Developing Leaders instrumental in planning discussion about corporate real estate

November 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm 2 comments

By Erik Heltne, Cassidy Turley

Every month NAIOP hosts a breakfast seminar for its members.  The seminars are extremely popular, focus on a variety of topics, and draw hundreds of attendees.  For the second straight year the NAIOP Developing Leaders, in conjunction with the Programs Committee, helped orchestrated the October 13 program.  The Programs Committee representatives Clint Miller, Patty Gnetz, and Steve Schwanke worked in tandem with Gabe Philibert, Brenda Studt and Kim Hofstede of the DL Committee to ensure the unequivocal success of October’s seminar.  The seminar focused on a discussion of corporate real estate— read on for an overview of the program.

Jim Vos of Cresa Partners led a discussion focused around the current state of corporate real estate at the October 13th NAIOP breakfast program. Representatives from three of Minnesota’s top Fortune 500 companies—David Wright from U.S Bancorp, Pat McQuiston from Target Corporation, and David P. Drewiske from 3M Company—shared best practices in real estate.

The topics of discussion revolved around the driving force for each company’s real estate decisions. If you look at recent trends, it is not surprising that the similar thread through all discussions was cost. Along with savings, the representatives discussed various issues including employees and office location.

Dave Drewiske from 3M Corporation discussed the importance of flexibility and versatility of space in current day real estate. With such high costs, Drewiske believes an effective way to save money is to ensure space can be useful and valuable to more than just one practice group.

U.S. Bancorp’s representative, Dave Wright, explained the importance of making sure getting to and from work is easy for their employees. He elaborated on how at U.S. Bancorp, each real estate decision is benchmarked by three important factors: accessibility, public transportation and location.

Pat McQuiston, from Target, had a stance similar to Wright’s (U.S. Bancorp). He discussed the importance of valuing employees. To ensure employee satisfaction, Target surveys its employees each year to better assess the likes and needs of their employees and then tailors real estate decisions accordingly. Target believes in providing a location that has access to public transportation and amenities to fit the needs of each employee.

Valuing employees’ needs and minimizing costs seemed to be the hottest trend among the three featured Fortune 500 companies. Given the high percentage of employees traveling to and from the office and throughout the country during the work week, more and more companies are becoming more lenient towards working from home or hoteling, which ultimately reduces the amount of office space required.  Furthermore, the availability of telecommuting and video conferencing has reduced real estate costs and has created ease for off-site employees.

Three to five years ago it was assumed that each employee required about 300 square feet of space, but those days are over. Companies are minimizing office space through creativity and innovative technology. In this new era, companies have found that the new standard square foot per employee has been reduced to 150–200 square feet. This change is a significant divergence from the past and allows for huge savings when employing hundreds, even thousands of people in one location.

Entry filed under: Featured Articles.

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2 Comments

  • 1. Andy Hunt  |  November 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Sounds like a great event! I know Kim Hofstede and Clint Miller worked especially hard on this event, with the support of the Programs Committee and the DL Committee. Congrats to everyone!

  • 2. Noel LaBine  |  November 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    The information at this event was revealing regarding the changing forces on office space use. Both the size of the cubicles and the use of more conference rooms has changed along with the use of more digital technology. The result is an office experience with a more interactive dynamic. i enjoyed this presentation because the information was both informative and thought provoking.


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