Law Office of Henry B. LaTorraca Civil Trial Attorney

Using IT to improve the commercial property rental market

The tools available to business owners in California and around the country who are looking for suitable commercial space to rent have traditionally been limited. Individual brokers generally only have access to a small selection of the vacant commercial properties available, and online databases often contain information that is inaccurate or out of date. A number of startup businesses feel that the power of emerging information technology could be harnessed to make life easier for both landlords and prospective tenants, and the largest commercial property investment company in the world has acquired one of these nascent companies.

Manhattan-based SquareFoot has used $2 million in seed money to develop an online platform that allows commercial real estate brokers to manage their transactions from beginning to end. Using SquareFoot's interface, business owners are able to compare the properties on offer from various brokers, exchange information and set up appointments to view vacant space.

Floored is another New York City startup that is making a name for itself in the $30 billion commercial property leasing market. The company uses some of the latest digital imaging technology to create immersive 3D virtual worlds that growing businesses can use to determine whether or not a vacant property is really suited to their needs. The CBRE Group, which is the largest commercial real estate services company in the world, announced on Jan. 3 that it would be acquiring Floored.

Information technology is revolutionizing many aspects of the commercial real estate market, but coming up with a lease agreement that satisfies both landlords and tenants may still require negotiation and a certain degree of give-and-take. Attorneys who are experienced in complex real estate transactions could help their clients reach terms quickly and efficiently by identifying issues that could lead to disagreements. Attorneys may then draft leases that protect the rights of landlords while providing tenants with the flexibility they want.

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