Eight-seven percent of commercial real estate deals in the nation are brokered by small real estate firms, and one local broker said he's growing his company to chase those sales.
"We want that business," said William Raines Jr., president and chief executive officer of The Raines Group Inc.
The Raines Group has always done commercial property brokerage and leasing for commercial and residential properties around the country, Mr. Raines said, and now intends to do more commercial sales.
"We have retooled ourselves to emphasize sales," he said.
Once BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee builds and relocates to its new headquarters on Cameron Hill, Mr. Raines said, that will create a huge vacancy among downtown offices. Chattanooga is wellpoised to fill those empty offices by marketing on the national level, he said. Chattanooga has a lower occupancy cost, he said.
Chattanooga has more affordable utility rates than other areas. And other tenant expenses such as janitorial and security services are more affordable, Mr. Raines said. Chattanooga Class A office space is averaging from $12 to $16 per square foot, vs. $22 a square foot nationwide, he said.
"We can be competitive for investors and for companies looking to set up here," Mr. Raines said.
Leasing and management has traditionally accounted for two-thirds of Raines' portfolio, he said, but he's hoping to grow the brokerage side to that level. The firm is not forsaking leasing and management, though, he said.
Principal: William Raines Jr.
Affiliations: Resolution Trust Corp.; International Council of Shopping Centers; Building Owners and Managers Association;
National Association of Realtors; National Fire Protection Association; and Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce Staff: Includes eight agents; licensed professional engineer certified in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia; licensed certified public accountant Clients: Raines manages and leases 1 million square feet of space. It manages Lovemans on Market.
Clients have included Erlanger hospital (design and development); Brainerd Village Shopping Center;
Eastgate Mall; Heritage Landing Condominium, all in Chattanooga; Hickory Hollow Mall in Antioch, Tenn.; Stones River Mall, in Murfreesboro, Tenn.; and American Savings and Loan, Stockton, Calif.
Web site: www.rainesgroup.com