VOL. 127 | NO. 102 | Thursday, May 24, 2012
In-Rel Outsources Office Leasing
By Sarah Baker
In-Rel Properties Inc. has outsourced its Memphis office leasing to Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors LLC, following months of changes up top for the Lake Worth, Fla.-based real estate firm.
“The idea from our end is to really focus on providing the best level of service that we can to our tenants,” said In-Rel CEO Mukang Cho, “and allow in what is a very broker-driven market in Memphis for Cushman & Wakefield to do what they do best.”
In-Rel will continue to operate its local property management services in-house.
Founded in 1985, In-Rel Properties owns and manages approximately 6 million square feet of office and retail space throughout the U.S., including more than 1.3 million square feet of office space in Memphis, about 25 percent of In-Rel’s total portfolio.
In-Rel established a Memphis office in 2003 when it purchased Clark Tower. The company quickly became a major player in the local office asset scene, alongside firms like Highwoods Properties Inc. and Boyle Investment Co.
Today, In-Rel’s local portfolio includes six other properties: 2400 Poplar Building, Lipscomb & Pitts Building, Lynnfield Office Park, Polar Towers, Quince Centre and a Quince Centre outparcel.
The company began a yearlong rebranding process in 2010, changing the name from In-Rel Management to In-Rel Properties. The goal was to shift its focus to owning and managing its portfolio with little or no third-party involvement.
Yet Memphis-based Commercial Advisors is a tenant and corporate advisory firm aligned with Commercial Alliance Management, a third-party provider of leasing and property management with a portfolio of approximately 15 million square feet.
Cho said the catalyst for In-Rel’s rebranding was to promote the firm’s reason for being – its tenants.
“As a company grows, especially in new and distinct markets, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide the same high-level of service without making it a concerted effort,” Cho said. “As we have been growing the company over the last few months and the last couple of years, we wanted to make sure that in each given market that we put ourselves in the best position to be competitive.”
Commercial Advisors’ principal Kemp Conrad has a history with many of the current properties in In-Rel Memphis’ portfolio, including Clark Tower, Lynnfield Office Park, Power Towers and Lipscomb Pitts.
“We have known the folks at Cushman & Wakefield for a long time,” Cho said. “Certainly having a history or relationship is a good thing and is helpful, but ultimately, from our perspective, in going with Cushman, we are thinking about the team that they have on the leasing front. We just thought that the philosophy was very similar to ours and that together, we would make a pretty meaningful partnership as we continue to grow and drive performance in Memphis with our existing base of assets.”
Quince Centre is In-Rel’s most recent Memphis acquisition. Under the leadership of former executive vice president of operations, Ron Riley, In-Rel bought the former Comcast Building for $5 million in December 2009, marking the third largest commercial sale of that year.
In-Rel renamed the 123,924-square-foot office building at 655 Quince Road in Southeast Memphis as the Quince Centre. Following extensive renovations, Quince Centre went from 40 to 70 percent occupancy in the first year after In-Rel acquired it.
Riley left In-Rel at the end of 2011 and recently joined Colliers International Management Services as senior vice president of its office division. Frazier Baker, who served as director of leasing with In-Rel’s Memphis office, is also no longer with the firm.
Ricardo Monroy joined In-Rel’s Memphis office in February as executive vice president of operations for Memphis, Nashville, Oklahoma City and Georgia. Monroy served as vice president/senior asset manager at Commercial Advisors from June 2009 to January 2011.
Cho said In-Rel is “bringing on board another gentleman who will be a senior property manager in the Memphis office” starting Tuesday, May 29. The soon-to-be In-Rel executive is “somebody Ricardo has worked with and known for over a decade.”
“We have put together a tremendous team of real estate professionals in every market that we serve, as well as a pretty strong bench of junior and less-seasoned professionals who are eager and excited to continue to learn and mature in the field of real estate,” Cho said. “We look forward to reenergizing our base of assets in Memphis.”