Recently, Maguire/Thomas Partners held a dinner party at the lavish Rex restaurant for brokers who handled transactions at Crocker Center in 1985, and honored them with crystal statuettes depicting the Crocker Center's twin towers, set in a base of the same granite used on the shell of the buildings.
During the leasing period, Maguire/Thomas Partners at first used an off-site marketing center that overlooked the property, then built an on-site center, which permitted the dramatic drawing-of-the-curtain presentation ritual in posh surroundings equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment and a sampling of furnishings and architectural models.
Luncheons aimed at bringing together and pitching to the brokerage community hit a peak recently when Miller-Klutznick-Davis-Gray Co. and 20th Century Fox, developers of the 34-story, 649-square-foot Fox Plaza Building in Century City, hosted a lavish event on the movie set of "Big Trouble in Little China" on the Fox lot.
Expensive but Crucial
The purpose, of course, was to acquaint the brokers with their new Moderne Fox Plaza office complex with architecture by Pereira Associates that is essentially a prismatic form designed to create a strong vertical presence.
William H. Hammerstein, president of Search Builders Inc., which has high-rise projects and research-and-development office parks in San Diego, Los Angeles (the Wilshire Brentwood Plaza), Milpitas and Burlingame, is another firm believer in the effectiveness of marketing centers.
"They are expensive but they can be a crucial marketing tool. We are currently building such a center on the upper floor of one of three buildings in our Bay Park Plaza complex in Burlingame," Hammerstein said.
"A center that overlooks the site or is part of the project, is ideally what we strive for in making our presentation to clients, and it allows them to relate more directly to what we are trying to create for them. We also find that brokers use them a lot and also appreciative having the support of a sophisticated environment and presentation available to them.
Assist the Brokers
"In the business of leasing, the broker is king."
"We try to assist by always holding broker openings and keeping them abreast of our development through newsletters and by direct contact. When it comes to dealing with space needs and price negotiation, a broker can make or break a deal. I know, I've been there," said Hammerstein, a former Coldwell Banker broker.
Gregg Gann, vice president and Westside district manager for Grubb & Ellis, a veteran of commercial leasing on the Westside, had another view.
"It is a highly competitive area, where many buildings are already completed." he said. "In those cases, marketing information centers aren't that much help. A prospective tenant would rather walk through a completed building.
"Shoe leather can accomplish a lot more."