Consolidation, cutbacks, layoffs, recession. These are just a few of the milestones on the corporate real estate landscape these days, and Gerard Vanella, president of the New York City chapter of Nacore, has viewed them all. Vanella, who is also vice president of global real estate and client services for JP Morgan Chase, can also add merger to the list as his own company absorbs the year-2000 marriage of two financial powerhouses. Ironically, Vanella is also witnessing major changes in his volunteer landscape as well, with the coming merger of Nacore and IDRC into CorNet Global, a coming together that will create a 600-member organization of the combined New York chapter alone and 6,000 people worldwide. All of the changes bring out a certain philosophical spin in Vanella, who recently discussed the pitfalls of puzzling out a corporate real estate strategy in what are–to say the least–bizarre times. If you could boil the overall corporate real estate climate down to a few sentences, what would they be?

Vanella: The industry goes through cycles that lag behind the general business trend by roughly six months to a year. So in general terms we start our contraction or growth a bit late. We were beginning to do just that prior to September 11 and were finding a lot of corporations–including our own–getting into cost-containment or cost-cutting modes. Actually, my company was consolidating, but that was more a fallout of the acquisition than the economy, so it would have happened anyway. In the New York market generally, we’re now experiencing a bit of both dynamics, in that we have companies that are rethinking their relocation decisions and some that are scrambling for space. How much of the cost-cutting and containment can be attributed to the general recession and how much to the specific events of last month?

Vanella: Who knows? There’s really no discernible point where one takes magnitude over the other–with the exception of the industries that are most directly affected, such as the airlines. Let’s take each dynamic individually. First the economy. The number of corporate layoffs has been huge, of course. What is that doing to real estate portfolios?

Vanella: A lot depends on the specific commitment to that space. If they’re short of term, the opportunity is there to sublease, obviously. Otherwise it goes dark. To take off your Nacore hat for a moment, what is the situation with the consolidation at Chase?

Vanella: At the time of the acquisition, we had a number of leases ready to expire and this gave us the opportunity to reposition our portfolio in the tri-state area, including our move into 1.3 million sf in Jersey City. In terms of September 11, we ran a story recently about an IDRC symposium where the suggestion was made that corporate executives should reside in different buildings. What’s your thinking on that?

Vanella: That’s been the thought for a number of years, actually. And it’s not a terrorism issue as much as it is simply good business sense. How do you think the attack will affect building security long term?

Vanella: Obviously, we will see a lot more discussion on building access. When a corporate real estate manager starts looking for space, you can bet that security will be brought up a lot earlier in the conversation. Turning to other issues, the trend over the past few years on the part of many brokers has been to act as strategic partners with the in-house corporate real estate executive. Can a hired gun work effectively on anything more than a single transaction?

Vanella: That’s a really fine balance for any broker to achieve, and it’s been my experience that services can range from being simply order takers to truly being a strategic partner with the corporate real estate department. That’s a relationship that takes time and patience to develop–but working with a talented broker, it is possible and can be beneficial to both parties.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.



Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.