CRE Industry Gets First Matchmaker Service

Crelow, the country's first "matchmaker" service for the commercial real estate industry, launched a new service for businesses looking for the perfect office space.

By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor

Jim Simpson, Crelow
Jim Simpson, CEO, Crelow

Crelow, the country’s first commercial real estate “matchmaker” service, has launched its “Bid Requester” service to help small businesses looking for less than 5,000 square feet of office space find the perfect new business home.

“I’ve been involved with commercial real estate for many years, both as a tenant leasing space and as an owner/developer of office properties. It always struck me that the process of finding office space, particularly how tenants and landlords find each other, was very inefficient,” Jim Simpson, Crelow’s CEO, told CPE. “It took too long, was too expensive, and didn’t make it easy for the tenant to find the perfect ‘fit’ in an office space that they need for their business to thrive.”

That past experience eventually led Simpson to assemble the team that developed Crelow.

“Our primary goal is to help tenants find the great office space they deserve—faster and easier,” he said. “Unlike property listing services, Crelow enables tenants to describe exactly what they are looking for in an office space, where they want to be, and what general price range works best for them. This information is then shared with the entire market, enabling the tenant to sit back and let the bids come to them.”

For those tenants who still want to work with a tenant rep, Crelow provides a way to be matched with tenant reps who specialize in what they are looking for through its “Rep Matcher” service.

According to Pat Hagen, Crelow’s chief content officer, the company can help commercial real estate professionals in three different ways.

“Tenant reps can use our Bid Requester service to communicate tenant requirements to the entire market. Historically, it’s been very hard for tenant reps to ‘spread the word’ about the deals they’re working on and Crelow gives them a new way to do this,” he said. “Tenant reps can also sign up for our Rep Matcher service and be introduced to tenants seeking representation. On the landlord side of the transaction, we give landlord reps a new way to find tenants seeking space and to ‘bid’ the space they have available. Here again, landlord reps have never had a source of active tenants like Crelow.”

To find office space using the Bid Requester, a tenant simply logs in and describes what they are looking for in an office space. The entire process takes about 10 minutes.

“They simply draw an area of interest on a map, describe the ‘vibe’ of their company, the style of building they want, how much space they need and in what general configuration, and list the features and amenities they are looking for in their building and the surrounding area,” Hagen said. “They also indicate a desired move­in date and a general price range for their lease.”

This “Bid Request” is then posted to its public Deal Board, free of charge, where everyone in the industry can see it. Landlords and landlord reps who have signed up for Crelow are also automatically notified when Bid Requests that overlap their territories of interest hit the Deal Board. Those landlords and reps can then submit non­binding bids to the tenant. If the tenant likes what they see, an introduction is made.”

To date, roughly 200 Bid Requests have been submitted to the Crelow Deal Boards in Minneapolis, Denver, Houston, Phoenix and Seattle, and more than 500 bids have been submitted in return. The total lease value of the Bid Requests generated so far exceeds $45 million dollars.