Corporate real estate circa 2010

August 11, 2010

Where will "corporate real estate" be in 2010? That was the chief topic of discussion at the recent CoreNet Global summit in Chicago, where more than 3,000 "CRE" executives gathered to figure out what their jobs will be like in five years or so.

CoreNet represents 7,500 real estate leaders who manage 700 billion sf of space for major corporations around the world. Its "Corporate Real Estate 2010" report is largely specific to the role of CRE executives, the space needs of their corporate employers, and the changing corporate workforce, but many of its findings have clear implications for architects, contractors, and non-CoreNet building owners in general:

  • Corporate real estate functions will be performed in such a way as to enhance worker productivity and company competitiveness. This will require "a fully integrated infrastructure" that will include human resources, IT, real estate, legal, finance, and other support functions. In simple terms, you will have many more clients to please on every corporate job.

  • Ninety percent of Fortune 500 companies will adopt so-called "triple bottom line reporting," which measures social responsibility and environmental sustainability, not just financial performance. Already, half of publicly held U.S. corporations are reporting data on sustainability. The growth of interest in green building among major corporations is one expression of this phenomenon.

  • Due to greater IT networking, corporations in 2010 will require less overall corporate space to perform effectively. In five years or so, 21% of companies will have staff working remotely up to half the time, compared to 7% today, according to a Gallup Organization survey conducted for CoreNet. Needless to say, such an outcome theoretically would have a strong negative impact on office construction.

  • "Connectivity," described as "a network of places both geographical and virtual," will define the fabric of the work environment. Figuring out how to design and build structures and spaces that enhance connectivity and support the so-called "networked enterprise" will consume even more of your time and imagination.

  • The Gallup survey also revealed that 35% of responding corporations would consider transferring their owned assets to a third party for day-to-day financial and operational management. The hard-earned loyalty you've established with current corporate clients may mean nothing to some stranger with a keen eye on the bottom line.

Finally, you'll be hearing a lot about something called ICIM, or "integrated corporate infrastructure management," between now and 2010, according to CoreNet chair Sean B. McCourt. Such companies as Cigna, Disney, Hewlett-Packard, JP Morgan Chase, Procter & Gamble, and Sun Microsystems have been using it for years, and McCourt, who also chairs Ford Land, predicts ICIM will be accepted as a best practice by many other multinational corporations.

The full report, "Corporate Real Estate 2010," may be purchased by contacting:


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