Albany Executive Insights: Zac Conley on Helping to Create Better Workplaces

Zac Conley, managing principal at Cresa, talks with Walter Thorne, market president and publisher of the Albany Business Review, about the CRE company's value proposition for its commercial tenant clients and owner-occupants. Cresa is celebrating its 30th year in the business.

View the full video, on the Albany Business Review. 



Walter Thorne: I'm joined by Zac Conley, managing principal of Cresa Albany and Cresa Rochester, to learn more about Cresa, from whom they work with to what makes them different from other CRE companies. Welcome, Zac. 


Zac Conley: Hey, Walter excited to be here.


Walter: Thank you very much for joining me. Now Cresa is a commercial real estate services company, but unlike other companies in your industry, you only work with the occupier. What does that mean? 


Zac: Well, that's true. We only serve commercial tenants and owner occupants. 


Walter: Well, how do you serve them? 


Zac: You know, I like to tell people that we're like a real estate department for businesses that don't have one. Or we could act as an extension of the team for businesses that do. So we help organizations create better workplaces for their employees. We help them find the right space, negotiate their lease and purchase contracts. We help them design space. We oversee fit up projects on their behalf, construction and design projects. We're kind of an all in one. CRE company. 


Walter: So we're sounds like Cresa does a lot more than just brokerage. 


Zac: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, our busiest line of business right now is our workplace strategy and design practice. You know, with the sudden dramatic growth of remote work, most businesses are questioning their space needs going forward. Maybe they don't need as much space as they had pre-pandemic. That's where our workplace experts come in, they consult. With the client and their employees to help them understand what they want and need in the next workplace. And once we find them the right space, our team designs the space for them too. Most businesses realize they need some sort of change right now, but they don't know what those changes are and it's critically important to the business.


Walter: So to give our readers an idea of this, can you give me an example of what you're talking about? 


Zac: Yeah, sure. I'll give you a short case study. BST was in the same three story building off Wolf road for 30 years. They are a local accounting firms, as you know. They were separated over three floors and their team didn't interact with each other as much as they should, and the space just wasn't exciting their employees. We found them a space on one floor. We negotiated their lease. We designed them a brand new class A space with a lot of natural light, collaborative areas, amenity type space including an outdoor patio that they use for company-wide events and their staff loves the new office attendance is way up and most importantly the workplace is now a differentiator when they're recruiting.

They had one new recruit who I actually met the other day when I was visiting them over at their new space. We told me that the space itself made the difference between them choosing to work for BST over one of their competitors. And so for us, that's where our passion comes from, right? Because we're helping them do better business by way of a better workplace. 


Walter: It sounds like a lot of businesses should be reaching out to you to collaborate on on these things. I hear a lot of companies are having the same challenges as this. For my last question, I understand that Cresa has a milestone to celebrate this year. Can you tell us a little bit about that? 


Zac: Yeah, sure. It's, it's actually Cresa's 30th year in the business. We were founded in 1993. Throughout the years we've evolved, right, But we are the same company that's been focused on serving and occupiers of commercial real estate for 30 years and we're super proud of that. 


Walter: Listen, congratulations on the anniversary, Zac. It was great to learn more about how you're helping businesses build, connection and grow in our region. We also appreciate all you're doing in the business community and we look forward to seeing your continued growth and success.  Thank you for joining me, Zac.


Zac: Thanks,Walter. I appreciate the opportunity.