RIG Thrives Sating Data Hunger of Commercial Real Estate Firms
Reath, Viki, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Demand for real estate information has expanded exponentially in the past five years and Realty Information Group in Bethesda is enjoying the benefits.
In that time RIG has increased its list of client real estate firms from 200 to 1,000.
A pioneer when it started providing real estate information 10 years ago, RIG provides on-line data on 65 percent of the nation's commercial, industrial, flex and retail investment space through its CoStar multimedia database.
"The best measure of our growth is our increased number of clients," said Curtis Ricketts, RIG's vice president of sales and marketing.
Client firms, which include 10,000 users, get information through text, images and graphics. The data ranges from every space available to buildings' ages, number of elevators and tenant rosters. It lists assessed values, properties up for sale, vacancy and absorption rates.
"We track 120,000 properties, including 8 billion square feet across the country," he said. "We're in the largest of the top 30 U.S. markets, which includes 65 percent of the nation's office space. Brokers use our data to create visual and multimedia presentations for their tenants."
Wall Street firms and real estate investment trusts as well as top U.S. real estate firms such as CB Commercial and Grubb & Ellis pay from $500 to $10,000 a month for services.
Mary Petersen, senior vice president in charge of research services at the D.C. firm of Cassidy & Pinkard, said brokers could not get standard information on buildings from their computers before RIG was created.
Research departments such as hers use RIG's building information to develop their own analyses, tailored to their clients, Mrs. Petersen said.
"We all have gotten used to using RIG's information," she said. "They are the first firm to provide standard information people can use across the country."
"Commercial real estate in the United States is worth more than $2 trillion," said Andy Florance, RIG chief executive officer and founder. "Historically it was impossible for commercial real estate firms to get consistent accurate information to understand what was going on."
Mr. Florance declined to disclose his firm's revenues, but said the amount
of money generated by information services is a tiny fraction of industry revenues.
The firm has increased its employees to 180, up from 17 three years ago. They work in RIG's offices in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Newport Beach, Calif., and Chicago as well as in the Bethesda headquarters and its new San Francisco office, which opened Nov. 24.
Last week, the firm was being filmed as part of an upcoming ABC News feature on fast-growing firms. …