Ibis Plaza launched its new Ibis Express offices earlier this year. Despite great interest from the local business community there was an initial lull in leasing. So Christopher Jerjian, president of the company, took a couple of steps back to trace what could be wrong. He had transformed Ibis Plaza into a thriving office complex in the 1990s and Express Offices was supposed to address the needs of small and medium-size organizations and to lead the business into a market segment that was being ignored.
After talking to brokers and friends alike he realized that the traditional way of leasing office space through brokers didn’t fit the model for the small spaces he was trying to lease. Two brokers that will remain unnamed openly told Jerjian that brokers cannot justify investing the same amount of time and effort to lease a 2,000 square foot deal as a 500 square foot deal. It just doesn’t pay and that the best cure for this is to have in-house salesperson.
In May he hired a new director of leasing, Ellen Dollard, to help market and lease his “Express Offices,” a turnkey “ready to move in now” office space, which caters to the needs of small users who want flexible terms, such as month-to-month leases and the ability to expand or downsize when they need to. “Ellen was the perfect person. She had worthy credentials but little commercial real estate experience. In my opinion this was a strength, because she could bring a fresh approach to our marketing and leasing. She’s credible, detail orientated, and enjoys interacting with prospective tenants,” says Jerjian. It took a few months to organize and plan a strategy but Dollard started renting space as if she’s been in leasing offices her entire life. She closed a deal with Scott Elliott, executive director, PCIL for 2,000 square feet in late August. This was followed by another deal in early October, this time in the Express Offices with Ashit Patel of HPL Services, then another with Leslie Parham of Achieve Test Prep, and then another Brian Schneider of PPA. Ibis is also currently negotiating a conventional deal for 7,500 square feet for a five-year term. As recently as last week Dollard closed yet another deal with Ram Kattubadi of GAR Technologies for an Express Offices suite. Furthermore, Dollard added, “Prospects just love what they see. The suites are well presented with nice finishes which include wood bases and chair rails and every suite has natural light all for one rent with no nickel and diming extra costs. It even includes free internet service.”
In September Ibis launched its new Venue Center, which provides businesses and individuals with the ability to rent small meeting rooms and small and large training and conference rooms at very competitive prices. Tenants at Ibis Plaza also get the benefit of deep discounts for renting these facilities which are available by the hour, day, week or month. “It’s basically a complete package,” said Dollard. “We now offer conventional office space, Express Offices and space for rent by the hour or day all in one location.” The Ibis Venue Center is open to the public. Imagine you can rent a small meeting room for four people as low as $15/hour. This kind of space works for tutors, attorneys and salespeople alike.
For more information leasing or renting any type of space at Ibis call Ellen Dollard at 609-588-6900 ext 103. See ad, page 25.