Partnering For Profit

Every business owner wants to be certain that his or her operations are as efficient as possible. This desire applies equally to the operations of a business owner’s client supply chains–the network of vendors a company relies on to conduct business, from service providers to manufacturers of products.

Concordis Real Estate, a national real estate services corporation operating through seven regional companies that provide real estate services to businesses and commercial investors, exemplifies supply-chain efficiency. The companies in the network are Concordis Key Advisors in Philadelphia; Concordis MCCG in New York City; Concordis Frontier Commercial in Chicago; Concordis Aguirre in Dallas; Concordis Ryland in Houston; Concordis Freeman Group in Washington, D.C.; Concordis Northbridge Group in Oakland, California.

Each company oversees delivery of real estate services in its region and relies upon the others to offer services nationwide. Such services include feasibility and market studies, investment property sales, architecture, engineering, construction management, asset management, tenant and landlord representation, portfolio management, property valuation, risk assessment, and real estate development and planning.

All founding companies of Concordis Real Estate, created in May 2002, are owned by women or minorities. The concept originated with Cushman & Wakefield, one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the world.

Initially, the idea was to create a diverse supplier program in the service of real estate exclusively for Cushman & Wakefield, but the firms’ principals expanded on that idea. A. Ivan Boone, president of Concordis Frontier Commercial and the first president of Concordis Real Estate, says that once the original principals started meeting, “we all thought it would be necessary to form a single, national company owned and controlled by us. That company could then team with Cushman, but would have its own infrastructure to stand on its own in the marketplace.” The capital needed to start Concordis came exclusively from the member companies; Cushman & Wakefield did not invest in the firm.

What makes this alliance work, says Boone, is that each company has established relationships, knowledge, experience, and the capacity to execute business in its respective local market. “We bring the talent and skills of all the offices together,” adds Boone.

According to Boone, the formation of the consortium involved creating the governing documents and erecting an administrative infrastructure. Then, the new firm spent time doing research and analysis with focus group discussions; and corporate clients. The alliance has experienced some growing pains. “We began with all the organizational duties being shared among the local offices. So people had to split their responsibilities to maintain Concordis as well as their own local office. That was a problem,” Boone recalls. “But over the last five years Concordis has progressed into a company that has its own full-time core staff, including an operations director, a strategic planner, and a business development professional.”

Concordis’ business model has proved successful, with the company achieving consolidated annual transaction volume in excess of $180 million in 2006. Boone suggests that companies in such industries as technology, furniture, architecture, law, and accounting could use the Concordis model