In Dallas, A New Generation Of Office Tenants Needs A New Kind Of Property Manager
Dallas’ office market has been on a hot streak, and owners have come to expect that tenants will quickly fill in their vacancies and line up to occupy their new buildings. But as the Dallas market continues to mature, developers and owners, especially those in the mid-market, will have to provide much more than just four walls.
“During the boom, the philosophy was that property management could be secondary,” Peak CRE CEO Santiago Jorba said. “But now the demand is slowing somewhat, and for owners, it’s a wake-up call. If your building’s property management is slow or unresponsive, if your tenants can’t pay rent or report issues online with ease, you’re going to lose out to your competitors.”
In the past 10 years, over 120 national companies have relocated their headquarters to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Others have opened satellite offices, or significantly expanded their presence in the city. For the past two years, the market has been in such a level of flux that if an office tenant vacates, another will be ready to take their place within weeks, Jorba said.
Now, the market is shaking out. As companies finally start to find offices they like, and as fewer companies line up to occupy a space, owners’ focus will have to shift to retaining their tenants and providing them with a higher level of ease, service and care, Jorba said.
“The moment that we don’t have 99% occupancy in Dallas, or if the economy takes any sort of hit, property management is going to become non-negotiable,” Jorba said. “Full-service management is going to be especially important for Class-B and Class-C properties as they try to set themselves apart in a competitive field."
Jorba said that tech-forward property managers like Peak provide access to all their forms, information and services online. Their tenants pay rent online and report needed repairs over text message. He said the ease of working with a tech-enabled property manager puts Peak’s clients miles ahead in terms of preparation for the next phase of Dallas’ growth.
Much of the competition in the next stage of the Dallas boom will be in Class-B and Class-C properties, Jorba said. Many Class-A buildings in Downtown Dallas offer a host of on-site amenities that these lower-tier properties lack, but property management can help to bridge those gaps.
“The properties in Downtown Dallas are like cruise ships — they have on-site restaurants and stores to make sure employees have everything they want,” Jorba said. “We work largely in areas where those buildings are a rarity, so we try to add amenities into the equation. We can add some of those resources as a service, say by bringing in food trucks twice a week to our properties, or providing a tax consultant during tax season.”
Jorba said good property management is not just top-down, but also bottom-up. Peak employs on-site managers to be the face of the property for every tenant’s employees.
The sort of face-to-face interactions that property managers have with tenants can also contribute to higher retention and better client service. If an on-site manager notices that a client is running low on space, Jorba said, Peak can work with them to expand their lease, or even suggest a larger office space at another one of the company’s properties.
“We’re talking to tenants, exploring their office spaces to keep in touch with exactly what tenants need,” Jorba said. “We also work with all the vendors and janitorial staff who can have insights on what they want, or how the tenants are changing. Peak acts as a kind of nexus for all the information and makes sure that our owners can predict everything that happens at one of our properties.”
This feature was produced by Bisnow Branded Content in collaboration with Peak CRE. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.