Online vet launches app for office space
June 1, 2012
By: J.K. Dineen

Over the past two years, San Francisco's downtown commercial real estate industry has been on a tear thanks to revolutionary social media and mobile application companies from Twitter to Dropbox to Zynga.

But oddly enough, one industry has remained relatively impervious to the reach of technological innovation: commercial real estate itself. ...

... He said he ended up with a broker who pressured him into a deal he was uncomfortable with, and he couldn't understand why there were not resources and technology to help tenants make informed decisions. Less than a year later the company was about to be acquired and needed 20,000 square feet and ended up signing an exclusive agreement with Studley's Matt Hart (no relation to Lisa Hart). That went a lot better.

An insular world

... Matt Hart, a managing director with the tenant specialist Studley, said that making commercial real estate more transparent will eventually help everyone. When he bought a house he had a full list of fresh comps that made it much easier to zero in on neighborhoods and properties he was interested in. Bringing a similar level of transparency to the commercial market will "make the broker's job easier because their clients will be better educated."

A challenge to CoStar?

Currently most of the information in the commercial real estate industry comes from one place: CoStar. ...

Mixed reaction

... "I think you are going to find traditional corporate real estate types resisting this movement. But as tenant reps, transparency is what we preach and deliver," said Matt Hart. "We try to educate tenants to be in the best possible position to negotiate with professional landlords."

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