Managing a burst of growth in Asset Services
It’s not uncommon for commercial real estate firms to tackle a new market, where some will succeed and some will fail. What is uncommon, however, is entering a market and more than doubling the square footage of properties under management in just three months’ time. CBC Advisors accomplished this impressive feat by hiring industry veteran Rob Cord as president of asset services to oversee its expansion efforts into the West.
Cord, who has nearly 30 years of property management experience in markets throughout California, Nevada and Arizona under his belt, joined the team in August 2015. Three months later, the company portfolio expanded from approximately 7 million square feet of properties under management to 17 million square feet of managed properties. CBC Advisors also hired a new team to oversee new business throughout the Southwest.
But the real story isn’t simply that the portfolio has grown—the deeper story is how the team has managed the explosive growth with minimal disruption for clients and their tenants.
The pairing of industry veteran Rob Cord with CBC Advisors, the top-performing Coldwell Banker Commercial affiliate in the world, was a true marriage of experience and strength.
Cord’s impressive résumé includes leading teams that managed a 12-million-square-foot portfolio for Voit Real Estate, a 19-million-square-foot portfolio for Cassidy Turley, and a 14-million-square-foot portfolio for Kennedy Wilson. He also served as managing director of CB Richard Ellis Real Estate Services and Grubb & Ellis Co. Cord’s new role at CBC Advisors is an exciting one for him, he says, due to the firm’s prominence in the industry. “We have the opportunity to provide superior technology, tenant services and financial reporting for our clients as a strong, trusted advisor. Our culture here at CBC places a premium on our personnel of accountants, managers, administrative staff and brokers.”
CBC Advisors operates one of the largest Asset Services divisions in the West, with a team that boasts more than 500 years of combined experience in property management overseeing 18 million square feet of managed property throughout the Southwestern U.S. expanding from its base in the Intermountain West and Alaska. The Asset Services team oversees property management, asset management, lease administration, facilities management and project management, focusing on maximizing asset value for institutional portfolios, corporate facilities and local investors across the firm’s portfolio of properties in nine states and counting. Tenants housed in properties managed by CBC’s asset services team include a multitude of retail, office and industrial entities such as EY, Microsoft, Kraft, Nordstrom, Walmart, Zions Bank, Vivint Solar and many more.
CBC Advisors asset services holds the title of top property management company among Coldwell Banker Commercial affiliates worldwide from 2012-2014 and also in 2009. Due to the firm’s unparalleled service, its Asset Services team has a garnered a list of significant achievements, including recognition as an Accredited Management Organization (AMO), a title reserved for an elite group of property management firms adhering to strict standards.
“Maintaining the premiere Asset Services offering is of an utmost priority as CBC Advisors expands throughout the West,” says Kevin Long, COO of CBC Advisors. “CBC Advisors fully commits every available resource needed to exceed client demands.”
A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH
Each Asset Services client has unique needs depending on a variety of factors, which is why the firm avoids a onesize-fits-all approach when it comes to satisfying client requirements, says Long.
In fact, the firm has developed a uniquely collaborative approach to Asset Services. With cross-departmental collaboration, its team can meet a variety of client needs such as accounting, budgeting and capital cost planning, corporate facilities management, lease administration and renewals, and operations and engineering, construction management, financial reporting, forecasting, valuation and more.
The accounting team takes special care to create strong internal controls and lower operational costs in accordance with national financial reporting standards, says Ali Lyon, the director of accounting for Asset Services.
Lyon oversees the commercial property accounting and financial reporting duties for Asset Services, which include consolidating financial statements, preparing returns, coordinating audits, overseeing the accounting related aspects of acquisitions and dispositions, and ensuring compliance with national reporting standards and Securities Exchange Commission policies for publicly traded companies.
Lyon’s team uses leading technology in accounting software such as the Yardi Voyager 7S platform, MRI, Avid Xchange, Kardin Systems and other software platforms such as JD Edwards, Skyline Property Management and Angus Anywhere.
The success Asset Services has achieved thus far under Cord’s leadership wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation of all team members working together in unison to reach their goals, he says. In other firms, accounting and management groups would be isolated, but at CBC Advisors, they work together as one to manage and report on the activities and financial performance of each asset.
“I am fortunate to be at the helm of an organization where all our professionals, our accounting team and management teams work in unison to achieve our objectives,” he says.
THE PERSONAL TOUCH
The Asset Services team works hard to make its clients the top priority. “We place a strong priority in maintaining a delicate balance of our clients, their tenants, our employees and our service providers. Each are partners in achieving the goals and initiatives for the investments we manage,” Cord says. “When a team focuses on accomplishing their goals and servicing their clients versus having to focus on earnings per share or shareholder expectations, the result yields the return required.”
Satisfying a client’s needs and wants ultimately leads to tenant retention. Satisfied clients are more likely to pay on time and at a premium, says Cord. It also leads to renewals, referrals and repeat business.
More importantly, “when a handful of clients generates the lion’s share of the gross revenues, providing special and outstanding service to each of these clients results in more revenue from fewer clients, which increases operational efficiency,” Cord says.
Another aspect of this personal touch is CBC Advisors’ legislative advocacy and expertise. This includes recommending to clients if they should modify their standard form leases to adapt to the demands of regulatory or legislative mandates. “If a tenant and landlord elect to exist in a specific jurisdiction they both should share in the laws of the land,” Cord says. “Frequently, ordinances, mandates, regulations or legislation are passed, and the landlord takes the brunt of the costs associated with these new laws and regulations.”
From modifications to the uniform building codes to new environmental legislation, CBC Advisors directs modifications to lease contracts to reduce functional and financial impacts to its clients.
The future is bright for the Asset Services team, and Cord plans to build upon a tradition of honor, integrity and professionalism at CBC Advisors through 2016 and beyond. “We strive to exceed our clients’ goals and attend to their needs, properties and tenants,” he says. “We manage as if we own the properties we manage, and actively communicate all news, good or bad.”
These policies are just a few examples of the firm’s stalwart commitment to its clients, which can be attributed to the success of CBC Advisors as it expands throughout the West.