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NEW YORK CITY-Spawned by a broker agreement formed with computer maker HP nearly two years ago, Cushman & Wakefield officially unveiled Concordis Real Estate at a press meeting held here yesterday. The minority- and woman-owned business alliance, consisting of nine independent equity members, is being billed as the first organization of its kind in the real estate field and is designed to fill a diversity need in an industry historically known as an “old boys club.”

Derrick Mashore, executive managing director of global corporate services for Cushman & Wakefield, explained that when HP hired C&W as its exclusive broker for the Americas, the technology company expressed a need to fill “its diversity contribution requirements,” in the real estate sector. The solution developed by Cushman was an alliance of minority- and woman-owned businesses specializing in various aspects of real estate, from architecture to consulting.

“We realized that if this solution was good enough for HP, then it was probably also good enough for the rest of the Fortune 2000,” said Mashore.

This led to the creation of Concordis, which comprises: •Aguirre Corp., a facility-solutions concern based in Dallas; •E.L. Martin & Co., a commercial consulting and brokerage company based in New York City; •The Freeman Group LLC, a commercial leasing and consulting company based in Washington, DC; •Harris Smith Design, a firm of architects, interior designers and planners based in New York City; •Mayfield Gentry, a real estate services firm based in Detroit; •Northbridge Group, which negotiates the purchase and disposition of real estate and is based in Oakland, CA; •Ryland Enterprises Inc., a commercial services firm based in Houston; •Thomas Coats and Assoc., a real estate advisory firm based in Chicago; and•Frontier Commercial LLC, a brokerage, consulting and advisory firm also based in Chicago.

Ivan Boone, head of Frontier Commercial, is serving as president of Concordis and, currently, the new alliance is operating from Frontier’s Chicago offices, Mashore told GlobeSt.com. The nine members are all sharing the administrative duties of the new Delaware non-stock corporation, he added.

Cushman & Wakefield has no equity interest in the venture, but it does have an agreement with Concordis to share business whenever possible, creating new opportunities for all parties involved.

According to Mashore, minority- and woman-owned firms contributed to about 5% of all corporate real estate transactions last year; however, he feels that the new alliance might possibly double that figure if not more. “We think the ceiling might be as high as 20%,” Mashore told GlobeSt.com, adding that C&W anticipates seeing a strong ROI in terms of incremental business. C&W declined to reveal how much of an investment it has made in the new venture.

In addition to HP, the alliance has already begun to generate new clients for the involved parties. “Cushman & Wakefield and Concordis clearly provide a mutual advantage to both parties. Neither would have succeeded alone in acquiring the business of Detroit Police and Fireman’s Pension Fund. Together we were the best choice,” said Boone.

The $100-million fund was recently awarded to C&W and Concordis for both project management and leasing activities. Concordis has also recently begun working with Sears, per C&W’s existing relationship with the retail chain; and Discovery Communications has been introduced to C&W through Concordis member the Freeman Group.

Mashore explained that most corporations have four primary objections to fulfilling their real estate diversity requirements: they can’t find appropriate vendors, they have a lack of information about qualified firms, the geographical reach of these minority firms isn’t great enough and, ultimately, they want to keep their total number of vendors to a minimum.

“The structure of Concordis meets and exceeds the goals our corporate clients set for us,” he said, adding that the role of C&W will boost the reputation of Concordis in the industry.

The chosen companies, according to Mashore, all met a list of criteria. Specifically, each firm had: an established business spanning more than six years; experience servicing corporate America, including Fortune 500 companies; a practice of completing work outside of their respective local markets; and a culturally compatible environment consistent with the Concordis business plan.

While there are no specific plans to add new members to the alliance, Mashore did note that with a year of operation under its belt, Concordis is now beginning to consider seeking new equity partners.

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