" areas, storage lockers, additional meeting rooms, larger food service, etc. may be required to support these drop-in workers.
Adjustments when Densities Soar
Many technology firms are pushing the limits on how dense an office can be laid out. The holy grail is to ensure a dense layout to support higher levels of collaboration and rapid iteration of work products. But this comes with a host of issues. Many buildings were not planned to support densities higher than 1/150 USF. Building cooling, electrical capacities, toilet facilities can be highly taxed and user complaints will escalate unless these systems are upgraded to meet the higher demand. Good acoustic performance can suffer as well, especially when open ceiling areas are part of the design of the space. When moving into a higher density environment your architect should advise you on good systems and treatments in the planning stages, and adequate wall and ceiling treatments should be included in build-out budgets to avoid noise problems that can affect employee satisfaction and productivity.
When high density benching is part of the plan accommodations should be made to increase the number and type of alternative workplaces within the facility. A good rule of thumb is to make sure there is a 1:1 seat ratio of individual workplace (e.g. bench workplace) to alternative workplace, be it a conference room seat, open group work area seat, phone room seat, lounge seat, etc. This allows staff to self-select another location within the office to work depending on the task at hand, or when things just get too frenetic at the bench location.
STEPS IN SPACE PROGRAMMING
Select an architect with the right skills early on
• Make sure your selected architect understands your culture, business goals and workflow and has the expertise to guide you through the programming process. This will ensure you have an accurate heads-up picture of your space requirements.
Collect Relevant Data
•Assemble any Organizational Charts, Headcount Projections, Furniture and Equipment Inventories, As-built Floor Plans of Existing Space, CADD Files, etc. This can greatly assist your broker-architect team in determining a meaningful estimate of the required area.
Adjust for Changes in the Culture - Allow for Flexibility
•Now is the time to make sure you plan for the necessary space to foster productivity in the new office. Make sure your firm has sufficient space to adjust easily to market forces.
Calculate Growth Space
•Include room for a reasonable amount of growth in your staff. Usually you can’t grow revenues without some increase in staff.
Do Test Fit Plan(s) for Targeted Building(s)
•Have your architect do Fit Plans and check layouts of typical floors or areas to confirm density ratios, furniture and office module compatibility. This will allow you to uniformly compare the various potential spaces from both a design, as well as an efficiency standpoint.
•Don’t get caught rushing. A mistake in this early preplanning stage will most likely mean you’ll soon be going through the process all over again.
A little upfront analysis and planning, through the help of a seasoned architect with experience in office planning, can go a long way in laying the necessary groundwork for a smooth transition to your new office. Assuming your architect has performed the proper analyses and documented accurately your needs for the new office, you can be assured that ultimately your new company home will be a good fit for your organization. This way the subsequent phases of design and construction will go more quickly while avoiding unnecessary surprises. And best of all your staff will be delighted to come to work!
About the Author
J. Edgar “Ned” Fennie Jr. is co founder of FENNIE+MEHL Architects located in San Francisco. FENNIE+MEHL Architects specialize in office development with expertise in space planning, interior architecture and ADA and code compliance consulting.
Ned is also Chair of the Code Advisory Committee to the San Francisco Building Inspection Commission. The Code Advisory Committee (CAC) consists of 17 members who are qualified by training and experience to deliberate and make recommendations on matters pertaining to the development and improvement of the content of the San Francisco Building Code, Mechanical Code, Electrical Code. Plumbing Code, Green Building Code and Housing Code as well as related rules and regulations or proposed ordinances that the Director of the Building Inspection Department determines may have an impact on construction permits. Specific recommendations of this Committee are directed to the Building Inspection Commission for their further action.
Use Griddig’s FREE Calculate tool to get a real-world view of your total space requirement before you search for space.
1Q 2015 Top Leasing Transactions
|172,000 sq. ft.|
|129,000 sq. ft.|
|3||First Republic Bank
|103,000 sq. ft.|
|72,000 sq. ft.|
|61,000 sq. ft.|
San Mateo County
1800 Bridge Parkway, Redwood City
|50,000 sq. ft.|
155 Constitution Dr, Menlo Park
|48,000 sq. ft.|
700 Saginaw, Redwood City
|42,000 sq. ft.|
2755 Campus Dr, San Mateo
|28,000 sq. ft.|
East Bay Counties (Alameda/Contra Costa)
4440 Rosewood, Hacienda Bus. Park
|149,000 sq. ft.|
2100 Powell, Emeryville
|48,000 sq. ft.|
|3||Amethod Public Schools
1450 Marina Way South, Richmond
|47,000 sq. ft.|
2589 Samaritan Medical Center
|74,800 sq. ft.|
3965 Freedom Circle
|73,088 sq. ft.|
7250 Redwood Blvd, Novato
|13,000 sq. ft.|
If Your Lease Will Expire Within The Next Three Years…
or if there is another compelling reason to discuss your firm's office leasing situation, please call us. For qualified tenants, we offer the following pre-contract services:
- Free preliminary office lease and operating expense review;
- Free consultation to discuss project management, Team formation and project schedule;
- Market surveys and our specific tenant-driven leasing recommendations ; and
- Assistance in selection and coordination of all Team members throughout planning and negotiation phases.
Vacancy Rates: Are Your Options Fading?
Tenants should watch carefully to detect how and to what extent your field of options changes. Which size blocks of space are getting leased? Discussing vacancy and absorption rates can be confusing to some. What language makes sense to tenants? Tenants ask, "Tell me about my specific options. How many choices do I have?" Are your options fading, as a result of leasing activity? Review the chart, below, and let's discuss.
|HOW MANY BLOCKS OF SPACE ARE AVAILABLE FOR YOU?||San Francisco County||San Mateo County||Santa Clara County||East Bay Counties|
|5,000–9,999 sq. ft.||277||244||Call us for more info|
You can request a free space survey, containing all direct and sublease space meeting your specific requirements. We can also provide building photographs, floor plans, leasing histories and more. To discuss your space needs in person, call 415-434-2820 or email dan@TheSpacePlace.net.
Six Brokerage Firms / 7M SqFt of Space / 430 Buildings Listed: How Do You Spell “Conflict of Interest”?
When we approach a prospective new tenant client, we tell them that we NEVER represent landlords, always avoiding this conflict of interest. So, which of our competitors — leasing firms — do the most landlord representation? Who's marketing 70% of the space in San Francisco?
The top companies controlling the most space available are NOT landlords….Rather, they are office leasing brokerage firms acting with the landlord's interest in mind. They are:
Cushman & Wakefield
Newmark, Cornish & Carey
These brokerage firms control over 70% of all listings and are beholden to 400 local landlords, paid to drive up rental rates and drive down concessions for tenants.
Since their allegiance is committed to so many landlords, how can they possibly represent YOUR interests—the tenant's interests—objectively and aggressively?