What Starts with "C" and Is Loved By All?

July 25, 2013

And by all, we mean the 208 corporate real estate decision-makers who provided input in Watkins Research Group's latest survey. It measured how 23 corporate real estate providers stacked up against one another. Cresa, the largest tenant rep firm in North America, was ranked tops in client advocacy.

Cresa San Diego managing principal Russ Sande runs the office with managing principals Glenn Friedrich and Don Mitchell. The international corporate real estate advisory firm achieved a client advocacy score of 75.4, compared to the next highest ranked firm's 27.6. (Even Walter Mondale winces at that landslide.) This means the vast majority of Cresa's clients would recommend the firm to their peers. Over the past three years, Cresa San Diego repped Isis Pharmaceuticals (the largest build-to-suit ever in Carlsbad), LPL Financial, and Advanced BioHealing (now known as Shire) in three of the largest transactions ever recorded in the county.

Over the past year, Cresa San Diego doubled its office to 13 people. (Thank goodness, that half-person walking around was weirding people out.) They're all brokers, with the exception of project manager Jennifer Hawkins, whose hiring underscores the office's growth. When the office had six people, it used the project management team from Cresa Orange County to handle tenant build-outs. Plans call for continued growth by attracting high-quality individuals that can bring a book of business and established clients.

Cresa San Diego's managing principals worked with their colleagues in Philadelphia and Dallas on LPL Financial's 415k SF build-to-suit, under construction in Hines' La Jolla Commons campus.

Cresa San Diego was founded six years ago, and Russ tells us the office's brokers have spent an average of 17 years in the business, compared to nine for San Diego commercial real estate brokers overall. He previously founded the Sande Company, San Diego's first brokerage firm specializing in pure tenant rep. Russ sees tenant activity picking up—notably in Sorrento Mesa, Del Mar Heights, and Kearny Mesa, which are all in single-digit vacancies—but he says it's still a tenant's market. That said, he expects to see a couple of sizable projects coming out of the ground in '14 or '15, including by the Irvine Co, so stay tuned.