2012 was a good year for Southpace. Productivity was up in both brokerage and property management, occupancy rates and rental rates improved across our portfolio and we added more capability in personnel and in operations.
We spent a great deal of time, money and effort this year increasing our ability to serve our clients. A focus on education and technology made us a better firm in 2012.
Late last year, Leslie Evans and Christen Lewis from our marketing department began ramping up a new G.I.S. software package that integrates mapping, aerial photography and a treasure trove of geospatial information, putting all of it at our fingertips for research and presentation to our clients.
We can access information such as demographics, traffic counts, tax parcel info, sales figures and performance metrics from multiple sources all from one platform and then display the location-based information on maps and aerial photos in layers.
We have the ability to add additional layers of information to the system allowing it to grow with our client base. This tool allows us to tell the story of a particular market or location in an intuitive fashion.
Our Maintenance Supervisor, Heather Turner, also got new tools in 2012 that increased the efficiency of our maintenance staff and longevity of our vehicle fleet. A new GPS tracking system allows Heather to see the vehicles on a map in real time and dispatch personnel more efficiently. This shortens our response time and saves our clients money.
Managing a vehicle fleet is a tricky proposition and we are very proud of our new affiliation with Fleetio, a Birmingham software company based at Innovation Depot.
Fleetio is fleet maintenance software that helps cut costs and lengthen the life of our company vehicles. Smart phones and another new software package are allowing our maintenance staff to track work orders and document facility issues more effectively.
Education was as important as technology in 2012. The Southpace Learning Series (SLS) was the vehicle for making us better CRE professionals. We invited experts from the region to come into our offices and teach six classes this year on subjects ranging from civil engineering to law to roofing.
The classes were customized by the presenters to give our people a working knowledge of fields that operate on the periphery of commercial real estate. Our clients need lawyers, architects, plumbers, engineers and contractors and they often depend on us to manage those relationships.
We owe it to our clients to be conversant in a wide variety of CRE topics and assist them in identifying problems and finding solutions to match. We will continue the SLS in 2013 with a focus on deeper understanding of issues facing our clients.
Thanks in part to the talent we added to our firm in 2012, we currently have the strongest lineup of professionals in company history. There is a nice balance of grey-haired experience and tech-savvy motivation among the group.
At Southpace, our mission is to add value to the ownership, use, purchase and sale of commercial real estate. Our challenge is to continually seek ways to improve our ability to better serve our clients. We will continue to focus on both of these key elements in 2013 and beyond.
Southpace Properties, Inc. is Alabama’s largest independent commercial real estate firm. At Southpace, we add value to the use and ownership of commercial real estate through services such as office, retail, land, warehouse and industrial sales and leasing, tenant and landlord representation, development, consulting, investment sales, property management and construction management. With 12 CCIM designees, Southpace has one of the state’s highest number of CCIM accredited brokers under one roof.