CBOR and CPIXnet Set Partnership With MEDC

February 8, 2008
| By Pete Daly |
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ZEELAND — Lakeshore Advantage is the latest economic development organization in West Michigan to sign up for an online commercial property listing service offered through the Michigan Economic Development Corp., in cooperation with the Commercial Board of Realtors.

Jason Spaulding, vice president of Business Services at Lakeshore Advantage, said the organization signed up in late December for the ability to access commercial property listings in the Holland, Zeeland and Saugatuck areas. The organization can then pass the listings on to any company looking to expand or locate in those areas.

"One nice thing about this Web site is it consolidates all the data available in a manner that's pretty searchable," said Spaulding.

Lakeshore Advantage is a nonprofit economic development agency that does not own available commercial properties but does "try to keep abreast of anything that's available" in the area.

Last year Michigan Economic Development Corp. president and CEO James C. Epolito announced that the MEDC had signed an agreement with the 650-member statewide Commercial Board of Realtors in an effort to further working relationships between the commercial real estate industry, local economic development offices and the MEDC.

The newly integrated Commercial Property Information Exchange system — CPIX.net — will provide access to a statewide database of more than 20,000 listings, and enable the MEDC to more effectively showcase commercial and industrial properties in Michigan.

"MEDC is the first state economic development agency to establish a working relationship with the commercial real estate sector that enables us to offer this site-selection resource to our partners," Epolito said.

Speaking at Synergy, the sixth annual statewide commercial real estate conference held in East Lansing in the spring, Epolito called CPIX a "gold standard" in commercial real estate information systems.

"The CPIX system has now been integrated into the MEDC Web site," Epolito said. Eplito added that levels of involvement include licensing of MEDC inter-local partners through the Commercial Board of Realtors to load listings into CPIX and providing access to public CPIX data on their own economic development Web sites.

Listings are drawn from throughout Michigan and include 4,000 industrial properties. Data is added by some 2,300 brokers and/or property owners and can include pictures, maps, site plans, surveys, leases and legal documents from which customized reports and maps can be produced. To keep the information fresh, entries not validated and updated every 30 days are automatically removed from the system.

"This is the first time it's ever been done: a state government entering into an agreement with a board of realtors on a statewide basis," said Nancy S. McKellar, executive vice president of the Michigan Commercial Board of Realtors. She added it makes a difference by helping "build up the economy by bringing in new companies and business."

McKellar said the arrangement with the board and the MEDC provides an opportunity to economic development groups that don't have a lot of money to market municipal properties that are not listed with brokers.

Economic development corporations that are MEDC partners can link to the Web site's statewide public properties free of charge.

McKellar said there is detailed information on each listing on CPIX.net that is only available to its members.

"The public data that is displaying on CPIX are from CPIX members, but there is a lot more data than that in the database. That is why the economic development groups buy memberships," she said.

Some of those groups are "also buying memberships to CBOR and CPIX.net so that they can take advantage of other networking opportunities that we have with the commercial industry," she said.

The dual membership costs $675 a year, according to McKellar.

There is also the option of showing only data for a particular region, at a cost of $2,600 the first year and $2,000 per year after that.

The MEDC pays a fee to the Commercial Board of Realtors for access to CPIX.net, but McKellar could not disclose the amount of that fee.

Utilizing CPIX will give Michigan economic developers and commercial brokers a much broader audience for their properties, according to an MEDC announcement.

To access the new system, visit www.michigan.org/sites

The Synergy conference last year was the second one sponsored by the MEDC, and drew an audience of some 600 commercial real estate brokers, agents, developers, affiliate practitioners and service providers.

In January, the MEDC announced that the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth now has new and expanded online licensing services making it easier for real estate professionals to do business in Michigan.

The Michigan DLEG added real estate sales people to its Web site (www.michigan.gov/icola), which allows individuals to apply online for licenses in 29 occupations regulated by the Bureau of Commercial Services. That move will speed up the licensing process, and also enable salespeople and associate brokers to change their addresses online.

There is also more information online about the availability of real estate education (both pre-licensure and continuing education), as well as a significantly improved information link for license lookup.

State law requires that applicants complete the required education, file an application, have an employing broker approved and examination passed before a license may be issued.    

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