Web site targets leasing needs of smaller businesses

  • JOHN WOLCOTT / Herald Business Journal Editor
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2000 9:00pm
  • Local News

By JOHN WOLCOTT

Herald Business Journal Editor

SEATTLE — The Seattle office of Colliers International, the global commercial real estate giant that is used to thinking big, has learned to think small.

It’s launched a new Web site with SpaceLease of Seattle that targets the office needs of small and medium-sized businesses, including those in Snohomish County.

The new Internet presence, at www.spacelease.com, went live on the Web this week, prior to Tuesday’s announcement.

Combining a new Internet company with an established leader in the real estate leasing field should make a profitable "clicks and mortar" partnership, its partners say. The venture is expected to generate $100 million in annual revenues by the end of its first five years in business, even with only a 10 percent market penetration.

Both SpaceLease President Gary Bodenstab and Rob Aigner, executive managing director of the Northwest region, agreed that Snohomish County properties are an important part of the region’s inventory of commercial space, particularly since businesses are moving north from King County as rents rise and available space shrinks.

"We’re specializing in leasing office properties in the Puget Sound region under 10,000 square feet," Aigner said. "We’re the first brokerage in the nation to introduce this" on the Internet.

Bodenstab said the market for such spaces "hasn’t been addressed well" because it provides the smallest return in revenues for brokers and takes a lot of time. Most firms concentrate on the larger properties and larger tenants, he added.

"That’s why this is an important niche for us," Bodenstab said. "We provide a Web site where smaller tenants can find properties, then we help them, both online and in person, to tour properties, plan their needs and put together proposals."

By using the Internet’s power to attract customers who are already looking for space, rather than having to seek out tenants, Bodenstab and Aigner expect to create a more profitable way to serve smaller businesses.

The site’s inventory already includes more than 2 million square feet of commercial properties in sizes under 10,000 square feet. That total climbs to 10 million square feet when new office space under construction and in planning stages is included.

In Snohomish County, properties are listed in Everett, Bothell and as far north as Marysville. Listings will increase as more property owners contribute to the Web site. Presently, owners can fax information to SpaceLease, but soon the site will accept online submissions.

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