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Help Tenants, Developers : New Ideas Pay Off for Consultants

December 29, 1985

Gilbert Jordan and Deborah Feldman each had an idea that is paying off in new types of companies.

They are consultants, but their focuses differ. Feldman's is design management. Jordan's is tenant development.

"It's my job to help a client get into a building once the building is up," Jordan explained.

He sees his clients through every step, from aiding in broker/landlord negotiations to selecting interior designers, contractors and other consultants. He also monitors their work.

Chooses Design Teams

Feldman also selects and monitors, or--as she phrased it--"manages" but she usually works for developers in choosing and overseeing design teams.

"I had been doing design management for Maguire Thomas Partners in Los Angeles (where she evaluated architects and planners and assembled teams for such major projects as downtown's Crocker Center) and then Knoll International in New York (where she was design adviser to the president, evaluating and selecting designers and architects to create furnishings and office systems), and I spoke to many investors and realized that nobody (on the outside) was offering this service," she said. "You could also count on one hand those people who were doing it as members of corporation staffs."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday January 12, 1986 Home Edition Real Estate Part 8 Page 19 Column 1 Real Estate Desk 2 inches; 50 words Type of Material: Correction
In a Dec. 29 article, Deborah Feldman, who heads a Santa Monica-based design management firm called Design Link, was also described as an architect and urban planner. Although she is a graduate of the Columbia School of Architecture, she is not a licensed or practicing architect. State law allows only practicing architects to use the title of architect.

Jordan, who most recently worked for Cushman Realty Corp. in Los Angeles as senior vice president of the firm's management division, said, "I am the only consultant in tenant development with hands-on experience in all the areas I coach on." Among these are real estate brokerage, management, consulting, contracting and developing. He was also a principal of an interior architectural and design firm.

Tenant Development

While at Cushman, he was a consultant to some of the world's major corporations in the development of more than 6.5 million square feet of executive corporate space. Altogether, he figures that he has been closely involved in the development of more than 9 million square feet.

Jordan & Associates may be the only consulting firm in Los Angeles to specialize in tenant development. His offices are downtown. Feldman's firm, known as Design Link, has offices in Santa Monica.

Feldman is an architect and urban planner. She was graduated from the Columbia School of Architecture in New York and did post-graduate work at the International Center of Restoration in Rome.

"I did restoration architecture for a number of years, but now, I haven't done it for 10 years," she said. That's when she moved to Los Angeles. "I worked in Finland on restorations after doing my post-graduate work, but then I got more interested in modern architecture, because it is evolving, and I'm interested in seeing where it's going."

Influences Hiring

In development circles nationwide, there is a trend in hiring top-flight architects, but many developers have trouble pinpointing which architects are best for certain jobs. This is where Feldman steps in. "I have an opportunity to influence people about who they hire," she said, and as a result, some buildings are being built that probably would never be built without her input.

Using her firm to coordinate the design team, her client--whether an individual who is a developer or a board of directors for a large concern--also has more of a chance of getting a project--large or small--completed on time and on budget, she said.

The reason: "Architects don't always speak the same language as their clients, and a lot falls through the cracks." She cites one example of a major project in Los Angeles in which the developer lost $500,000 in design fees.

Jordan's firm, which is less than a year old, concentrates on projects that are 100,000 square feet in size or more. "My largest project right now is for Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co.," he said. He is also doing smaller projects for Riordan, Caps, Carbone & McKinzie, the first tenant in California Plaza; McLaughlin & Irvin, the first tenant in Grand Financial Plaza; Memel, Jacobs, Pierno, Gersh & Ellsworth in the 6500 Wilshire Building, and Walt Disney Productions.

Feldman's firm is about a year and a half old, but it is consultant to the Howard Hughes Development Corp.'s 926-acre Playa Vista community planned in Los Angeles as well as to several other developers throughout the country on single-building projects.

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