‘Volunteer’ representation isn’t city’s best choice

Any company or organization with a significant commercial real estate requirement — such as the city of San Diego’s 530,000 square feet in expiring leases over the next 18 months — recognizes the value of securing the most qualified real estate representation.

Such an organization also recognizes the need to plan far enough ahead to allow for necessary needs assessment, site review, selection, negotiation, construction and move management to ensure that any renewal or relocation terms are in that organization’s best interest.

San Diego was prudent in May 2012 to open the request for proposal (RFP) process for its downtown lease renewals, which total more than $65 million. The city’s first lease expiration, 135,000 square feet at 600 B St., is coming up in May. Timely and experienced representation is paramount.

Cassidy Turley valiantly competed in the city’s RFP process with its experienced tenant representation team, providing a detailed proposal and qualifications statement that were both carefully considered by the city along with those submitted by other reputable brokerages.

In September 2012, after an arduous four-month review process, Cassidy Turley was honored and pleased to be notified that the city was recommending the award of the contract because its expertise, proposal and extensive team all were “determined to represent the best overall value for the city.”

Hughes Marino, a competing bidder who had not received the award, filed a protest, and the process dragged on further. However, the city real estate staff and the city attorney rejected the protest and upheld the Cassidy Turley contract recommendation.

Needless to say, Cassidy Turley was disappointed and frankly surprised to receive notice April 9, the day before a news release by Mayor Bob Filner’s office, that Cassidy Turley’s real estate representation services were being terminated in favor of volunteer representation.

Inferences that Cassidy Turley was to receive more than $1 million in commission fees are unfounded. Cassidy Turley substantially discounted its fee schedule for the city by 80 percent of the industry standard to 0.75 percent of the transactions. This fee was to cover the costs associated with a team of eight professionals dedicated to several major and complex city projects for three years.

The size and scope of the city’s requirements deserve unwavering commitment, focus and attention to optimize the execution, and should not, in our opinion, be handled as a “volunteer” assignment.

Over the last 11 months, Cassidy Turley invested many resources free to this endeavor, in good faith and with the city’s best interest in mind. Our team has spent countless hours meeting with public officials, the city’s real estate department and others, to forward the process.

We have been respectfully asking for an audience with the mayor and his staff because of the precarious timing of their first pending lease expiration next month, but we have been unsuccessful in discussing this matter with him.

The city’s real estate requirements are substantial and require the best expertise and a dedicated team with the resources and platform to ensure the city’s best interest is represented.

The Cassidy Turley tenant representation team has an impressive track record, with combined experience of over 100 years and representing some of the largest companies in San Diego including — but by no means limited to — Qualcomm, ViaSat, Bridgepoint Education, Cricket Wireless and Arrowhead Insurance.

Cassidy Turley has unmatched transaction and advisory experience in real estate capital markets, municipality real estate requirements (representing the city of Los Angeles), sophisticated financial analysis, project management and office leasing. Cassidy Turley is the largest commercial brokerage operation in San Diego with over 185 professionals, and we have the deepest bench to work on the city’s complex real estate needs.

We are disappointed that after faithfully participating in the city’s rigorous review process and earning the assignment based on merit and on what staff considered the city’s best interest, that suddenly it appears the rules of the game have changed, without the courtesy of discussion or notification.

Cassidy Turley believes San Diego deserves the best in real estate representation. As always, we continue to offer our full suite of services and expertise to the city to help accomplish its real estate goals.

Broderick is president & CEO of Cassidy Turley in San Diego.

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