Technology and real estate have been grabbing a lot of business headlines around Baltimore of late. Now, Alex Kopicki and Jeff Jacobson of Locust Point’s Solstice Partners have come up with a new online service, retrievRE, which combines both of these surging industries.
Best known locally as the developers of the upcoming 900 E. Fort Ave. project, it was Kopicki and Jacobson’s experience looking for their own office space that led them to create a website catered toward small businesses in search of office space of their own. ”If you are looking for residential properties, you have websites like Zillow and Truilia,” said Jacobson, co-founder of Solstice Partners. “But for office and retail space, there is no reliable system to gather information. We were looking for space and thought the system was broken, and we are in the real estate business.”
This search process led to the creation and development of retrievRE, which Kopicki and Jacobson launched in October. retrievRE is a completely free website for landlords and brokers to post available office and retail listings and for businesses to post their office needs and search for suitable locations.
The website provides information such as property owner, gross square footage, year built and more for 10,000+ buildings in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Users can then provide listings and supplemental building information to create a comprehensive, crowd-sourced database. Properties in Howard and Anne Arundel County will be added to the database by the second quarter of 2014.
“95% of all commercial lease transactions in the region involve less than 20,000 square feet of space,” said Jacobson in a recent press release. “These relatively small leases can become lost in the shuffle by the larger, more visible requirements. In reality, these smaller spaces generate the highest per square foot rents. This is a powerful tool for landlords and brokers to fill in the gaps.”
“Priorities for business location are more and more about commute times, walkability and nearby amenities,” Jacobson continued. To address this, retrievRE integrates Yelp, Walkscore.com and Transitscore for each building to provide a digital map of nearby restaurants, businesses, transportation systems and shopping.
retrievRE does not get involved with the actual lease negotiations or transactions, but will gain income through pre-negotiated rates with preferred vendors to help with the nuances of leasing new space including design, space planning, construction build-out, moving, furniture, insurance, banking and tele-data systems. retrievRE also hopes to offer premium listings in the future.
Kopicki and Jacobson anticipate expanding into the Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia markets in the near future.