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DALLAS-The North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors is asking its members to “get connected.” The latest initiative brings a data exchange via an alliance with Independence, MO-based Xceligent.

The North Texas Commercial Data Exchange is set up as a wholly owned subsidiary of NTCAR. The plan, for now, is to go live Nov. 1 with an inventory of 18,000 buildings of Dallas-Fort Worth office, industrial and retail product. Multifamily properties and land listings will be added later.

The Internet-based listing will contain all buildings larger than 10,000 sf and listings for available space in smaller structures. Database information will come from “charter members” who will plunk down $3,000 apiece in exchange for a $3,500 return in subscription discounts. Additional initial information will be gleaned by a 25-member Xceligent staff driving the metroplex to collect more data.

NTCAR has about half of the 40 charter slots filled, David Hicks, NTCAR president, tells GlobeSt.com. He predicts the balance will be shored up in two weeks. Meanwhile, those who are on board represent the metroplex’s large houses.

NTCAR’s tried two or three times in the past to get a members-only database off the ground. The Xceligent alliance is poised to succeed where the others failed because it is already at work in 14 other cities. That’s part of the allure since NTCAR will share technology costs yet “govern” an Xceligent-staffed team.

Hicks says a Who’s Who of DFW commercial real estate formed a board two years ago to pursue an in-house database service. The feeling was and is “we need to take control of our own data” instead of buying it back from the for-profit firms in the market, he explains. To date, about $100,000 has been spent to determine the best course to follow.

Hicks admits buy-in is key to the cooperative effort. But then, he’s talking $69.95 per month for members and $110 per month for non-members. Database users must be licensed real estate brokers or the firm’s support staff.

The low cost challenges others in the same business, but it’s important because not all can afford the often hefty price tags of the competitors. Hicks says about 1,000 of NTCAR’s 2,000 members are independents or shops of three or less. The existing providers, he says, “are cost prohibitive for the one and two-man shops.”

The database comes with a “time-out” component for brokers who fail to update their listings. A reminder notice is tossed out every 15 days while additional hoops must be jumped through if updates aren’t done within 30 days. The goal is to have quality data in a timely fashion.

Xceligent’s CEO Doug Curry says the important components are local control and shared technology. The system has various security levels so that information can be kept for internal use or kicked out to local, public (Web sites) or national exchanges.

The database’s prime competitor will be the CoStar Group, the provider with the price tag that brokers claim is too costly for their checkbooks. CoStar’s CEO Andrew Florance tells GlobeSt.com that he’s seen a lot of competitors come and go in the DFW market. In metros where CoStar has strong competition, it’s managed to expand rather than contract, he says.

“Competition is good for our (CoStar) business,” he adds. “The Realty IQs created an awareness in Dallas. LoopNet created a lot of awareness for the industry…But, I think everyone should be careful where they put their upfront money.”

Florance says most associations have some sort of database service. In Los Angeles, the 40-year-old AIR “is the best competitor we have. And, we co-exist there very well,” he stresses.

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