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NEW YORK CITY-Competition for a reduced labor pool, worker-centric location decisions and the sustainability wave are key ingredients that determine the future of corporate real estate, according to the 2008 State of the Industry report by CoreNet Global. Last week, GlobeSt.com sat down with the Atlanta-based company here in New York City to discuss these key findings of how industry professionals are driving, and are being driven by, rapid changes in business and the workplace.

The report is a compilation of the views of industry leaders and research findings from over the past year. Those views and findings were then compared to 2004′s CoRE 2010 study, explained CoreNet Global CEO Prentice Knight during the meeting.

Knight tells GlobeSt.com that the report will be updated on a continuous basis. New drivers like energy conservation, carbon reduction, the war for talent, technological change, location strategies and flexible workplace practices have either pronounced themselves for the first time or accelerated faster than expected, compared to our 2004 baseline, Knight said.

“Companies are increasingly using corporate real estate as a resource for the entire company,” he said. “The days of the corporate real estate order-taker are largely over.”

Knight explained that the report concludes that the following global business forces have catapulted corporate real estate executives from tacticians to increased importance to the corporate C-suite: the global war for talent as the baby boomers enter retirement; the mix of multiple generations in the workplace; the ongoing expansion and integration of the global economy, including M&A to enter emerging markets; the monetization of real estate assets and the globalization of real estate investment funds, equities and trusts; the persistent advance of technology; and the velocity, impact, awareness associated with energy costs and carbon reduction, as well as the brand stigma for wasting energy resources.

“The new State of the Industry report paints a picture of an industry that has undergone a stunning transformation,” Knight explained. “The real work of corporate real estate professionals today, and in the future, is locating offices and factories near qualified workers and lowering their companies’ carbon footprints. Corporate real estate executives today wear many hats, are no longer order takers, but are corporate decision makers influencing how business is done in companies the world over.

Knight explains that rising energy costs have become a fundamental driver of business and that corporations have dramatically increased this sustainability focus over the past few years, although he notes that it was also prevalent in the 2004 study. “Sustainability is not going to go away,” he said, adding that sustainability, talent, and alternative work strategies–which reduce energy–are converging. “As technology continues to progress rapidly, alternative workplace strategies will become more prevalent,” he tells GlobeSt.com

The report also describes an increasingly complex role for corporate real estate executives. The report concludes that CREs: have a ‘balcony view’ of the enterprise; are providers and integrators supporting the C-Suite, business units, other internal shared functions like HR and IT; support the business, not real estate; and increasingly come from other parts of the corporation.

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