In 1993, Moss Realty Inc. was the only real estate firm in the city that advocated exclusively for tenants. For 10 years, this boutique firm helped tenants navigate through the corporate real estate process before being introduced to Cresa. In 2003, with their mandates aligned, the Alberta arm of Cresa was born.
“As professionals in the industry it was very apparent that tenants were not benefiting from the same level of representation enjoyed by landlords. It was this observation that drove Mark and I to start Cresa Alberta all those years ago,” says Gary Jones, founding principal of Cresa. “A firm based on integrity, respect and an unwavering dedication to our clients’ best interests. We are extremely proud of our accomplishments to date and look forward to seeing that same commitment to our founding values continue on into the future.”
Two of the founders, Mark Moss and Gary Jones, are still active in the company and set the high standards of service from the beginning. Cresa has become a one-stop shop with its fully-integrated service model. The approach Cresa takes is to understand their client’s business and help align the real estate with the business plan. Cresa handles everything from strategic planning through identifying viable options and the most efficient and cost-effective space to negotiating a lease to managing the design and construction of office space, followed by relocation of clients.
The company continues to grow its project management division in order to fulfil the needs of clients beyond just site selection. Project managers act as an in-house extension of the transaction teams who can manage the entire process for clients. They work with designers to examine renovation options and costs, oversee the construction and help clients relocate to their new premises. The transition is seamless and easy, which creates loyal, long-term clients.
“We have a great track record of retaining clients just by virtue of giving them services outside of the traditional brokerage model, which is focused solely on transactions,” says Adam Hayes, principal and broker at Cresa.
Cresa prides itself on doing what is best for clients, and that dedication is evidenced by the corporate culture of trust, respect and collaboration. Unlike many companies, Cresa has a company-wide shared database from which employees can draw market information and they all work together to find the best solutions for clients. The internal Cresa motto is ‘we would rather do less business than have a dysfunctional culture’ and the Calgary office takes that to heart.
“Over the past 25 years the company has grown more than fourfold, but the fundamentals that led to our early success remain unchanged,” says Hayes.
The company’s growth has been largely organic and partners are selective about whom to bring on. They seek out the best and the brightest to invite into the fold, and the senior members of the firm mentor these new hires to ensure they get the right training and tools to excel in the industry. Because the Calgary office is locally owned, it has autonomy and freedom to make decisions about staff and policy. The company is built on an equity model and allows for the offering of same to up-and-coming leaders in order to ensure the legacy plan set by the founders continues to secure the future of the company.
That future entails carrying on with the winning formula – hiring incredible staff, serving clients ranging from the largest energy companies to small boutique law and investment firms, and growing the suburban and industrial markets while further developing their integrated services platform.
The Calgary office has grown to 25 people, of which 14 are brokers actively servicing the downtown market and five are servicing the industrial and suburban markets. Because they exclusively represent tenants, Cresa does not have signage on buildings representing landlords or developers. Instead, Cresa flies under the radar and relies on its superior service, word of mouth, referrals and best-in-class market knowledge to attract and retain clients.
In addition, Cresa delivers results that are consistently better than transactions completed by competitors because they don’t have a conflict of interest with landlords. Many other firms represent landlords as well as tenants, which can muddy the waters. It would be like hiring a lawyer who is also representing the other side in a court case.
The only consideration of Cresa brokers is to get the right deal on the right space to ensure the best, long-term fit for a tenant. By exclusively representing tenants, Cresa levels the playing field in landlord-tenant relations in order to get the best possible transactions for their clients. Negotiating a tenant-friendly lease can include anything from lower rent and increased incentives, to more flexible terms for such things as lease terminations, expansion and contraction rights, flexible subletting provisions, and additional allowances for tenant improvements.
“We help to evaluate all aspects of the real estate transaction that might affect the company’s top line and bottom line,” says Kendra Pinder, principal.
Cresa Alberta achieves superior real estate transactions for clients by doing things differently. It prides itself on being the exception in the industry, both in its tenant focus and its philosophy of being service-oriented rather than transaction-oriented with advisers who are client-focused not deal-focused. Cresa’s promise to clients is to do the right thing, listen, be entrepreneurial, think creatively and provide the highest level of service. Cresa is, in every way, the tenant’s advantage.