Since its inception in 1906, Buildings magazine has recognized the companies, organizations, and departments that have helped define the commercial and institutional buildings industry. The annual Who's Who in the Buildings Market report - created in the early 1980s - spotlights the success stories of the year by recognizing organizations that have distinguished themselves through their projects and processes with passion and enthusiasm, as well as with flexibility and great aptitude. Revenue success is, of course, an essential element, but sometimes the freshness and agility of a smaller firm (based upon revenues) can influence an industry into something beyond calculated risk-taking.
The A List represents a multitude of hours of research, discussions, and knowledge seeking among industry professionals. The Buildings Census is delineated by industry segment and offers stats and facts (many of which have been provided from the organizations) from several of today's big names in the business.
Is your organization missing from The A List or the Buildings Census? Don't hesitate to contact the Buildings editorial staff at (319) 364-6167 about your company's activities and initiatives. We'd love to include your information in the future.
The A List
The editorial team at Buildings recognizes its annual "top 25 organizations to watch" (industry leaders in real estate ownership/development, management companies, corporate real estate departments, institutional owners, and government agencies). Undaunted by their portfolio sizes, whether large or relatively small, the professional organizations selected for The A List this year are characterized by their entrepreneurial approach to the business of buildings.
Not surprisingly (although a marked divergence from the report in previous years), the majority of players featured in The A List are companies whose core competency is building development, ownership, and management. What sets them apart from their corporate, institutional, and governmental peers is their ambitious commitment to operational excellence, business metrics, and sustainability - no conservative approaches here. In fact, accomplishing today's bottom-line goals comes with awareness - and assurance - that tomorrow will require even more steadfastness and allegiance to raise the bar yet another notch.
Will they do it? Yes, because each one recognizes that this vital industry is at the brink of new directions, new leadership, and new opportunities.
This year, we feature the following industry leaders (listed here in alphabetical order):
The A List 2007, developed by the Buildings editorial staff, is a subjective record and is based upon industry interviews, questionnaires, and published information: 10K reports, company websites, industry-related reports, Hoover's Online, and other published and electronic materials. While every attempt has been made to make The A List and the Buildings Census as complete as possible, Buildings cannot guarantee the accuracy of all information. For companies interested in participation in 2008, please contact the editorial department at (319) 364-6167.
Jones Lang LaSalle
With 2006 revenues of more than $2 billion, industry leader Jones Lang LaSalle has a history of forward thinking - and propelling such insight into action. Somehow, this globally integrated firm has combined the expertise and buying power of a big company with the agility and entrepreneurial spirit of a much smaller one. Wherever they're located throughout the organization, Jones Lang LaSalle professionals report to the same ownership and management structure: The result is the ability to combine complementary services and consistently deliver a comprehensive range of fully integrated services to clients. Simply stated, it just works.
Knowledge supports the company's businesses and services. In fact, for years, Jones Lang LaSalle has made a significant investment in comprehensive, top-down and bottom-up research to guide real estate and investment strategy development. Its Global Research Committee oversees and coordinates the activities of more than 150 research professionals who cover market and economic conditions in 36 countries around the world. Using an extensive database, the company provides investors, developers, and occupiers with the best analytical tools available to identify and maximize property opportunities.
Two key elements place it firmly at the top of The A List this year. First off are the company's environmental initiatives (particularly, its aim to develop leading standards and improvement practices in its own offices and then to help clients do the same in their own real estate). The second (which ties into the first) is the organization's solid commitment to studying, adapting, and then implementing Six Sigma and its applicability to real estate.
In 2003, knowing that they wanted to distinguish the organization even more by creating intrinsic value to their clients, management at Jones Lang LaSalle began a process-improvement program. Rather than starting from scratch, the firm wasn't afraid to ask its clients about their own Six Sigma practices; then, it literally embraced that advice. And, yes, there was some internal resistance to the idea that real estate delivery could be "mechanized" ... at least at the beginning. But, fact-based decision-making (vs. perception-based decision-making) was clearly the course that Jones Lang LaSalle sought (and diligently pursued) in order to provide customers with reduced cycle times, increased quality, and reduced costs. It has been a success.
As it continually raises the bar on such process improvements, Jones Lang LaSalle is taking the lead again in addressing all areas of the environment. The company's environmental goals include the following:
- To reduce the environmental impacts of its business operations.
- To deliver the best possible solutions to its clients.
- To drive leadership and innovation on industry issues.
- To train employees to deliver improvement internally and for its clients.
- To meet or exceed the requirements of environmental laws and regulations.
As a company, Jones Lang LaSalle is committed to protecting and preserving the natural environment by consigning resources and setting targets that continually improve environmental performance. The company encourages its employees, contractors, and agents to make the success of this policy part of their goals as well.
In the end, Jones Lang LaSalle emphasizes that it's a client-focused company. By making investments in people, research, technology, and knowledge, the company believes that it's not only helping to create and expand enduring client relationships, but that it's also ensuring stronger service capabilities.
Another testament to its success is its recent recognition by Fortune and Forbes magazines. It is the only real estate money management and services firm named to Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" and Forbes' "400 Best Big Companies."
Could it get any better? You bet. Watch and learn. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Management for more details.
With a presence in more than 96 cities around the globe and investor relationships with many of the world's largest financial institutions, Hines has the breadth of experience, the network of expertise, and the financial strength to assume complex and challenging investment, development, and management projects. Better yet, the firm has had 50 years to prove it. In fact, when Hines lays claim to the phrase, "Setting the Standard in Real Estate the World Over," nobody disagrees; that's why Hines consistently ranks in the top five each year in The A List.
Since its inception in 1957, Hines has created projects of the highest quality, aesthetic relevance, and enduring value for its investor partners, clients, and local communities. Legendary architects such as Cesar Pelli, Frank Gehry, IM Pei, and Philip Johnson have worked hand in hand with Hines to redefine the balance between form and function (and the balance between a developer/owner/manager's approach and the caretaking of buildings, both new and existing) to include operational excellence, environmental distinction, and some of the most beautiful skylines around the world.
From the beginning, the firm evolved to adapt to the industry's most fundamental and challenging adage: that real estate is, by nature, a local business. Even as Hines crossed continents and cultures, high standards of quality, taste, and execution remained at the company's core. Attention to detail, efficiency, economy, and engineering innovations are among the hallmarks of all Hines projects. The firm's unique talent in value engineering allows its partners to achieve development goals at or below budget. In addition, a strategic fund investment program, begun more than a decade ago, has literally guaranteed a wealth of discretionary funds for development, allowing the organization to pursue core and value-added properties worldwide.
In concert, Hines approaches property and facility management from a true owner's perspective, delivering unparalleled service, asset management, and energy efficiency, all at relatively low real estate investment risk. Properties managed by Hines outperform their competition time and time again, with better-caliber tenants, higher rents, consistently superior tenant-satisfaction ratings, and extraordinarily high retention rates. It's understandable, then, that the company and its properties are recognized as leaders by various management and energy-efficiency benchmarks worldwide, including the more than 105 Hines-managed properties that have earned the prestigious ENERGY STAR® label.
When asked, however, Hines is never reluctant to offer the industry secret to success: It all comes down to people. Hines has a remarkably dedicated, skilled, and long-tenured staff; add management ingenuity and empowerment to the mix, and there's no stopping Hines. History has proven that. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.
The world's largest owner, manager, and developer of distribution facilities - ProLogis - reached a new level of distinction when it was ranked No. 1 in the real estate industry on Fortune's 2007 list of "America's Most Admired Companies." Fortune ranked ProLogis No. 1 in six out of eight performance categories: innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, quality of management, financial soundness, and long-term investment, which is no surprise to industry insiders.
Since its founding in 1991, ProLogis has built its reputation and success on a single, core idea: that it could create exceptional value by focusing on service and forging close, long-term ties with the companies it serves (in contrast, the traditional approach is for industrial developers to be transaction focused rather than service oriented). From its earliest days, ProLogis has embraced a different approach, seeking to become a valued business partner for its customers in an era of revolutionary change in manufacturing and distribution. Its present portfolio of 436.9 million square feet of industrial buildings proves it.
The company's warehouses are strategically situated in areas that can maximize the efficiency of distribution, logistics, and light manufacturing, including locations near seaports, airports, major highways, and other strategic transportation infrastructure. The ProLogis platform, however, covers more than buildings alone. It includes extensive land holdings - as well as global relationships with leading manufacturers, retailers, logistics companies, and other large-scale users of distribution space.
As climate change becomes an even greater public-policy issue, and as customers emerge as drivers in the sustainability movement, ProLogis has also set its sights on becoming the global leader in sustainable warehouse design and construction. In February 2007, ProLogis became the first real estate company in the world to join the Chicago Climate Exchange (the world's first voluntary greenhouse-gas emissions reduction and carbon credit trading program). ProLogis is also the first U.S. real estate company to issue a sustainability report in accordance with standards set by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a non-profit organization sponsored by the United Nations Environmental Programme.
The future is anyone's guess, but look to this leader as it wrenches the industry from its comfort zone and pushes for a more hard-hitting environmental stance and the measurement and documentation of results. And, make no mistake - ProLogis will steer the course. Its mission: "Through state-of-the-art design and construction, innovative customer programs, active engagement with suppliers, and benchmarking our performance, we strive to be the world leader in environmental best practices in our industry." See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.
Cushman & Wakefield Inc.
New York, NY
Never a company that rests on its laurels, Cushman & Wakefield continues to deliver wide-ranging, integrated solutions in its property management role, as well as valuation advice, strategic planning and research, portfolio analysis, site selection, and space-location assistance, among many other advisory services. At press time, however, it had just announced a strategic and tactical arrangement that, undoubtedly, will take it to new heights and opportunities: the acquisition of real estate investment banking specialist Sonnenblick Goldman. The firm will provide highly specialized debt structuring, mortgage banking, equity raising, brokerage, and associated advisory services to real estate owners, investors, and developers.
According to Bruce Mosler, president and chief executive officer at Cushman & Wakefield, "This acquisition provides our global clients with access to world-renowned expertise, a broad array of capital sources, and, most significantly, unsurpassed debt and equity finance capabilities." The combination of Cushman & Wakefield's full-service global platform and Sonnenblick Goldman's capital markets expertise and relationships will result in a real estate investment banking powerhouse.
Just imagine how this acquisition will strengthen the already successful Cushman & Wakefield model, embraced by its more than 5,000 professionals worldwide and integral to its 464.9 million-square-foot portfolio: a remarkable pool of talent, comprehensive services and resources focused on a seamless approach, and a renowned technology platform of internally developed tools and external partnerships.
When Cushman & Wakefield talks about the "C&W Advantage," pay attention: You'll discover what customer service can truly be. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Management for more details.
Liberty Property Trust
With a portfolio comprised of 21 million square feet of office space and more than 45 million square feet of industrial space, Liberty Property Trust would seem to have hit the pinnacle of success. That, however, has never been the company's approach to its properties or its clients. Exceptional locations, flexible design, thoughtful amenities, cost-efficient operations, and state-of-the-art technology have been blended into the company's management, marketing, and development strategies with a mission to "enhance people's lives through extraordinary workplace environments."
For the future, that term ("environment") has taken on a new, more substantial meaning. Late last year, Liberty Property Trust received the 2006 U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED Award for Corporate Leadership in recognition of its 20-plus projects that are pursuing LEED certification. Among the green building techniques employed are recycling construction demolition waste on-site; installing dimming controls, occupancy sensors, low-E glass, and high-performance HVAC systems; maximizing daylight with spectrally selective glazing; humidity control and use of low-emitting materials; installing CO2 sensors; and employing continuous fresh air exchange.
But, the real story is about the company's dedication to leading by example, as evidenced in a variety of ways. Liberty Property Trust has greened its operations throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, implemented a green training program for the entire property management staff, and created a Green Property Management guide for property managers and building technicians, to name just a few of its environmental initiatives. Most importantly, Liberty professionals truly believe that green buildings are better buildings (and cost-saving buildings as well), and that's the most powerful tool of all. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.
PM Realty Group
PM Realty Group is proud of the commitment it has made to integrate quality initiatives into its day-to-day operations and companywide standards across a group of diverse building types, comprising more than 150 million square feet of space. These initiatives focus on communication (strong customer/tenant relationships centered on listening), performance measurement (continuous improvement and consistent benchmarking from a baseline measurement), and enhanced asset value (cost reduction and cost control, preventive/predictive maintenance, etc.).
At the core of PM Realty Group's quality initiatives, however, is a simple, yet meaningful, phrase: "As we seek best practices, we open the doors to alternative practices ... promoting creative thinking." Imagine the possibilities! In fact, over the years, PM Realty has made substantial investments to support its commitment to superior service through people, technology, and processes.
One of the key indicators of its success is the company's real estate standards and associated training programs, which were first established in 1999. PM's real estate standards are taught through on-the-job training, regional and national seminars, and specific position seminars for certain job classifications. These clearly outline the monitoring guidelines (which include vendors and service providers) to ensure that such companywide real estate standards are implemented consistently.
Most importantly, the fundamental corporate values of PM Realty Group - "The PM Difference" - are a set of shared values that directly impact its professionals. At PM Realty, employees are the company's most valuable resource and are treated as such. How liberating and empowering ... and smart. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Management for more details.
CB Richard Ellis
Los Angeles, CA
CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) is a company built for its clients. Each service and each market has been carefully selected to build the fully integrated global real estate services firm that customers deserve (and expect). By combining with Trammell Crow Co. in 2006, two of the industry's very best firms have been able to build on the strength of each other; the result is a broad geographic reach, stellar market intelligence, a comprehensive service offering, and bright talent. At the same time, CB Richard Ellis is benefiting from a strong global economy and a relatively modest pace of construction. Life is good at CB Richard Ellis, which isn't surprising, given its 1.7 billion-square-foot management portfolio.
Behind every good real estate decision, however, is solid information and analysis. From both the micro and macro perspectives, CB Richard Ellis ensures its clients' trust through its quality research; this has become a key component that differentiates this company in such a competitive industry. A combined approach to research recognizes that, while local market conditions typically drive real estate decisions, local market conditions are, in turn, often driven by regional, national, and global economic and capital market influences and conditions. CBRE research combines data collected from its own proprietary research, as well as what is purchased from vendors, into market information and knowledge. It's validated, organized, and easily accessible to the CBRE professionals who are advising clients; added value is gained when the research arm also performs in-depth analyses for CBRE professionals on behalf of clients.
This leader is forging new ground in environmental initiatives as well. In late May, CBRE announced a goal to become carbon neutral by 2010 and a plan to assist clients with energy-efficiency programs throughout the building space that CB Richard Ellis manages around the world. At the time, this represented the first time that a major commercial real estate services firm had plans to go carbon neutral.
CB Richard Ellis also says that it's working closely with the Natural Resources Defense Council to introduce new energy-saving measures at client-owned and occupied properties. Working with both owners and tenants, CB Richard Ellis expects to engage its clients in discussions about environmental issues, with a goal of implementing energy-saving technology and practices at the vast majority of its clients' properties and corporate facilities. Within the facilities it actually occupies, the company expects to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2010 through a combination of energy savings, efficient space utilization, carbon-emission reductions, and, if necessary, through investments in carbon offsets. Stay tuned to CBRE's green agenda - it promises to be impressive. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Management for more details.
The University of Iowa Facilities Management
Iowa City, IA
A renowned and usually revered opponent in the Big Ten athletic arena, The University of Iowa is applying its muscle - facilities-wise - to the more than 16 million square feet of educational space overseen by its facilities management department. Facilities management has a real and documented vision for its best-practices program, the result of combining resourceful academic theory with lessons learned in the real world. Its strategic initiatives focus on adopting, adapting, and creating best practices in five overarching goal areas:
1. Best practices in campus appearance and function. Beginning with planned-growth strategies, facilities management has developed design principles and space-planning/programming processes, clarified space management, and more. Other defined challenges that facilities management has applied to reach this goal: to create a sense of place, ground enhancement, adopting maintainable project designs, custodial care and cleanliness, occupant comfort, capital renewal and facilities stewardship, and controlled access and security.
2. Best practices in project delivery. The department is challenged to provide the systems, tools, and staffing needed, as well as to improve the governing process and financial stewardship as it standardizes consistent, compliant, and effective project management.
3. Best practices in energy management. Cost, reliability, and effective operation and long-term management of building systems, as well as supply-side and demand-side management - are core to accomplishing energy-management objectives for the university's stock of buildings. The department has developed a concerted and successful plan to diversify fuel options, as well as to improve upon the more traditional approaches to energy-intensive use across the campus.
4. Best practices in superior service. Relationship building with customers, the institution, stakeholders, and the public - particularly in communicating expectations and results - will go hand in hand with the resources and resulting performance documentation for a new synergy among all involved parties.
5. Best practices for workplace of choice. With an environment of innovation (appropriate for an academic institution, don't you think?), the department challenges include defined expectations and enriched communication, as well as committing the time and attention to creating a safe working environment, among other aspirations.
The organization's past success has been built on a leadership philosophy and expectation that operational directors and managers focus most of their time and energy toward moving forward the strategic aspects of the organization. Based upon its initiatives, there will be many more successes in the future for The University of Iowa. See 2007 Buildings Census: Institutional Owners for more details.
U.S. General Services Administration's Public Buildings Service
As the landlord for over 1 million federal employees and their contractors, the U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA) Public Buildings Service (PBS) is one of the largest and most diversified public real estate organizations in the world. Such a nationwide presence across more than 9,700 facilities could be overwhelming; however, PBS takes what could be a challenge and turns it into opportunity by directing this network to rapidly accommodate the changing space needs of its customers. By delivering a complete array of acquisition and disposal services for vendor management services, special support operations, and consulting services, PBS essentially allows its customers to concentrate their efforts on their core missions. At the same time, PBS creates value by offering the acquisition processes, financial mechanisms, vendor management, consulting, property disposal, and government-wide information that enable individual agencies to achieve a higher return on their investment. This also means it helps optimize the value of expenditures for the government.
Although PBS is a government agency, it operates much like a private-sector real estate organization - a remarkable accomplishment given its hefty responsibilities and geographic sprawl. In a 2006 tenant survey, which was designed to measure the satisfaction of tenants, GSA received a combined (owned and leased) score of 79.6 percent highly satisfied responses from over 47,755 tenants. How many private-sector real estate firms can top that?
In addition to a number of initiatives, including the Design Excellence Program (which advocates high-performance design strategies and more efficient buildings) and the National Broker Contract (which frees up the organization's real estate professionals to focus more on customer requirements and strategic customer planning), PBS was the first agency out of 15 to be recognized by the Bush Administration for achieving "green" status on the Presidential Management Agenda scorecard in Federal Real Property Asset Management. The status was achieved by improving utilization by 3.4 percent over the past 5 years, maintaining operating costs at 12-percent below market costs, disposing of 85 assets in the PBS inventory since 2002, and exceeding Federal Real Property Council standards for facility condition in 75 percent of its building inventory. Since 2002, GSA has earned a LEED rating for 19 of its buildings. PBS is also a national leader in the purchase and use of renewable power from utility companies.
During this same time, PBS's Building Information Modeling (BIM), which has been used on over 40 capital projects across the nation, was accredited as a paradigm pioneer in information technology in the commercial real estate industry by the American Institute of Architects.
PBS aims to be the provider of choice for federal agencies and to provide lasting value in everything it does. Based upon its performance metrics, this entrepreneurial government agency is getting things done. See 2007 Buildings Census: Government Owners for more details.
Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Angeles, CA
Over the past few years, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has been implementing an outstanding, district-wide new construction and modernization program for its facilities - the funding of which has been based on four local bond measures - to reach its goal of ending involuntary busing and providing neighborhood schools the ability to operate on a traditional, 2-semester school calendar. From its outset, LAUSD's $19.3 billion new school construction and modernization program was developed to build approximately 145 new schools by 2012. At press time, the new school construction program was reported to have completed 65 new schools, 51 additions, and 27 early education centers and early education center expansions; provided approximately 68,000 classroom seats for students throughout the district; eliminated involuntary busing for all elementary school students; and returned 136 schools to a 180-day calendar. The modernization program has upgraded and rehabilitated older campuses, completing well over 14,000 modernization projects in existing schools.
However, just as the aggressive program has progressed remarkably well, it has also become stagnated through funding limitations - based, in part, on the widespread geography, pockets of extreme population density, and scarcity of land in Los Angeles County. Hundreds of thousands of students still attend classes in portables, and large student populations take their toll on aging facilities.
Last November, the Board of Education approved 17 new project definitions to fulfill the goal of constructing enough additional classroom capacity to allow all students to attend a neighborhood school operating on a 2-semester, traditional calendar. With 66 projects under construction and 124 more in the design process, the new school construction program is on track to deliver 180,000 promised seats by 2012. Although the school board has authorized the district to proceed with design, site selection, and environmental reviews for these projects, $2.4 billion in program costs remain unfunded due to escalating costs and a lack of eligibility for state matching funds; however, the LAUSD facilities division is working to mitigate the risks to the program's success by aggressively pursuing state legislation to increase LAUSD's share of state funds for school construction.
At press time, LAUSD was garnering broad support for AB 1014 legislation, which would protect new school construction funds. AB 1014 proposes an alternative enrollment projection to better represent school district growth patterns to provide a more stable and accurate method for distributing school construction funds. We wish them the best of luck for this important educational investment in tomorrow's leaders. See 2007 Buildings Census: Institutional Owners for more details.
The Boeing Co.
The shared services group at aerospace company Boeing allows business units to focus on profitable growth by providing the infrastructure services required to run their global operations. The group provides a broad range of services worldwide, including computing and network operations, e-business, facilities services, employee benefits and programs, security, transportation, and the purchase of all non-production goods and services. It also manages the sale and acquisition of all leased and owned property through Boeing Realty Corp. By integrating services, the shared services group delivers greater value, creates Lean processes and operations, leverages buying power, and simplifies access to services.
Of particular note is the company's interest in how its facilities can be used as an employee retention/attraction tool (that's important, considering that Boeing employs more than 150,000). A 10-year visionary program that is currently under way, called Future of Work, focuses on how long-term facility planning can increase employee recruitment, loyalty, productivity, and collaboration; reduce workspace costs; build stronger connections among the company, the community, and employees; and foster greater convenience and quality of life for current and future workers. Future of Work concepts are scalable and categorized by four performance pillars: partnerships, work process, communication, and education.
In 2003, Boeing also launched a pilot of its Virtual Office Program (part of its Lean manufacturing office initiative) to offer flexibility to employees and to reduce the amount of underutilized workspace. To date, more than 11,000 employees have registered to take part in Boeing's Virtual Office Program. Some of the freed-up space has been repurposed as collaboration, meeting, and teaming spaces for use within the Future of Work model.
Outside of facilities services, Boeing Realty Co., which is headquartered in Long Beach, CA, is responsible for all aspects of real estate acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, and development of surplus properties for Boeing. It executes real estate transactions in support of a strategy that aligns the company's real estate commitments with the long-range needs of the business units. The strategy is to reduce overhead costs and support a workforce so that it can rapidly meet the changing needs of a global community of employees and customers.
Maximizing value is what it's all about, and Boeing proves it can be done - and done well. See 2007 Buildings Census: Corporate Real Estate Departments for more details.
RREEF North America
San Francisco, CA
Five real estate practitioners founded RREEF North America in 1975 to give institutions access to the same hands-on real estate decision-making that private owners had enjoyed and been successful with for a long time. Since that time, RREEF North America has been through a number of real estate cycles, dealing with adversity as well as opportunity - and it has dealt with all of this very well. As RREEF North America's assets under management have grown to $41 billion, it has worked hard to preserve an entrepreneurial approach. A small team of partners still makes all investment decisions (portfolio management, acquisition, and disposition). These partners average over 23 years of real estate experience.
RREEF North America offers a diverse menu of investment options, including separate accounts, core and value-added private investment vehicles, and investments in publicly traded real estate securities. It also has an extensive track record in the property reassignment business.
When Web surfing for news about RREEF North America, the term "acquires" comes up time and time again: "RREEF Acquires Office Building," "RREEF Acquires Apartment Community," etc. You get the drift.
And, there's more news. According to Hoover's Online, a deal rumored to be more than $1 billion has resulted in the purchase of nearly 340 acres in the heart of Silicon Valley from real estate development firm Peery/Arrillaga. The land is developed, with 119 buildings totaling 5.3 million square feet of space. Another big deal was announced in 2007: RREEF joined forces with Pirelli in a deal to buy German real estate firm BauBeCon from Cerberus Capital Management.
Always successful and always growing, RREEF continues its joint venture - CalWest Industrial Properties - with giant pension fund CalPERS (the California Public Employees' Retirement System). This relatively quiet mover and shaker silently progresses onward. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.
The Opus Group
The Opus Group, a $2.1 billion full-service real estate development company with nearly 55 years of experience, has quietly been changing the face of communities across the nation. To date, Opus has completed 2,375 projects totaling 228 million square feet, and currently has 40.3 million square feet of projects planned or under development across the country.
Opus' unique design-build approach partners architects, engineers, and construction professionals to devise the best solution for office, industrial, retail, multi-family, government, and institutional developments. Collaborating with clients and communities from project concept through completion, Opus listens to gain a strong understanding of their needs, both present and future, to bring their visions to life while delivering projects on time and on budget.
Opus continually shows its agility in developing a wide array of projects - from industry-leading corporate campuses to LEED-certified buildings and complex lifestyle/mixed-use developments that incorporate upscale retail, multi-family, office, and municipal buildings in growing communities.
In 2006, Opus was ranked:
- Third among the Top 10 Office Developers by National Real Estate Investor.
- Fourth among the Top 10 Industrial Developers by National Real Estate Investor.
- Fourth among the Top Real Estate Developers by Commercial Property News.
- Ninth among the Top 100 Design-Build Firms by Engineering News-Record.
Responding to the needs of government and commercial clients, Opus uses its strong expertise to develop highly efficient, sustainable buildings. In fact, Opus has more than 9 million square feet of sustainable buildings completed or under development. These buildings, many of which are LEED certified, incorporate highly energy-efficient mechanical systems, water-efficient landscaping techniques, and low-emitting construction materials. The result is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly. With in-house services that encompass the gamut of project planning through occupancy, look for Opus to step up as a true green specialist as the market makes environmental initiatives a top priority. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more more details.
Eighteen Kaiser Permanente facilities have been singled out for exemplary accomplishments from Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, a partnership of the American Hospital Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Nurses Association, and Health Care Without Harm. Kaiser Permanente also received an award from the Healthy Building Network for accelerating the transformation to healthier building materials through purchasing policies and actions. Green is good.
Kaiser Permanente's environmental initiatives are grouped into three main areas: green buildings, environmentally responsible purchasing, and environmentally sustainable operations:
1. Green buildings features sustainable design and construction practices through environmentally sound facility templates used in all new construction and rebuilds. These practices incorporate efficient water and energy systems, recycled demolition debris, daylighting, stormwater management, reflective roofing, and more.
2. Environmentally responsible purchasing encompasses environmental considerations into targeted national contracts. These considerations include reducing the toxicity and volume of waste, increasing post-consumer recycled content, selecting reusable and durable products, eliminating mercury content, and selecting products free from polyvinyl chloride and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate.
3. Environmentally sustainable operations consider the impact of energy-conservation measures at Kaiser Permanente. To date, the company has prevented more than 70 million pounds of air pollutants annually. In addition, the aggregate impact of pollution prevention activities has eliminated the purchase and disposal of 40 tons of hazardous chemicals. Other activities include waste minimization, resulting in the recycling of 9 million pounds of solid waste; electronic equipment disposition, resulting in the recycling of 36,000 electronic devices containing 10,500 pounds of lead; optimal reuse of products, which has led to reprocessing 53,851 pounds of medical devices and supplies; capital equipment redistribution; greening janitorial cleaning products; recycling and reuse of 8,300 gallons of solvents; and energy-conservation practices, resulting in the recycling of 30,000 spent fluorescent lamps.
Can this healthcare provider drive change throughout its industry? The commitment is certainly in place. See 2007 Buildings Census: Institutional Owners for more details.
For 4 consecutive years, Transwestern has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year (2004 and 2005) and as a Sustained Excellence Partner (2006 and 2007) for its outstanding contribution to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions through leadership in energy management. Additionally, Transwestern is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and has 50 buildings around the country registered under the LEED for Existing Buildings program. According to the company website, Transwestern's conversion of existing buildings to LEED certification status is, to date, greater than any other commercial real estate company in the nation.
This full-service commercial real estate firm, which operates coast to coast, takes its leadership to new heights through a thriving entrepreneurial spirit. As a private company, it quickly adapts to clients' needs, yet it offers a broad array of services that are supported by national resources and coordinated delivery. In addition to its established development and property and facility management services, Transwestern also provides tenant representation, corporate advisory, healthcare advisory, and research and evaluation via its affiliate Delta Associates.
In fact, Delta Associates created a Transwestern-sponsored series of regional events - TrendLines® - that provides insight into regional economies and commercial real estate markets. Each event includes market forecasting that sheds light on pivotal forces that shape investment and development opportunities in the period ahead.
Other accolades that are noteworthy: The February 2007 issue of Texas Monthly magazine named Transwestern as one of the year's "Best Companies to Work For." Both the Dallas Business Journal and the Houston Business Journal also awarded Transwestern the same distinction in 2007. The Lipsey Co. named Transwestern among the "Top 25 Commercial Real Estate Brands" in 2006 and 2007, based upon a survey distributed among over 35,000 commercial real estate peers.
Clearly, Transwestern is a company you'll want to emulate. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Management for more details.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Two experimental stores - the first in McKinney, TX, and the second in Aurora, CO - are working to help change the way the retail industry designs, constructs, and manages facilities as it relates to the environment.
The McKinney store has been experimenting with materials, technology, and processes, which include:
- Reducing the amounts of energy and natural resources required to operate and maintain the stores.
- Reducing the amount of raw materials needed to construct the facility.
- Substituting, when appropriate, the amount of renewable materials used to construct and maintain the facility.
Wal-Mart contracted with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to provide testing and analysis on store systems and materials, based on national scientific measurements and standards, for a period of 3 years (2007 marks the end of Year 2). Sharing the results of the store's experiments with the rest of the retail and development industry could turn low-volume, rare technologies into industry standards. Wal-Mart hopes to learn new environmental-conservation best practices and measure benchmarks that can serve as future design standards in the retail industry when it comes to land development and building construction.
There's also new life for an old airport runway and vegetable oil used to fry chicken at Wal-Mart's experimental store in Aurora, CO. More than 500 tons of Denver Intl. Airport's runway, crushed up and recycled, was used in the store's foundation. The used vegetable oil from the store's deli and used motor oil from the store's Tire and Lube Express has been burned to help heat the store.
From the start, the goals for both experimental stores were to reduce the amount of energy and natural resources required to operate and maintain the stores, reduce the amount of raw materials needed to construct the facility, and substitute, when appropriate, renewable materials.
Based on this lofty plan, and 2 years into the program, Wal-Mart is well on its way to its goal to eventually build a new prototype that will be 25- to 30-percent more efficient and will produce 30-percent less greenhouse-gas emissions than current stores. The store in Aurora is testing over 50 different experiments to help Wal-Mart management evaluate some of these technologies, including solar and wind power, waste oil boilers, porous pavements, radiant floor heating that will help keep pedestrian areas clear of snow, and unique fabric duct air systems to efficiently heat and cool the building. Wal-Mart contracted with the National Renewable Energy Lab of Golden, CO, to provide monitoring, testing, and analysis on store systems and materials, based on national scientific measurements and standards, for a period of 3 years (Year 3 will begin this fall).
Can environmentally friendly material in retail facilities become more mainstream? If any company can accomplish it, Wal-Mart can. Mark your calendars for late 2008 to look for performance benchmarks. See 2007 Buildings Census: Corporate Real Estate Departments for more details.
Over its 30-plus-year history, Akridge has been committed to making sound ethical practices and client service its two highest priorities. "In everything we do," says Chairman Chip Akridge, "it's gotta be legal, moral, ethical, first class ... and, hopefully, it makes money, too."
In fact, service and integrity permeate all that the professionals at Akridge do. And, recognition speaks for itself: In 7 of the last 8 years, Akridge has won a national real estate customer service award. Customers and vendors alike are treated to the same level of respect and attention to detail. To ensure that ethical conduct is maintained from its vendors toward its customers, Akridge has outlined a comprehensive Vendor Code of Conduct document, which provides policies that include fair treatment of and compensation to all vendors' employees.
Compassion and benevolence toward employees are incorporated into the company mission, as well as generous and thoughtful civic and community involvement. As part of its philanthropic activities, Akridge has developed a well-communicated (but unobtrusive) outreach solicitation for donations from building clients.
Perhaps its greatest philanthropic endeavor is its pledge to develop and manage commercial office buildings with the highest level of environmental consciousness. Historically, Akridge has been on the forefront of green building practices in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area; now, it is making the move to a portfolio-wide environmental standard.
In 1996, Akridge delivered 1200 New York Avenue, the headquarters building for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1200 New York Avenue was one of the country's first green buildings, renowned for environmentally friendly design and operation, innovative uses of light, and heating- and cooling-efficiency systems. Currently under development is 700 Sixth Street, a modern (but traditional) office building with a LEED Gold target. Among its sustainable design features, 700 Sixth Street will feature a green roof (for which Akridge was awarded a Chesapeake Bay Foundation grant).
In a broader reach, Akridge is making it a primary goal to achieve the ENERGY STAR certification at all Akridge properties. The Homer Building, headquarters of Akridge, achieved that recognition this past spring. With efforts to date that have achieved a 34-percent reduction in energy consumption, Akridge continues to look for ways to conserve energy and protect the environment, including new advancements in green elevator services and the use of green cleaning products.
Environmental consciousness, customer service, and ethical conduct do go hand in hand. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.
Following a 2006 merger with a private-investor group (including affiliates of Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity; HCA founder Dr. Thomas F. Frist Jr.; and HCA management), the leading U.S. for-profit hospital operator - HCA - maintains its aggressive building course. In the past, substantial investment in the company's facilities has been one of the core components of HCA's patient-first culture; that hasn't changed as a result of the merger, according to HCA Chairman and CEO Jack O. Bovender Jr. In fact, with 2006 revenues of $25.6 billion and assets reported at more than $23 billion, the organization has obviously developed a strategy that works.
Instrumental to success is that HCA makes a concerted effort to invest in the communities in which its hospitals serve. Secondly, the organization works diligently to improve local operations through the efficient use of resources. HCA employs industry-leading measures that include organized group purchasing, efficient supply acquisition and distribution, shared administration and business services, and other initiatives that allow its hospitals and their communities to benefit from economies of scale. This philosophy was particularly instrumental after the devastating hurricane season of 2005 took a toll on HCA's operations (most of which are concentrated in the Southern United States).
The company plans to grow in its selected markets by acquiring hospitals and by attracting patients to its existing facilities with high-quality care and a broad range of services. It is particularly interested in expanding its outpatient offerings, as well as specialty services in such high-margin fields as orthopedics and cardiology. Because planning, construction, and engineering oversight functions are centrally located in its Nashville, TN, headquarters, HCA is well-positioned to deliver on its promise to build, modernize, and operate top-performing facilities - which is a remarkable testament to the 24/7 intensive needs of healthcare properties. See 2007 Buildings Census: Institutional Owners for more details.
Cummings Properties LLC
With 9 million square feet of owned space in metropolitan Boston, Cummings Properties LLC may never be among the largest or most powerful commercial real estate firms; however, it is certainly among the industry's most unique. With no mortgages on any of its properties, Cummings is likely one of the very largest un-leveraged firms in the industry.
The company is also noteworthy for its take-charge, turnkey services. Cummings designs, finances, and builds all of its buildings; then it manages, leases, and maintains them through the focused efforts of in-house architects, designers, attorneys, purchasing agents, property managers, leasing officers, and financial staff. According to the company, "In an era where outsourcing seems to be the buzzword for everyone, Cummings Properties has proven time and time again that real estate and construction firms alike can benefit enormously by employing competent in-house architectural and legal teams."
An early leader in the green building movement, Cummings has earned an ENERGY STAR award for a number of its projects. Its newest - a 900,000-square-foot office and parking garage in Woburn, MA - is expected to be LEED certified.
Beyond - and, perhaps, because of - these substantial attributes, Cummings Properties has been able to execute remarkable delivery times for its clients. The guaranteed delivery time for the 150,000-square-foot Middlesex County Superior Courthouse, which broke ground on Jan. 3, 2007, is Dec. 31, 2007. Few builders of any size would be able to deliver this fully fit-up, 7-story, highly complex courthouse in less than a year. And, remarkably, the Cummings quote was reportedly just half that of the next lowest bidder. This small firm definitely gets the big picture. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.
The Lightstone Group
In less than 20 years, The Lightstone Group has grown into one of the largest private owners of real estate in the United States; it currently owns a portfolio of diversified properties that exceeds 20,000 apartments and more than 67 million square feet of commercial and retail space. Recently, the organization made significant inroads into the office sector, becoming one of the largest owners in Chicago with the acquisition of Prime Group Realty Trust (PGRT), a real estate investment trust.
In addition, via its Prime Retail subsidiary, The Lightstone Group is one of the leading owners of retail outlet space in the nation. What is clearly significant is that not only was this acquisition impressive, but the subsequent successful turnaround of this subsidiary has spotlighted The Lightstone Group as a nationally recognized expert in repositioning companies.
In mid-June 2007, one of its affiliates (a company formed by Lightstone and Arbor Realty Trust Inc.) closed on an $8 billion acquisition of extended-stay hotels from affiliates of The Blackstone Group. This acquisition marks the entry by Lightstone into yet another sector. According to Lightstone Chairman and CEO David Lichtenstein, the foray into the extended-stay hospitality segment makes sense for the company. Since Lightstone is a major owner of multi-family properties, extended-stay properties are a hybrid of apartments and hotels with a similar business model (room rental revenues).
What's next for Lightstone? Anything. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.
Founded almost 50 years ago, Carter is the Southeast's oldest and largest privately held full-service commercial real estate firm. With sustained, continued development growth in the industry since its inception - thanks to the 400 associates who provide a wide range of services, including investments, development, transaction services, and property and facilities management - Carter has developed a solid track record of meeting the needs of its varied clients.
Of particular note is that the firm is one of those innovative industry leaders that invests heavily in the latest technology tools and resources. Its current development interests include some of the most significant projects in the country. Among these projects is Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta - the second-largest development (comprising more than 12 million square feet of mixed-use space) currently taking place in the United States. Carter is also master developer of Lindberg City Center, a 48-acre, transit-oriented development just north of downtown Atlanta.
Carter is no novice to such complex projects. In 2003, the company served as master developer of Bellsouth's Atlanta Metro Plan - now touted as one of the most important corporate initiatives in Atlanta's history. It was conceived to consolidate 75 Bellsouth locations and encourage the use of mass transit.
In addition to its financial stability, Carter's success has been defined largely by its diversity of development projects and its ability to adapt to market conditions.
Clearly, that's leadership at the local level and inspiration at the national level. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Management for more details.
USAA Real Estate Co.
San Antonio, TX
Using ENERGY STAR as a way to benchmark performance and drive the need for continuous improvement among all the buildings in its portfolio, USAA Real Estate Co. has not only become a role model for operational excellence, it is also a pioneer in forging new ground via a pilot program (the Portfolio Performance Program) in cooperation with the U.S. Green Building Council. The long-term goal of this program is to recognize companies for high environmental performance across their portfolios, an impressive goal that could propel the industry's interests well beyond the current LEED certification model awarded to individual buildings. Beyond the obvious energy connection, the portfolio program focuses on the permanent integration of green building and operational measures into standard business practice. The USGBC is working with 26 market leaders as a part of the pilot, including USAA Real Estate Co.
That's good news for the USGBC and the industry. Energy efficiency and environmental concerns are, in fact, a mainstay of this market provider - one in which it has forged a clear and enviable path to date. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded USAA Real Estate Co. a 2007 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award in recognition of its continued leadership in protecting the environment through energy efficiency - the only real estate company in America that has won this award for the past 5 years (and, according to company execs, a resulting savings in that same timeframe of more than $10 million).
Who says that environmental initiatives don't make good business sense? See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.
Oak Brook, IL
Forward-thinking solutions aimed at enhancing supply-chain and operating efficiencies - as well as long-term relationships with customers, partners, and communities - is at the heart of CenterPoint Properties' value-add philosophy. The largest, owner, manager, and developer of industrial real estate in metropolitan Chicago, CenterPoint (which was acquired in March 2006 by CalEast Global Logistics) is taking its expertise in intermodal- and transportation-related development into similar opportunities in other U.S. markets.
Of particular interest is the company's industry leadership position in brownfield redevelopment. By viewing brownfields as unique opportunities to provide real estate solutions for customers while creating new jobs and investing in a community's infrastructure, CenterPoint has established a national model for the transformation of underutilized industrial property. Four projects - CenterPoint Intermodal Center, Ford Chicago Manufacturing Campus, Chicago Intl. Produce Market, and McCook Business Center - have received national attention. In addition, the company's remediation efforts have earned it two U.S. EPA Phoenix Awards.
With respect to property management, CenterPoint divides its property portfolio into six geographic regions; each is intensively managed by a dedicated operating team consisting of a regional manager, a property manager, an accountant, an assistant, and maintenance staff. Each region also employs tax and insurance professionals that actively manage each property's unique liability requirements to help minimize property-related expenses.
That's a win-win for CenterPoint and its customers. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.
Lincoln Property Co.
Founded in 1965 as a developer and manager of high-quality residential communities, Lincoln Property Co. quickly expanded its line of products and services to include commercial real estate. Maximizing operational efficiencies and creating a quality environment for tenants produces the best possible results for Lincoln's clients, and Lincoln is committed to measuring the quality and effectiveness of its service performance and learning from those results. This process of continuous evaluation, response, and improvement ensures quality and consistency at every service level.
Particularly impressive is Lincoln Property's commitment to its clients with state-of-the-art technology to support the delivery of value-added commercial real estate services. Leading the way is PropertyLogicTM, Lincoln Property Co.'s e-business/e-commerce technology platform that delivers property-level, value-added resources to those individuals and businesses that conduct business with a property. This is done through the integration of state-of-the-art Internet and wireless technology with traditional real estate services.
Although technology can provide significant benefits, it is equally important that such solutions are matched with the right implementation of services, training, and ongoing support. This combination of pure technology and human intervention reflects a strategic value proposition for the commercial real estate industry. In the end, Lincoln Property has found that it can best enhance property values by reducing costs, improving operating efficiencies, and increasing the flow of information between owners, managers, tenants, and service providers. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.
Kimco Realty Corp.
New Hyde Park, NY
A leading retail real estate investment trust (REIT) - with a portfolio exceeding 183 million square feet of space in shopping centers and other commercial buildings - Kimco Realty Corp. has had a busy (and amazing) couple of years. From a handshake between two friends and partners in 1960 to today's stature as the nation's largest publicly traded owner and operator of neighborhood and community shopping centers, Kimco proves that it is always ready to leverage opportunities, grow its portfolio, and provide value to its shareholders. In fact, since going public in 1991, Kimco has become known for acquiring properties with below market rate leases, maintaining a strong balance sheet to always have access to capital to allow for continued growth, and perfecting its ability to leverage opportunities.
As proof of such actions, Kimco merged with Price REIT, an experienced developer and owner of highly valued shopping centers throughout the West Coast, in 1998; in 1999, it formed Kimco Income REIT (KIR), a joint venture with nationally recognized institutional investors.
Since then, the REIT followed up a busy 2005, when it made more than $1 billion in acquisitions that added some 200 properties to its portfolio as a result of the $4 billion purchase of Pan Pacific Retail Properties (Kimco transferred all of Pan Pacific's assets to a joint venture with Prudential Real Estate Investors).
Kimco Realty is a member of an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management, which acquired approximately 700 Albertsons grocery stores (as well as area offices and distribution centers). Other joint ventures include one with Canadian REIT RioCan to develop properties in Canada, and another with GE Capital to focus on U.S. retail properties. This year, Kimco Realty acquired 19 shopping centers from GE Realty for a reported $920 million after GE Realty bought them from Crow Holdings.
With the REIT Modernization Act in effect as of Jan. 1, 2001, Kimco has had the ability to explore new areas of its business and provide opportunities for growth. With a solid history and an experienced management team, it is optimistic about exploring the many avenues for opportunity that lay ahead.
Kimco's website boasts, "We Are Ready!" Based upon the company's past performance, they certainly seem to be. See 2007 Buildings Census: Building Ownership and Development for more details.