MINNEAPOLIS-The desire to consolidate space has become a majortrend among companies, according to a new publicationreleased by CRESA Partners.The Minneapolis-based commercial real estate firm,which has done consolidation for such firms as ADCTelecommunications and Nationwide Insurance, says thetrend is driven by mergers, internal growth, creatingoperational synergies, upgrading the corporate image,downsizing, a slowing economy and pressure to increaseproductivity.

“Cutting expenses is a leading concern of 31%of chief financial officers polled recently by aconsulting firm,” says Bill Tobin, president of CRESAPartners.”Their concern is likely to result in many moreconsolidations.” Tobin cautions that consolidation involves much morethan adding or subtracting square footage. After all,consolidations mean major changes for employees as faras their workspace, colleagues and commuting isconcerned.

CRESA Partners helped manage a recent consolidationfor ADC Telecommunications, based in Minnetonka, MN. ADC had threeseparate facilities and several sales people workingout of their homes in the Chicago area, and wanted tocut the costs of multiple offices, manage growth andenhance its presence in the Chicago market. One groupneeded office space near existing warehouse space androom for significant growth; another needed class Aoffice space; and the third needed basic office spacefor new employees.

A key step in the consolidation was to map out whereexisting employees lived, and estimate their drivetime to work. After all, in tight labor markets,companies cannot afford to lose employees because of amove. ADC’s future labor base and customer base werealso analyzed by CRESA along with otherneeds, such as growth, parking, and current leaseobligations.

Perhaps the most important step was to build supportfor a move both among management and employees, CRESAsays. That meant frequent communications withemployees, typically through the human resourcesdepartment.Ultimately, ADC consolidated its offices in 55,000sf of new space in Itasca, a Chicago suburb. The sitemet ADC’s objectives because it enhanced ADC’svisibility by being near a major freeway, is near the warehouse and allows for growth.

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