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Did You Hear? Barendrecht Can Tell If Your Building's Internet Is Up to Snuff

A Daily Look at the Movers and Shakers in Commercial Real Estate
October 8, 2018

Arie Barendrecht with his girlfriend, Sara Molinaro, and their dog Fozzie.

Arie Barendrecht never thought he’d one day lead an effort to gauge and certify office buildings’ connectivity.

But while working as a management consultant in New York City and being around the startup technology and real estate scenes, Barendrecht noticed a trend when talking with tech firm owners and office tenants. “Over and over again, I heard complaints about the state of internet connectivity in New York City,” he said. “They kept having to send their employees home because the internet kept going down.”

Barendrecht ultimately left management consulting and in 2013 founded WiredScore, a company that accesses and grades a building’s telecom and tech connectivity for reliability and speed. “Digital communication is not something that a traditional landlord has put top mind as a key focal point of a building,” Barendrecht said.

The mindset of landlords began to change when some tenants began demanding for the costs associated with internet outages.

Today, WiredScore has 350 landlord clients and has certified 1,400 buildings in six countries. In October 2017, the company launched its Wired Certification program and has seen quick acceptance and adoption of its services. Some of Toronto’s largest building owners, including Cadillac Fairview, Ivanhoe Cambridge and Hines, were on board when WiredScore started there.

The company got its start in New York, where it worked to establish its Wired Certified levels with the New York City Economic Development Corp. and the WiredScore Connectivity Advisory Committee, whose members were tech, telecom and real estate executives and experts. Real estate developer Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law, was an early investor in WiredScore, but in 2017 sold his stake to Bessemer Venture Partners, a Redwood City, California-based firm that invested in LinkedIn and Yelp, and Fifth Wall Venture of Los Angeles.

Now with its new ownership team in place, Barendrecht has a lofty goal for WiredScore.

“Our mission is to become a global standard for connectivity, to create one agreed-upon standard everyone knows and understands like Energy Star or LEED,” Barendrecht told CoStar News. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a widely accepted certification program for energy efficient and environmentally responsible buildings, issued by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

While the LEED certification program is run by a non-profit organization and Energy Star by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy, WiredScore, a profitable company, earns revenue from landlords who pay for the assessment and certification of their buildings.

In return, Barendrecht said, landlords can leverage their connectivity certifications to attract tenants seeking the most technologically advanced space, and they can charge a premium for it. Office space in Wired Certified Platinum buildings in Manhattan commanded average rents of $72 per square foot per year, compared with an average rents of $59 a foot for the lowest level of Wired Certification, according to a CoStar report done for WiredScore.

When an owner hires WiredScore, the firm sends a team of certified engineers and technicians who spend hours understanding and rating the building’s connectivity and risk of service interruption. The building is then given a connectivity grade.

The baseline Wired Certified grade means the landlord has taken steps to reduce outages and that the building can support current tenant connectivity needs. The top grade of Wired Certified Platinum means the building offers state-of-the-art connectivity and can support tenants’ current and future technology and telecom needs. To earn higher levels of certification, buildings must use several high-quality internet service providers (ISPs) and have equipment that offers redundant and resilient telecom structure.

As part of the certification process, building owners get a roadmap on how to upgrade their buildings and ensure they do not become operationally obsolete, Barendrecht said. Looking ahead, the opportunity to grow WiredScore is immense because “the vast majority of buildings in North America were built before the internet,” he added.

Did you know?  Barendrecht is the son of Dutch immigrants. He and his girlfriend live in New York City and spend much of their free time with Fozzie, their pound puppy who resembles and is named for the famous Muppet, Fozzie Bear.



Avison Young Hires Top New York Brokerage Executive


Joe Harbert, who’s held leadership roles at several major real estate brokerage firms in New York City, just jumped to Avison Young.

In his new role, Harbert will serve as a principal and director of operations for the firm’s fast-growing Northeast Region. He’ll also take a leadership role in enhancing key service lines, including office and retail leasing, investment sales and project management. In addition, Harbert will help Avison Young recruit talent as it grows aggressively in the Tri-State Region of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where the firm has added more than 60 real estate professionals since the beginning of the year.

Harbert’s years of leadership in the region and extensive knowledge of the New York City and Northeast markets “will be instrumental” as Avison Young expands its service lines, said Mitti Liebersohn, president of the firm’s New York City office.

Harbert has more than 30 years of experience in commercial real estate, having previously served as president of national client services and eastern region president at Colliers International. Before Colliers, Harbert was chief operating officer for Cushman & Wakefield’s Tri-State Region and New York metro region leaders. Prior to his work at Cushman, Harbert held senior positions with CBRE, Insignia/ESG and Edward S. Gordon Co.



more moves


Goff’s Crescent Promotes Hanrattie


Crescent Real Estate LLC, a Texas-based real estate investment advisor, developer and operator led by Chairman John Goff, has promoted Chris Hanrattie to senior vice president of investments. In his new role, Hanrattie is responsible for all hospitality acquisitions and investments on behalf of Crescent.

Hanrattie, who played a key role in deployment of capital of Crescent’s GP Invitation Fund I, has led the acquisition of more than 1,675 hotel rooms and $500 million in investments. The investments include Crescent’s $30 million purchase of Dallas’ Crescent Rosewood, renamed Hotel Crescent Court, and the legendary Brown Palace Hotel complex in Denver, which Crescent acquired earlier this year.

Hanrattie originally joined Crescent in 2004, left in 2006 to work at M-M Properties and Goldman Sachs subsidiary Archon Capital before rejoining Crescent in 2009. He was promoted to vice president in 2014. During his 20-year career in real estate and finance, Hanrattie has managed the acquisition and disposition of over $2.5 billion in real estate assets in several property categories.



NAI Partners Nabs Top Property Manager


Houston-based NAI Partners hired Chris Bosler from Stream Realty Partners as vice president of property management in its landlord services division. In his new role at NAI Partners, Bosler will be responsible for day-to-day operation of NAI Property Service Group, including the company’s property management operations in Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas.

Bosler has worked in commercial real estate for nearly 20 years. At Dallas-based Stream Realty, Bosler spent the past six years overseeing the company’s property management division comprising 10 million square feet in 65 buildings across the Houston region.

Jim Tainter, managing director of NAI Partners’ Landlord Services Division, said Bosler will allow the firm to continue its rapid growth. So far in 2018, NAI Partners’ landlord service group has grown its leasing and management portfolio by 32 percent, to 10.7 million square feet.



More on Eastdil Atlanta Departures


Though their departures from Eastdil hit the press at the same time last week, Kennedy Hicks and Michael McDonald did not resign at the same time.

Hicks, who starts at Atlanta REIT Cousins Properties next month, resigned before and independently from McDonald, who joined Cushman & Wakefield in Dallas last week. At Cousins, Hicks will be senior vice president of investments, and she will report to Cousins President and Chief Operating Officer Colin Connolly, who will replace Larry Gellerstedt as chief executive at the firm on Jan. 1, 2019.


Did You Hear? is a new column focusing on real estate's movers and shakers. Send new executive hires and promotion announcements to news@costar.com.  |  Check out Friday's issue of Did You Hear? and follow the news on Twitter @TheCoStarGroup and @TWilbert.


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