CB Richard Ellis Launches Asset Repositioning Group

Corporate owners can have many reasons to get surplus properties out of their portfolios, ranging from accounting to post-merger strategy. In a bid to further raise its profile in the specialized field of marketing surplus assets, CB Richard Ellis Inc. is launching a new practice within its global corporate services group. Property owners often take a less than efficient approach to repositioning and selling these sites, director of operations for CB Richard Ellis’ new asset repositioning management group Bruce Rasher (pictured) told CPN. “Clients typically engage these services independently on an ad-hoc basis and almost put each service in its own silo,” he explained. “They’re not always integrating the scope and schedule and strategy into a cohesive platform.” That approach can drag out the process and delay the transaction, he noted. In an effort to streamline the process, CBRE’s new asset repositioning practice will coordinate a comprehensive set of services, such as asset valuation, highest-and-best-use studies, economic impact projections, conceptual design, project management and consulting on government incentives. The new group will work closely with the client’s legal, demolition or environmental remediation consultants. And since closing a sale is the goal of the process, brokers will advise the client and the asset repositioning unit throughout. Although investment sales have dropped dramatically in all property types this year, CBRE is establishing the new group in response to broad trends rather than today’s market conditions, Rasher said. For example, surplus property is a common by-product of corporate mergers and acquisitions. Accounting issues, too, can make marketing excess properties desirable. Today’s accounting standards call for owners to disclose surplus assets to shareholders via their balance sheets, Rasher explained. That encourages owners to sell surplus sites rather than simply mothballing and holding onto them. Within surplus asset consulting, brownfield remediation offers a promising niche. Getting unwanted brownfield properties off the books can be both a top priority and a major headache for owners, Rasher noted. On the regulatory side, many government agencies now promote brownfield redevelopment through financial incentives and streamlined approvals. As a result, transforming contaminated parcels into mixed-use projects, residential developments and other uses is far more feasible today than in the past.