, Bank of America, IBM and Prudential Insurance have formed what is believed to be the world’s largest e-marketplace exchange for corporate real estate transactions.

The netStruxr application, SPACEdirect, developed over months of collaboration among the four entities, is the first buyer-centric, Web-based portal to serve the real estate community. Through SPACEdirect, real estate professionals will be able to contact suppliers and access a diverse menu of cost-saving e-strategies, the partners say.

Initially, the three companies planned to form their own integrated on-line application, but then elected to work with netStruxr to develop the service. Technology to run the new e-marketplace exchange will be provided by IBM.

Robert Patterson, Bank of America’s senior vice president of corporate real estate, tells the bank started working on the project in February, got together with netStruxr in June and started beta testing in August. “We’re still working on it,” says Patterson. “Now it will be rolled out to the rest of my group and to the brokerage firms that we currently use in our transaction process.”

Patterson says the project was fortunate in having the expertise of IBM. “IBM looked at it from the demand side rather than from the supply side, so the conversion of the application they wanted to do, which was that of real estate services, over to real estate transactions, was a relatively simple one,” says Patterson.

Patterson also notes that netStruxr’s founders are real estate people, so that conversations were more real estate oriented rather than technical. “That certainly made us very comfortable,” he says. The three companies and netStruxr think their new Web-based portal will revolutionize the commercial property market by providing quality information, expediting the leasing process and lowering transaction costs.

Michael Baumann, former head of corporate real estate at Prudential, will be joining netStruxr as executive vice president and general manager of SPACEdirect. He estimates that corporate real estate organizations currently spend about 400 hours on a single real estate space transaction. Through SPACEdirect, he predicts, the process will be streamlined.

According to Greg Williams, CEO of netStruxr, corporations generally contract for a complex range of customized services, and are “poorly served” by current Web tools. Bank of America, IBM and Prudential have taken ownership stakes in netStruxr. The three companies collectively bring to SPACEdirect annual real estate transaction volumes of about $3 billion.

For related news, click on:Bank of America, IBM, Prudential Enter On-line Real Estate Transaction Industry

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