ORLANDO-Despite dire warnings from the print media in the last few years that buildings no longer would be a priority consideration in future corporate real estate strategies, the bricks and mortar concept is alive and well, says Stephen E. Roulac, CEO of San Rafael, CA-based Roulac Group.

In fact, he says, “it’s absolutely thriving despite being read the last rites” by many in the media.

“They were all red herrings,” Roulac told attendees at the Florida Congress of the International Development Research Council meeting at the Orlando World Marriott Resort.

The five-day sessions, taken in by 2,600 global professionals, end Wednesday.

The national radio show host and author of a dozen books on the corporate real estate sector says “never underestimate the importance of place” in selecting a corporate site.

Unlike past decades, “people today can choose where they work” because of the advances in telecommunications and the information technologies.

“ABC lost 100 key executives when they chose to move from New York to Burbank (CA),” the California CEO says.

Buildings have to feel good to workers and customers, Roulac says. “You can have a great site but a lousy building.”

Property and place factors alone can be deal-killers. The CEO cites basketball legend Michael Jordan’s 1995 experience as an example.

Jordan was negotiating with Addidas, Nike and Converse for promotional product contracts. Converse had featured another court star, Julius Erving, in its marketing campaigns for years. Jordan was an inveterate fan of ‘Dr. J,’ Erving’s media-given nickname.

He was eager to follow Erving as Converse’s top pitchman. But when he visited Converse’s headquarters (North Reading, MA), Jordan was uneasy, according to the star’s autobiography cited by Roulac.

“The place (building) just didn’t look traditional and I really didn’t feel comfortable there,” Jordan stated. “I remember having bad vibes.”

Jordan wound up working for Nike and had “a $5 million positive impact on their sales,” recalls Roulac. As for Addidas, Jordan’s autobiography states, “My heart was in Addidas, but they never offered me a contract.”

Roulac says “place and space are corporate symbols” but many corporations “never get it right.” That alone is not surprising, he says, but what is surprising “is that they pay little or no attention to having not gotten it right.”

He cites McDonalds Corp., Starbucks and the Ritz-Carlton hotel company as examples of corporations that are paying attention to symbols at their properties.

Corporate headquarters locations and corporate activities are coming under intense scrutiny these days as the print, radio and television media increase their coverage of the business community.

“You’re going to see more and more buildings on the evening news,” Roulac says.

Above all, he concludes, the media’s premature announcements of the untimely death of the bricks and mortar community, like author Mark Twain’s obituary, are greatly exaggerated.

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