A virtual online dating site for prospective tenants and office building owners is being launched in Denver by a group of Minneapolis entrepreneurs.
The founders of Crelowtout the service as a boon for tenants and landlords by eliminating broker middlemen. But real estate brokers who specialize in tenant representation are casting a wary eye at the venture.
Denver is the second market for Crelow since its launch this year in Minneapolis.
"The idea evolved out of creating a different forum for tenants and helping them find the right fit for their office space," chief executive Jim Simpson said. He describes the conventional system using tenant brokers as "broken."
How it works: Prospective tenants visit Crelow.com and fill out a form for how much space they need, desired locations, range of lease rates they're willing to pay and other details. Landlords or leasing brokers can view the information and respond with a bid.
Until this point, both sides are anonymous. If the tenant finds the landlord's bid attractive, Crelow makes an electronic introduction.
If a lease is signed, the building owner or its representative pays Crelow 15 cents per square foot per year for the term of the lease.
Jim McGrath, executive vice president and branch manager for tenant rep brokerage Savills Studley, said Crelow may serve a "niche market" of small tenants who don't need the firepower of broker representation. "Personally I don't view it as a threat at all," he said. "I think larger tenants realize that a good tenant broker brings a lot of value to a transaction in terms of helping them figure out what their needs are, what spaces are available and helping them negotiate terms of the lease..."Online "dating" for office tenants and landlords comes to Denver
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