Tag Archives: corenet global

The Circuit Tempe will feature indoor and outdoor spaces designed for efficiency, density and collaboration.

Designated Drivers: Design Guides Corporate Real Estate

Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 spend nearly nine hours a day at work or on related activities, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “American Time Use Survey.” With 260 potential work days (or 2,340 hours) in a year, that’s a lot of time spent in the office. Leisure activities, on the other hand, clock in around 912 annual hours. Even with the amount of telecommuting in the corporate world, the functionality and appeal of corporate headquarters or satellite offices still matter.

This is where corporate real estate professionals — and CoreNet Global — come into play. Michelle Anderson, director of planning and development for Avnet Inc.’s corporate real estate, which includes about 400KSF of office space in Arizona, has tracked technology’s influence on Avnet’s offices. Like many other planners in corporate real estate, she is tasked with finding the balance between the financial pressures coming from the CFO and modern demands of a changing workforce and workplace. The types of buildings and upgrades necessary for labor- and cost-effective offices are not always the cheapest, though there is some consensus among the types of changes that yield the highest returns on investment.

“I would say the entire package of technology, furniture and finishes can be a good investment in the long run, depending on the type of efficiencies you are trying to achieve, space, environmental, or updating functionality,” says Anderson. “The focus should be to think flexible and keep in touch with what will come.”

New workspaces mean a new workplace mentality. The key is alignment, says Anderson.

“The workers’ demands and Avnet strategic goals can be at odds at times,” she says. “The most efficient way to navigate through those waters is through gaining trust and aligning with leadership directive and continually providing quality spaces that influence employees in a positive way.

“People understand the goal of cost savings with more efficient design. However, coupled with added amenities, vibrant spaces and more choices of working adds the energy and buzz required for success.”

There isn’t one formula for success.

“It depends on the company culture and what they want out of the real estate,” says John Pierson, JLL managing director for corporate office users. Pierson says, some tenants, like Aetna at Cotton Center, move into a space that isn’t known for its amenities, but for the lower cost option. Many clients he has toured are more concerned about the age of mechanical systems, maintenance costs and healthy work environments, than creating the live, work, play environment.

“The most humbling experience for me has been ‘if you build it, they may not come,’” says Anderson. “In terms of  designing and developing touch down and collaboration spaces this has been a work in progress. All of the furniture case studies, human physiology studies around space design and thoughtful evaluation of workspace strategies does not always equal success. What we have learned is that understanding the organizational culture even within each location can vary significantly, creative engagement and very well thought out space organizational planning and feedback from users has led us to a much higher success rate in these important spaces.”

Avnet, Anderson says, tracks revenue generation per employee as a key metric at each site. She says this allows the company to see individual performance increase with new space delivery.

In 2003, Avnet had a 29KSF office space designed with large individual workstations, 250SF to 300SF private executive offices at the exterior windows and small conference and break areas with the ratio of occupied space around 263SF per person, according to Anderson. Nine years later, that same space has benching workstations, relocated and reduced private offices that were about 100SF smaller. Additional changes included open and closed conference areas, mobile furniture, high-end audio-visual equipment, vibrant color schemes and company-provided snacks.

“The result was a space for ‘heads down’ work that also included many spaces conducive to break out and collaborating or individual privacy zones as well as achieving our real estate goal for reducing occupancy cost by 48.4 percent,” says Anderson. “By reducing the square footage per person number from 263 to 163 eliminated the need to add space to Avnet’s portfolio.”


Centrica delivers an excess of 100KSF of class-A office expandable to 140KSF.

Centrica delivers an excess of 100KSF of class-A office expandable to 140KSF.

Productive State of Mind

Companies have differing opinions on investments’ returns.

“Investing in features that improve employee well-being is money well spent,” Anderson says. “I would also add that updated finishes will add that wow factor to even to the most skeptical worker. There is not one person who is not influenced in some small way by their surroundings. We at Avnet look at total occupancy cost to drive performance improvement and lower real estate cost.”

Springing for a LEED building has been linked to a spike in productivity and fewer sick days, Pierson says. That’s one reason, Pierson says, older building constructed in the ‘80s are having a harder time getting tenants, in addition to parking ratios and outdated mechanical systems.


“Every time Phoenix builds a new building, it leases up in a heartbeat. As long as it’s cost effective, they’ll make that run,” he says.

This has led to more retrofits, particularly in the hot East Valley submarkets. In Mesa, Centrica is getting speculatively converted to a LEED standard.

“If I was a landlord,” says Pierson, “I’d gut [an old building] and open it up and makes sure it feels open. A lot of [landlords] don’t have the vision.”

This vision is a growing asset for attracting many corporate tenants who want to retain employees and save money on training as well as development of a corporate culture. It comes down to a balance between the CFO and human resources team, says Pierson. The CFO wants to lower costs and the HR team wants an environment that retains employees.

“It’s very individual for each company,” he says. “Infusionsoft in Chandler decided to buy a two-story building, cut out an 8KSF center and put in a football field but still pay for the 8KSF they removed. It’s something an Aetna would say ‘no’ to. It’s a cultural decision.”

“A lot of the big corporate users like Aetna are very involved with the CoreNets of the world and are up to date…the reality is you’re a public company and even a GoDaddy doesn’t go in and go to the extreme of an InfusionSoft,” says Pierson. “They don’t just do things that make everyone feels part of the dot com era. People got nervous when they feel like you’re wasting money.”

The tighter the workforce gets, the more competition it will bring out of employers, says Pierson.

“You’ll either pay them more or provide an environment they’ll appreciate more,” he says, citing that Silicon Valley Bank moved into Hayden Ferry Lakeside but is paying higher wages in a class-A environment. He said companies in the market are also offering perks such as aggressive stock purchase plans, which has caused retention rates to increase. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the facilities, he says. It’s about work environment.

Corporate campus

Wells Fargo is doubling its campus footprint in Chandler and initiating Workplace 2020 for its new buildings. The program is a partnership between Corporate Properties Group and Technology Operations Group that focuses on keeping workplaces efficient and effective through “enhanced experience, innovative space and right place.”

“Ultimately, we want to deliver space and technology solutions to meet team members’ needs and enable them to be even more successful,” says Leo Bauman, Wells Fargo vice president and manager of Corporate Properties Group. “Unlike the traditional office environment, Workplace 2020 stresses the importance of flexibility and choice, allowing you to seek out the environment that fits the type of work you need to do – from collaboration and meetings to head-down work and confidential conversations.”

Technology is changing the furniture landscape, says Jennifer Callahan, sales representative at KnollStudio.

“It is critical that [corporate end users’] investment in office furniture is able to support the ever evolving and changing technology,” says Callahan. “A simple example is having USB power accessible in workstation panels and ensuring that furniture is not too dedicated and inflexible to allow for the technology changes that we may not know about today.  The space needs to be able to evolve as technology morphs.”

Wells Fargo, as well as the new 2MSF State Farm campus to be located at Tempe’s Marina Heights, are among a minority of companies taking on the corporate campus model in Phoenix.

“While the Phoenix market is not made up of many headquarter locations that take space in a traditional corporate campus, we are finding end users seeking the types of amenities offered by a campus environment,” says Gensler Principal Beth Harmon-Vaughan. “The repositioning of properties such as The Circuit and 1665 W. Alameda, both in Tempe, are embracing this trend to provide creative, amenity-rich environments focused on the priorities of end users.”

This is also affected by a shift in distributed team work, adds Callahan.

“People are collaborating across geographies,” says Callahan. “We are all not in the same office. Even if we are, it doesn’t mean that we are always working in the physical office space. As employees become more mobile and teams are more distributed, it becomes important for the furniture to be flexible enough to allow distributed teams to come together.”

Office inefficiencies, such as inflexible workspaces, can cost corporate end users the most in the long run, says Callahan. This is particularly important for companies looking to reduce corporate travel costs through the use of technology.

“(GoTo meeting and Skype) are innovative ways that companies are working to drive out costs yet support their employees’ needs. It is imperative that employees have a physical space that gives them the ability to use these technologies,” says Callahan. “Collaboration fosters innovation, so having all these tools available not only reduces costs, but it can drive to innovation and breakthroughs that will be the life blood of the company,” adds Callahan.

For corporate end users looking for creative office, Harmon-Vaughan says the “most effective office environments are those which focus on the spaces with the greatest meaning to the organization’s culture and specific employee group.”

“The demands of new generations of workers are continuing to change the paradigm of planning for corporate real estate,” says Harmon-Vaughan. “The quantitative space requirements for employees, which often drive lease decisions, are only one piece of the puzzle. For a project budget to best align with a tenant’s design goals, starting with thorough programming and due diligence proves invaluable. The qualitative project drivers discovered through in-depth visioning account for implications of mobility, work/life realities and the collective amenity spaces that the changing workforce is seeking. Pressures between design goals and budgets are alleviated when stakeholders – tenants, landlords, brokers, and designers – reach an early consensus on the priorities motivating real estate decisions. We are seeing a trend of these decisions based on the design solutions which best support end users in employee attraction and retention while allowing for flexibility in their office spaces to accommodate changes in the future.”

In addition to amenities, natural light and focus/collaboration areas, Harmon-Vaughan, like Pierson, has noted emphases on health.

“Research has shown an estimated 65 percent of a company’s health related costs can be attributed to absenteeism and ‘presenteeism’ – the act of attending work while sick,” says Harmon-Vaughan. “The intersection of workplace design and well-being can reduce both.”

Pierson_John-Color compressed

John Pierson


Beth Harmon-Vaughan

Beth Harmon-Vaughan


Jennifer Callahan

Jennifer Callahan


Leo Bauman

Leo Bauman



Michelle Anderson


Rendering, planned clinical tower, Banner-University Medical Center Tucson. Image courtesy of Shepley Bulfinch.

CoreNet Global event discusses UA, Banner Health merger

The merger of Banner Health and the University of Arizona Health Network highlights the stark challenges that academic medical centers face in the new economics of healthcare, according to modernhealthcare.com.

The Banner/UAHN acquisition will be the topic of the CoreNet Global Arizona’s Annual Signature Event.

“Transforming the Healthcare Landscape in Arizona” will be moderated by Larry Lazarus, Vice Chairman of Banner Health Systems. Panelists will include Peter Fine, CEO, Banner Health; Steve Lynn, Chairman, UAHN; and Stuart Flynn, Dean, UA College of Medicine.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, April 16, at Phoenix Country Club. It begins at 3 p.m. Price is $35 for CoreNet Global Arizona members and $70 for non-members.


Developing Leaders of NAIOP set agenda

The 2015 NAIOP Arizona Developing Leaders’  calendar features educational events, a day at the ballpark and teaming up for Pat’s Run as part of its philanthropic endeavors.

Highlights include:

• Mix and mingle with the best and brightest young professionals in commercial real estate at the DL spring training game and mixer March 6 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick;

• Get acquainted with other members and learn more about where you will fit best in the organization at the roof top new member orientation mixer March 26;

• Diversify your networking with the NAIOP, CoreNet Global, ICSC and ULI mixer at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa April 23;

• Team up with fellow members for a great cause and some exercise at Pat’s Run, April 25.

 “This is going to be a great year full of opportunities to gain a deeper insight into what’s going on in commercial real estate in Metro Phoenix through educational events, community involvement, networking with other talented individuals and growing your career through this organization,” said Robert Guerena of Seefried Properties, Chairman of the Developing Leaders Steering Committee. “Look for more events to come throughout the upcoming year.”

All NAIOP members who are age 35 or under qualify to participate in the Developing Leaders program, whether they joined through the DL membership category or as part of a corporate membership.

Delivering high quality educational and mentoring opportunities while building lasting relationships and impactful philanthropic events with St. Vincent de Paul, the NAIOP DL 2015 charity, are all big parts of the Developing Leaders’ role in NAIOP Arizona, Guerena said.

For more information on joining NAIOP Arizona Developing Leaders, visit naiopaz.org/dl/.

CBRE’s Jamie Swirtz named to “Young Leaders to Watch”

Jamie Swirtz head shotCBRE broker Jamie Swirtz has been named to CoreNet Global’s inaugural “36 Under 36: Young Leaders to Watch” list.

CoreNet Global chapters from around the world nominated their top Young Leaders for the first-ever list of “Who’s Who” in corporate real estate and the honorees were recently announced and featured in the LEADER magazine’s May/June issue. Distinguishing themselves as vibrant, adaptable, technologically savvy, innovative and philanthropic, CoreNet’s “36 Under 36” represent the bright future of corporate and commercial real estate.

Swirtz began his career with CBRE in 2009. In 2011 he joined the Arizona market’s top corporate services team working under Executive Vice President Tom Adelson. That year the team negotiated 78 transactions worth $343 million and comprising ±2.6 million square feet and represented 30 different tenants in 35 leases. In 2014, Swirtz began focusing his work in the Southeast Valley (Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa) office market where he represents landlords and tenants.

Outside of CBRE Jamie is actively involved in the community. In addition to CoreNet Global’s Arizona Chapter, he participates in the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Phoenix Suns Charities.

“I’m very proud of Jamie; he is very deserving of this honor. Since starting with CBRE he has quickly made an impact on the local commercial real estate community,” said Craig Henig, senior managing director and Arizona market leader for CBRE. “CBRE prides itself on being at the forefront of the industry and professionals like Jamie, who embody our standards of excellence, ensure we will continue to maintain our position as an industry leader.”

Chris Toci will present annual Phoenix market overview

Chris TociAn in-depth overview of the Metro Phoenix real estate market including the evaluation of demographic drivers, supply and demand, and trends will be presented by Chris Toci of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona at the May event sponsored by the Arizona chapter of CoreNet Global.

The presentation by Toci, Executive Director for Capital Markets at Cushman & Wakefield, also will answer the question: What next?

The event is scheduled for Thursday, May 22, at Phoenix Country Club. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by Toci’s presentation from noon to 1 p.m. Price is $35 for CoreNet Global members and $70 for non-members and includes the program, lunch, and networking.

Since beginning his investment broker career in 1998, Toci has been a consistent top performer, earning accolades from both the local and national Cushman & Wakefield offices. In 2013 he closed on 10 investment sales totaling 1.805 million square feet for $278.8 million in consideration. He was Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona’s Top Producer of 2013.

To register, go to arizona.corenetglobal.org and click on the Arizona Chapter Events link.


Executive Q&A: Bob Gracz

Bob Gracz, vice president of corporate real estate at Avnet, Inc., took on the role of president of CoreNet Global Arizona just last year and is encouraged by the status of his platform goals to grow the membership and organization’s local activities through the instatement of new committee chairs. “I’m enthusiastic about what we’ve accomplished so far and am really excited that everyone is keeping the momentum going,” he said of his recently appointed chairs. Gracz took a few minutes out of his day to talk about the future of CoreNet Global Arizona and what the local chapter has planned for the next year.

You’ve been president of CoreNet Global Arizona’s chapter for just about a year. Looking back, what significant progress has been made with regards to your goals as a chapter president?
Primarily the main goal I wanted to accomplish was setting up a structure that allows us to grow and operate with discipline and accountability. We’ve been able to accomplish that. We’ve been able to set up a number of chair positions and define the required accountability and have the people drive themselves toward meeting goals. I’m very excited that one of the long-term goals in that structure was to create a senior advisory group. […] We recently appointed a chair of education, and we’re in the process of closing on the communications and marketing chair. […] Some of the evidence that the structure is delivering what the chapter intended to do, which was create networking and drive educational awareness to people in the local chapter, that evident by our growth and membership and more participation as local chapter associates. (See interviews with chapter chairs on page 46.)

How have your goals evolved over the last year?
It’s a journey and I firmly believe with the right structure, discipline and people — let’s face it, this is a volunteer situation so people have to be passionate — the program will be self-feeding.

What remains a core focus or concern for a majority members?
The main focus is continuous networking and learning more about how the business is evolving. You can roll the tape back 10 years and there was a lot of office space and what not and now the latest thing is all about work-remote management and companies are becoming extremely efficient at using space, and everybody feeds on that. So, you have an end-user that wants to learn more about how they can do that. You have a landlord that’s saying I need to better understand this so I can position my product to be ready now to help you. That’s really what we’re really bringing out there. It’s leading edge. It’s current time.

One of your platforms was to increase the number of meeting and training options. Have those gone into effect yet? 
We have a regular program schedule. We have about 10 programs once a month; the summer months are off-months. We have just introduced the education chair. The goal of the educational chair is to get us to the point to where we have four educational circumstances a year. Once we accomplish that, the desire will be to have at least four and one of them be one corporate CoreNet wants to bring here.

Have you seen an increase in membership?
Yes. When we first started this journey, we were at about 85. Today, we’re sitting on about 129. It’s been quite a big improvement and right in line with the metric we tossed out — 20 percent a year. I think the team’s up for it, and I’m looking for another 20 percent next year.

Who comprises a majority of CoreNet Global Arizona’s membership?
More often than not, the end-users are usually the minority. You usually have a larger broker content, but we’re having a good mixture of what I call the feeders — architects, title companies, interior design and companies that assist corporate real estate — and I think in our chapter we’re having a large success of bringing in the people who help us do our jobs.


CoreNet Global makes space in a changing workplace

To add value to a corporate end user, you have to learn to think like one.

That starts with realizing a client’s No. 1 business isn’t real estate, says Colliers International’s Bill Littleton. The executive vice president of Colliers’ corporate solution group works with six national and global corporate end users and has 25 years of experience. Yet, he remains an active member of the local chapter of CoreNet Global, an organization that serves the corporate real estate community comprised of members from the brokerage community, end users and support industries. It’s at the monthly meetings and annual summit, he says, that he really learns the needs of his clients.

“To add value, is to get involved in CoreNet Global,” says Littleton, who has been a member for more than a decade. “CoreNet is a think tank for all the trends and issues related to corporate users of space.”

Arizona Commerce Authority’s Hilary Hirsch says economic developers are seeing more companies create an internal real estate division instead of relying on a third-party source.

“This shift is due in large part to the critical value and insight that corporate real estate professionals add to a company’s overall success whether in increasing their bottom line or forecasting trends in the market,” Hirsch says.

This echoes Littleton’s point of thinking like an end user. Bringing the market trends to the table is important for brokers’ clients, but in return corporate executives can share their concerns — efficiency, for example — with brokerages as well as other CoreNet members, such as furniture suppliers.
“Leaders in the corporate real estate industry have evolved from focusing on leases and facilities management to serving as change agents, innovators, facilitators and strategic experts,” contributes Colliers’ Tivon Moffit.

Mark Singerman, Vice President and Regional Director of The Rockefeller Group, has been a CoreNet member for two years as a means of saving money.
“Knowing what issues end users face and providing cost-effective solutions are what the most successful CRE professionals do,” says Singerman, whose company has built for General Mills, Sumitomo and BASF.

Examples of useful information, Singerman says, includes rent and sale comparisons from commercial brokers, build-to-suit buildings for sale or lease to end users, general contractors for renovations and new facilities for end users.

With the big push for office efficiency and “right sizing.” there’s less need for large leasable areas. Though that means less space for Littleton to lease, the value proposition for his clients is the real gain.

“It’s like anything else, if you’re true to your cause and you don’t waiver in it, you’ll be fine,” Littleton says. “The world is changing; either change and add value or get out of the way.”

There’s may be a third option, though, suggests one corporate executive — make your own way.

While the world is changing, it helps to be ahead of the curve. Leo Bauman recalls jotting a note on a napkin 20 years ago that would take years of lobbying and research before it could be realized. Seven of Wells Fargo’s office leases were set to expire and he thought, “Why not consolidate the workforce on a centralized campus environment?” After nearly a decade of preparation, the first 410K SF Wells Fargo campus in Chandler broke ground, making way for a few thousand employees.

Ten years later, history repeated itself and Wells Fargo announced plans to double its existing presence with a 410KSF expansion — and that’s not even the half of it; the master plan calls for three more buildings that will bring the campus to 1.74M SF. Bauman, the vice president and manager at Wells Fargo, heads the Corporate Real Estate Group for Arizona’s fourth-largest non-government, non-education employer in the state. It’s his department’s job to manage the office space and utility for 85 lines of work comprised of 16,192 employees.

Bauman is a long-time member of CoreNet. Though the Wells Fargo Campus wasn’t facilitated through a CoreNet connection, many corporate executives and brokers are working closely to increase efficiency, even if that means rightsizing office space, and to accommodate the changing workplace. One of the greatest challenges, notes a recent white paper and case study published by CoreNet, is determining respective departments’ needs and how to make sure those are met in a space.

At Avnet, Inc., Bob Gracz’s role is to develop strategic positioning and help his company get most efficient use of space. The CoreNet Global Arizona’s President says the key to success in his position is about being an early adopter and having a discerning eye for trends. Gracz spearheaded Avnet’s Arizona transition to a Regus executive workplace that promoted flexible space for remote workers.

“What has evolved in the last 10 years is phenomenal, where we’ve gone from a work state where everybody is sitting in an office to literally where almost everybody is working remotely these days,” Gracz says.

“Think of what that does for productivity of the employee, think of what that does for cost management inside a company and think of what that does for quality of life of an employee.”

Avnet is also finding ways to make its existing office space versatile for different lines of work within the company through the use of technology.

“As the square footages of offices and work stations are generally decreasing, corporate institutions are definitely paying more attention to creating work environments tailored toward flexibility, mobility and associate amenities,” says Holder Construction Company’s Keyvan Ghahreman.
Regardless of innovation, corporate executives are always battling what Gracz calls the “expense scenario.”

“Everybody looks at real estate as an expense, but if you really understand how that expense is looked at in the corporate world, you can better position your strategies to be very valuable to the company,” Gracz says, adding that 70 percent of Avnet’s expenses is personnel-related.
“We only have 30 percent of expenses that are not people-expenses, so we have to manage that very well,” he says.

“We want to keep the people. We want to bring more in. I look forward to the day when it’s 80 percent.”

Gracz’s staff of three manages offices for 8,000 people. They were recently approached by Avnet to advise on increasing real estate efficiency within the company’s other regions. Gracz credits CoreNet Global’s emphasis on understanding financial acumen, among other things, to his success.

“Technology, where and how people work—the space—has changed dramatically and, more than ever, the relationship among commercial real estate, human resources and IT is fundamentally critical,” says GPE’s Michael Brinkley.

Gracz’s first Regus executive office structure five years ago was unsuccessful due to an expensive and cumbersome dynamic between his existing real estate and IT. His current adaptation, he says, is far more successful and will save $2M annually. That’s about 20 percent of the group’s facility expense — and that’s just the beginning.

Corenet’s Committee Chairs

Vice Chair of Program Committee
Holder Construction Company
What’s your committee role at CoreNet?
The Programs Committee plans and organizes the Arizona chapter’s monthly luncheons, networking events and annual signature event. The committee selects the topics for each program, develops the publicity, and promotes attendance at our events. The committee strives to relate program content to the trends within and evolution of the corporate real estate market.

What are the goals of the Planning Committee and how will they be achieved?
My goal is to continue building on our successful events, and to challenge the Program Committee members to reach into their respective industries to find the best program topics that have a high impact for our membership. With the diversity of our committee and CoreNet membership, we are fortunate to be able to leverage a broad network and talent pool in this effort.

Education Committee
Arizona Commerce Authority
What is your role at CoreNet?
The Education Committee is committed to providing corporate real estate professionals the opportunity for further education, ensuring that seasoned or new corporate real estate professionals can accelerate their careers by providing basic access to training courses that are focused on the strategic management of corporate real estate.

What are your goals in your chair position and how will these be achieved?
My No. 1 goal is to make CoreNet Global a local resource for corporate real estate professionals to gain access to programs and courses provided through the global chapter. My path to achievement will be working in tandem with CoreNet Global’s professional development team to bring accredited programs for the Arizona chapter to utilize for certifications and licenses.

Membership Committee
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
What is your role at CoreNet?
The Membership Committee is responsible for finding and retaining CoreNet members and collaborating with other committees.

What are your goals in your chair position and how will these be achieved?
Our goal for this year is to grow the membership base by 20 percent. First, our goal is to start with the existing members renewing for 2014. Historically we have a big drop off in memberships each year… so this goes back to focusing on our members in helping them get involved in CoreNet with whatever their interests may be. Secondly, is recruiting the right members. The focus and goal for CoreNet here in Arizona is to have each end-user as a member. Arizona in general isn’t a big end user market so we also focus on other industries and potential members that have some type of affiliation in CRE.

Sponsorship Committee
What is your role at CoreNet?
The Sponsorship Committee is responsible for increasing sponsorship commitments to the organization. Sponsorships are a critical component of the local chapter’s finances.

What are your goals in your chair position and how will these be achieved?
My top goal is to increase local sponsorships of the chapter. Retaining our current sponsors and signing up new sponsors enables us to have quality programming.

Young Leader Committee
What is your role at CoreNet?
To provide young leaders (35 years of age and under) with access to the knowledge and experience of industry professionals by means of establishing relationships, promoting continuing education, fostering peer networking and encouraging active roles in the community.

What are your goals in your chair position and how will these be achieved?
The Young Leaders’ Committee goals are to build relationships within the group, further advance our knowledge of corporate real estate and continue to increase membership involvement in the organization and the CRE community at large. Holding three to four Young Leader events per year will be key in achieving our goals.


Property Paradox: Space For Office Workers Continues To Decline, Even As Companies Expect Hiring To Increase


The average amount of space per office worker globally has dropped to 150 SF or less, from 225 SF in 2010, according to a recent global survey conducted by CoreNet Global, a leading association of corporate real estate managers at large companies throughout the world.

The study is part of CoreNet Global’s ongoing advocacy of quality working environments and work experiences, and the group’s call to action to measure quality of life per square foot.

At the same time, companies in the survey indicated that employment levels will increase in the second half of 2013 — triggering a “property paradox,” in which more workers are using less individual space.

The survey underscores how today’s increasing mix of workers in the office and teleworking, assigned to team and individual projects, along with the rapid emergence of space-on-demand, co-working and other “third places,” is combining to enable the balance of less space per office worker while more jobs are added.

Because of these fast-changing trends, CoreNet Global continues to advocate that companies create and implement workplace strategies that are integrated with the goals and business plans of the enterprise and that address the needs of employees and the type of work that is being performed.

Nearly two-thirds of companies responding to the survey report the average space per person is currently 150 SF or less. Slightly over half of the respondents project an average of 100 SF or less per worker as the norm in five years.

A leading factor is the monumental shift among corporate offices toward open space floor plans with fewer assigned cubes and assigned individual offices. In the survey, more than 80% of the respondents said their company has moved in this direction.

However, that trend too, may be reaching an endpoint. In the survey, 43% of the respondents say that they now have more collaborative space, than heads-down, private space where employees can focus. And that might be a problem: one-half of the respondents either agreed or said they were not sure if companies in general are over-building collaborative space at the expense of focus work and privacy (31% agreed; 19% not sure).

Also in the survey, nearly 60% projected increases in employment at their companies during the second half of 2013, only 11% projected a decrease.

“Through this survey, and anecdotally, we are hearing of a ‘collaborative space bubble,’ ” said Richard Kadzis, Vice President, Strategic Communications for CoreNet Global. “Just as we have escaped the ‘cube farms of Dilbertville,’ some employees may start to feel that the open-space pendulum has swung too far, at the expense of a worker’s ability to concentrate without interruption or distraction.”

Multiple variables come into play, including the corporate brand, corporate culture, technological capabilities of the company, nature of the work performed, and cost.

“We advocate that corporate real estate and workplace executives approach workplace management as a holistic practice starting at the C-suite level,” Kadzis added.

“Workplace strategy is no longer a singular function of real estate, but a product of taking into account the needs and demands of the business, and how real estate should work with human resources, information technology, finance and other support functions to support overall organizational planning,” Kadzis said.

The survey reveals how more than two-thirds of companies have instituted integrated workplace strategies.



CoreNet Global Index Predicts Upbeat Economic, Corporate Climates For 2nd Half Of 2013


The global economic outlook is strong for the second half of 2013, while the prospects for corporate growth and expansion are also increasing, according to the views of corporate executives surveyed in June for the new CoreNet Global Confidence Index, developed in conjunction with Dr. Roy Black, director of the Real Estate program at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta.

The index is a new macro-economic measure based on the viewpoints of corporate real estate (CRE) executives serving large, multinational companies from multiple industry sectors. The first index rating is 4.65, based on a scale of 7 with 7 representing an extremely optimistic environment. Professor Black, who led the design of the Confidence Index model, characterized its first outcome as “a classic case of corporate economic resiliency following the challenging overhang of 2009.”

According to the predictive survey, nearly two-thirds (62.5%) rated their outlook on the global economy for the coming six months as optimistic to very optimistic, compared to a year ago. Almost one-third (31.3%) were neutral on the question, with only incremental pessimism registered (4.2%).

By contrast, the World Gross Product measure of all economic growth globally shows a flat-line trend of +2.3% from last year to this year. It also projects an increase to +3.1 for 2014, making the CoreNet Global index trend a possible harbinger of future growth. In a similar way, a July 9 International Monetary Fund report cited by CNN characterized the global economy as “stuck in neutral.”

Still, executives in the CoreNet Global survey ascribed even higher confidence levels to the likelihood of their companies’ growth for the second half of 2013. A strong majority rated their confidence levels in the prospects for business expansion as optimistic (54.2%), very optimistic (14.6%), and extremely optimistic (4.2%).

One-fifth (20.8%) were neutral on the question, while less than a tenth (6.3%) expressed pessimism.

Moody’s Analytics’ chief economist recently offered supporting evidence by pointing to the strength of the private sector as the main driver of otherwise sluggish growth.

“The (US) private sector is now in a strong growth mode of 3.5% points of GDP. Consumers and business are doing their part to support the recovery,” Mark Zandi told Globe Street on July 9.

Internal corporate business factors relating directly to the size, cost and location of massive real estate and workplace portfolios provide the basis for the rating of confidence levels of the executives who directly influence the growth and contraction of corporate property holdings.

“As a leading professional association for CRE executives, CoreNet Global is projecting the demand for office, industrial and other types of corporate real estate and correlating those internal business conditions to prospects for economic and business growth that, in turn, have direct impact on the wider economy,” said CoreNet Global CEO Angela Cain.

Key findings of the first CRE confidence measure include:

>> As part of the trend reflected by the index, almost three quarters (72.4%) indicated that market entry, new products, mergers and acquisitions, and on-shoring will drive growth. Opportunities to improve cost performance by relocating are also viewed as likely growth drivers by over half of the executives responding (52.4%).

>> Most companies (72.4%) reported the likelihood that flexible, open workplace strategies will increase while space per work setting and/or work settings per supported worker will be reduced. A related driver shows that a move to higher-quality work spaces could occur (40.4%) because of poor-quality spaces that do not support contemporary work practices.

>> The availability of capital to fund real estate portfolio growth is not regarded as a limiting factor with almost two-thirds (62.6%) expecting sufficient levels of financial capacity and affordability for changing the size of the portfolio.

>> Many CRE executives (62.5%) have increased the flexibility of their lease-hold strategies, saying it’s unlikely that tenure constraints will prevent changes. One outcome is they now have the ability to trade off under-performing assets for more productive facilities on an on-demand basis.

>> Respondents also identified two limiting factors. One is surplus space, with half (50%) indicating some degree of misalignment between employment levels, unoccupied space and the growth rate of the company. Another limiting factor is continuing cost management pressure (35.5%).

The index methodology is informed quarterly by the direct polling of nearly 90 CoreNet Global Corporate Partners, comprised of an economically-diverse mix of multinational companies representing the following sectors: aircraft and aerospace; automotive; business services and consulting; consumer goods; distribution and logistics; education; energy; petroleum and mining; financial services; government; health care; hospitality and entertainment; insurance; life sciences and pharmaceuticals; manufacturing and industrial; media; real estate; retail; software; technology; telecommunications; transportation and utilities.

Corporate Partners manage real estate portfolios that typically range between 2 MSF and 110 MSF globally. The types of real estate managed are office space (84.8% of total average portfolio), industrial (34.8%), laboratories (32.6%); research and development (32.6%), data centers (39.1%), retail (26.1%), other including mixed use development (19.6%).


William Littleton & Tivon Moffitt

Two Colliers Brokers Earn Top CoreNet Global Awards

William S. Littleton and Tivon Moffitt, executives at Colliers International in Greater Phoenix, have earned two of the highest honors awarded by CoreNet Global, the world’s leading professional association for corporate real estate and workplace executives.

Littleton, senior vice president of corporate solutions, is being recognized for completing the Senior Leader of Corporate Real Estate Certificate (SLCR). Prior to earning this distinction, Littleton already achieved a Master of Corporate Real Estate (MCR) and a Society of Industrial and Office Realtors® (SIOR) designation.

Moffitt, a Colliers vice president, has secured the Master of Corporate Real Estate (MCR) designation, the industry’s most prestigious distinction.

Littleton is one of just 16 individuals honored this year with the SLCR certificate. He completed six seminars designed to enhance his business perspective, strategic approach to decision-making, financial analysis skills and leadership abilities. The seminars are designed to position participants for a greater role in their organization.

Moffitt, who was awarded with the MCR, the industry’s highest designation, participated in more than 100 hours of classroom training, two elective seminars and a capstone, followed by a graded assessment. He achieved this all within a 5-year period.

Moffitt was one of a record 146 global corporate real estate executives – representing 15 countries – to earn the Master of Corporate Real Estate designation in 2012.

CoreNet Global’s Master of Corporate Real Estate designation provides critical business skills and reflects Moffitt’s strategic competence and successful experience as a corporate real estate expert.


CoreNet Global To Host Corporate Real Estate 2020

Commercial real estate executives convene in a unique forum that will review and discuss CoreNet Global’s Corporate Real Estate 2020, a transformational research initiative envisioning the future of business and the changing nature of work.

This year-long project is a collection of global thought leadership of hundreds of corporate real estate leaders and their analysis of the current and future state of our industry. The forum will leverage CoreNet Global’s thought leadership to understand how this report applies to the Arizona corporate real estate market.

The event is scheduled for Nov. 8 at the Phoenix Country Club. Topics will include: key trends in location strategies, role of place, portfolio optimization and how technology tools are affecting the workplace.

Confirmed national speakers and panelists include:

>> Master of Ceremonies: Sunil Das, Director Workplace Transformation & Services, Intel;

>> Panel Moderator: Myra Smith, Mid Cap Strategy & Support Director, CBRE.


>> Stan Gibson, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo;

>> John Schulze, Director of Global Real Estate, Allegis Group;

>> Stephanie Pater, Vice President, Americas, American Express GBS, Global Real Estate & Workplace Enablement;

>> Charlie Popeck, LEED BD+C, O+M, President, Green Ideas (Phoenix).

CoreNet Global will also present the CoreNet Global Arizona Chapter Corporate Excellence Award to Intel Corp., recognizing its work on behalf of, and in support of, the corporate real estate industry in Arizona.

The forum is sponsored by CBRE, Rockefeller Group Development Corporation, APS, Goodmans, DIRTT and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.


2:30 p.m. – Registration and Networking

3-5 p.m. – Location Strategy, Role of Place, Portfolio Optimization, Technology Tools and the Workplace

5 p.m. – Award presentation and Networking reception

Registration: http://arizona.corenetglobal.org; $45/members $90/non-members.


First Solar

First Solar and Mesa Proving Grounds: East Valley Center for Economic Growth

CoreNet Global brought together panelists who were instrumental in the planning that led to First Solar’s decision to locate their second US manufacturing facility in the City of Mesa. On March 17, 2011, First Solar announced it was acquiring 135 acres within the Mesa Proving Grounds to build the first phase of a $300 million solar module fabrication plant, their second facility in the U.S. To meet growing demand for photovoltaic solar panels, First Solar needed construction underway in 2011, with four manufacturing lines in production by late 2012.

CoreNet Global
Tues June 7, 2011, Phoenix Country Club
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Karrin Kunasek Taylor, DMB, Exec. VP, Chief Entitlements Officer

Steve Krum, First Solar, Director of Communications
Barry Broome, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, CEO& President
Mayor Scott Smith, City of Mesa

Background: In 2006, DMB bought 3,200 acres of the former 5,000-acre General Motors Desert Proving Grounds located in the City of Mesa and previously used for hot weather vehicle testing. DMB’s acreage became the Mesa Proving Grounds: the last significant, privately-owned contiguous land holding in Metro Phoenix’s southeast Valley. The City of Mesa has actively pursued employers for their Gateway Planning Area, which includes the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, ASU Polytechnic campus, and major freeway access.

Kunasek-Taylor: Mesa Proving Grounds is unique… it is a strategic site east of the Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport which offers three runways that can land any aircraft in the world. This airport is one of the priorities of the Federal Aviation Authority for future funding. The adjacent ASU campus now has 10,000 students and plans for growth up to 30,000 students. 11% of the jobs in Metro Phoenix are in the Southeast Valley, and ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation) will soon award the contract for first phase of construction connecting the 202 freeway to the airport. Zoning for Mesa Proving Grounds future development was based upon dividing the 3,200 acres into nine development unit plans, with pre-approved densities and uses. First Solar announced in the fall of 2010 that it was hunting for new manufacturing space capable of accommodating 5,000 employees.

Krum: Why was Mesa selected, when a solar panel manufacturing facility can be located anywhere since the manufacturing process doesn’t need sun? First Solar needed immediate availability of land and a quality workforce. There was a sense of urgency and commitment by Barry Broome of GPEC, the leadership of the City of Mesa and its economic development team, and DMB had a fantastic master plan for the Mesa Proving Grounds. With manufacturing facilities around the world, First Solar has choices. But it was very clear that the City of Mesa wanted First Solar. A lot of people here were trying to help us achieve our vision. Our fastest growing market right now is the Southwestern United States. The Agua Caliente project (290 megawatt solar photovoltaic generating facility) in Yuma County, southwestern Arizona. — we want to be in close proximity to projects like that. Pacific Gas & Electric has contracted to purchase Agua Caliente’s output for 25 years. There will be more projects like this to serve California, since utilities there have to meet California requirements for alternative energy sources.

Broome: In 2007 we saw the unprecedented spike in solar — we saw an incredible opportunity for Arizona. We went after every German solar company, but lost them (locating) to states like Oregon, New Mexico, Texas and California. It’s a capital intensive industry: we’ve got to help them recover their capital, help lower their operating environmental over 10-15 years, and we’ve got to deliver talent. Most of the guys who run solar companies are ex-Intel and Motorola guys. So we put together a platform that delivered engineering, real estate, and demand. On a policy level, we removed personal property taxes for a ten year period. With this program, the state of Arizona and the city of Mesa will make millions of dollars of corporate taxes in the coming years. There are many related solar supply chain companies coming into this market – we expect to announce another 16 solar related companies in the coming 18 months. The price of solar electric power will continue dropping, as technology improves. It was 28¢/kwh; not it’s down to 14¢/kwh, and it will go lower. This means more demand for solar.

Smith: The First Solar project is a great example of how economic development should work. Companies go to places where they can succeed. Tax policy is not an end-all. State policy has to be in place. Business attraction tools are set at the state level. Barry helped create the policy level, which gave us the tools. The three key things that make a deal are infrastructure, people, and real estate. We decided this was a deal that we were not going to lose. We brought out every resource we have in the City of Mesa. We needed 1 million square feet, all entitlements, and fast tract for opening in 2012. We needed the right zoning — that’s why DMB was part of this. I’ve got to give DMB credit for being flexible and having the right vision to make this work. They did not make money on this deal. It was a giant leap of faith to make the community better. The complexity of this type of structure — power, roads, water — Mesa passed a bond issue two years ago that allowed us to accommodate this size of project. We were able to solve the problems and create a environment so that First Solar couldn’t say no. First Solar will succeed, and others will come. This truly was a team success — state, county, city and private companies.

For more information about First Solar and more, visit: