CoStar Adds Coverage For West Michigan Region

July 27, 2007
| By Pete Daly |
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CoStar Group, one of the world's largest commercial real estate information services, is adding a "West Michigan Region" to its coverage of office, retail and industrial properties.

The company, which is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., has approximately 1,300 employees and maintains an online database of commercial real estate for sale in 121 metro core based statistical areas throughout the U.S., as well as in the United Kingdom and France.

Two CoStar reps have been working in West Michigan since the first of the year. When researchers find commercial property for sale, they photograph the property and collect detailed information about it. Photos and information are uploaded to a database that customers can access online.

The company has had coverage of the Detroit region and is now adding parts of central and western Michigan, which it has designated the West Michigan Region. CoStar Group defines this as the lakeshore from northern Muskegon County, south through Allegan County, and to the east as far as Clinton County, the Lansing area and Jackson County.

According to CoStar, the overall vacancy rate for office properties in its West Michigan Region is the fourth highest in the United States. Its Detroit Region is reported to have the highest office vacancy rate among all the areas studied throughout the U.S. by CoStar Group. It has calculated the Detroit Region rate at 17.4 percent, while the West Michigan Region is assigned a vacancy rate of 15.5 percent, immediately after Cincinnati with an office vacancy rate of 16 percent. The region with the fifth highest office vacancy rate is Pittsburgh (14.8 percent), according to CoStar Group.

Within the West Michigan Region, Central Grand Rapids (primarily the downtown area) has a 16.1 percent office vacancy rate. The West Grand Rapids/Walker rate is set at 7.3 percent.

According to, Andrew C. Florance, president and CEO of the CoStar Group, is a native of Washington, D.C., who got a real estate license while working on an economics degree at Princeton University in the mid-1980s. He also learned to write software and made money doing it. After graduating from Princeton, Florance began buying and renovating abandoned properties in Washington, at which point he realized there was a market for commercial real estate information. While working as a freelance computer consultant, he also began publishing his information for commercial real estate agents.

Eventually, he formed Realty Information Group (RIG), which began publishing a quarterly leasing guide in 1989 called Cornerstone. He also began offering the information electronically. By 1993, Florance sold his print publication and focused solely on his electronic product, which he called CoStar. RIG went public in 1998 during the boom and was soon distributing all of its information via the Internet. Within a couple of years the company changed its name to CoStar Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP)

Business 2.0 magazine recently named the CoStar Group to its 2007 list of the 100 fastest growing public technology companies. CQ

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