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LOS ANGELES-Locartis, an operator of more than 300 office business centers worldwide, has chosen CB Richard Ellis as the exclusive provider of transaction management services for the European company’s US roll-out. Bill Mooney, SVP of global corporate services for CBRE, tells GlobeSt.com that Locartis is planning to introduce its office business centers in partnership with property owners in 15 major markets within the next 12 to 18 months.

CBRE will provide Locartis with real estate market and regional economic analysis, brokerage, transaction management and project management services for its expansion into the US. The Locartis business centers will be located in class A office buildings, primarily within CBDs, and will generally range in size from 15,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet.

“Locartis creates international visibility for about 70 US business centers through its web marketing platform, but this new initiative will establish centers that are managed by Locartis,” Mooney says. He notes that the European firm will be amenable to working with landlords in any of the “full gamut of solutions” for creating an office business center, whether it be a master lease, a joint venture with the landlord or some other business arrangement.

The first US cities that Locartis opens in will be in the East and Southeast and will be the first phase of a national roll-out. Mooney says Locartis recognizes that despite the recession, the long-term trends are positive in markets that have a history of strong office employment.

Leasing space in a business center appeals strongly to many tenants in today’s uncertain economic client because such leases typically offer “a range of flexibility that is much higher” than that of a conventional office lease, Mooney says. “There is no question that if you are a start-up or want to minimize out-of-pocket capital, this is a solution to really outsource your office space needs to a third-party provider,” he says. Philip Parris, president and chief executive of Locartis, says that the firm’s research shows that more and more corporations are turning to office business centers for a wider range of business units, including those with up to 50 or more office workers.

Business centers represent an appealing business proposition for landlords because, “These centers tend to be terrific incubators for larger space needs within a building,” Mooney says. “It’s very common that a tenant will take two offices in a shared executive office suite and two years later they are taking 10,000 square feet in a direct lease with the landlord.”

According to Kevin Danehy, EVP of global corporate services, CBRE was selected by Locartis after a formal evaluation process conducted during the third and fourth quarters of 2008. The CB Richard Ellis Locartis client team includes Mooney, senior transaction manager Fred Sullivan, EVP Jeffrey L. Heller and senior associate Peter Hedley. The Locartis team will partner with CBRE brokers in every market where Locartis launches.

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