Getting Project Management with Tenant Representation

Ask any corporate real estate director when they think their tenant representative will feel that they are finished with their work, and they’ll tell you, ‘when the lease is signed’. That’s customary for the real estate dinosaurs as we call them. Modern real estate practices are different.

Big house brokers generate huge windfall profits on as many transactions as they can. Their mandate is to churn as many deals as possible. So, they disregard how in many cases a tenant’s real estate work is not finished once the lease is signed. In fact, the tenant improvement and project management part of a real estate job is often more significant and more work than the site selection and negotiation part.

At TMC, our mandate is the opposite of the big house broker’s. When we serve as tenant representatives, we provide whatever project services our clients require. At no cost. When we served as tenant representatives on a 130,000rsf Class A office lease in Hillsboro Oregon, we didn’t disappear after the lease was signed. Instead for a full year we attended weekly project meetings managing with our client the complex office and data center build out.

We recently completed a lease assignment outside of Seattle. It calls for a buildout of office space for our client. As part of our tenant rep work at no cost we are fully participating in the project and tenant improvement aspect of the job. This is a fairly easy assignment for us as our client is taking the lead on the buildout management. But helping to track construction costs throughout the project is a key role we are taking on.

This role is different with every tenant rep assignment we get. Sometimes we bid out security installations, manage movers and their bids, or participate in construction management. And we can do this whether we act as tenant reps in a transaction or not. Sometimes when another tenant rep disappears after the lease is signed, we are called in to help serve a role in the project management phase.

The problem with that is TMC does the project management for free with the tenant rep assignment. We can’t do that if we aren’t hired for the tenant rep job.

The point is that tenant’s ought to analyze their vendor’s role in these two similar jobs, whenever they have an upcoming lease expiration or new space assignment. If they do, they could create some real cost efficiencies when selecting a full-service tenant rep that provides project management service at no cost to the tenant.