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Case Studies in Property Management

CBM Delivers — Time & Time Again
 
  • CASE STUDY #1

    Revitalizing the Neglected Property

    CBM has been called upon countless times to revitalize ailing, neglected shopping centers, many of them once stunning properties. We always rise to the challenge! This Torrance case study is but one example: CBM brought new life — and business — to the property by refreshing its tired, poorly maintained and/or installed landscaping, facade, awnings, roofing, parking lot, lighting, ADA compliance, and more.

    read the case study    

  • CASE STUDY #2

    Three Words — Attention, Care, and Concern — Set CBM Apart

    Too often, vendors work hard during the courting period to make prospective clients feel like the belle of the ball, then, after a short post-signing honeymoon, treat clients like cattle. CBM's property managers stay on top of your property's vendors and the service(s) they're hired to provide: We consider every client an A-list client and work to ensure vendors treat them as such.

    read the case study    

  • CASE STUDY #3

    Reducing Vendor Expenses

    When it comes to upkeep and maintenance services — sweeping, trash collection, landscaping, etc. — vendor fees aren't set in stone. A big part of a property manager’s job is to evaluate then monitor such fees, further investigating when any seem out of balance with services rendered and/or subpar to parallel services at the manager's other properties. Why is the fee so high? Does the service justify the fee? Can a reduction be negotiated with the current vendor? Is it time to change to a new vendor?

    read the case study    


CASE STUDY #1

Revitalizing the Neglected Property

It’s a common tale of woe in the shopping center property management world: A property left neglected for years on end; once magnetic curb appeal, gone; deferred maintenance piled up; landscaping withered; façcades tired, drab and repellant; code observance neglected, hazards arising. Customers evaporate. Tenants abandon ship.
before & after photos
The Location

Eastgate Plaza
1725-57 E. Carson Street
Torrance, CA
map it   (maps as city=Carson?)

The Property

Eastgate Plaza is six building, 58,000 square foot community shoppin gcenter in the heart of Torrance (South Bay, Los Angeles County). It had been sorely neglected for more than 10 years.

The Issues
  1. Poorly maintained, withering landscaping (grass, trees, planter boxes); neglect exacerbated by a non-functional irrigation system
  2. Tired, fading façade and awnings
  3. Improperly resurfaced roof (only two years old)
  4. Dirt, debris, and ineffective rain gutters further eroding roof functionality
  5. Numerous potholes + decaying parking lot asphalt surface
  6. Numerous faulty or nonfunctional exterior lights
  7. Overall inadequate exterior lighting
  8. Underperforming, overpriced vendors (trash collection, pest control, landscaping, roofing, grease removal)
Status Point

As of Summer 2013, Eastgate Plaza shopping center's landlord faced numerous maintenance issues, five vacancies — with zero prospective tenants — and no clear plan to alleviate the problems at hand.

Before & After Photos (click to enlarge)
  • Before - Poorly patched signage change, dull and uninviting facade
  • Before - Faded, overly weathered awnings
  • Before - Dull,  uninviting facade; poorly constructed roofing
  • After - Panoramic overview of the improved center
  • After - Invigorating palette of fresh paint; cleanly executed signage
  • After - Upgraded signage and awning options
  • After - Upgraded facade colors and paint, upgraded signing and awning options make recessed locations pop
  • Fresh paint, invigorating palette, added lighting, parking lot resurfacing in progress
  • After - New awnings, added lighting, parking lot resurfaced and re-striped

CBM to the Rescue

Eastgate Plaza's landlord hired CBM in July of 2013 to take over the property's management. Veteran CBM property manager Roselene White quickly analyzed the center's physical and financial condition and vendor cost-peformance imbalance. She concluded that significant repairs, a number of upgrades, and some remodeling was necessary to revitalize the property, reassure current tenants, and attract new tenants to fill multiple, long-standing vacancies. Additionally, Roselene determined the entire vendor roster should be replaced with better performing, lower cost alternative service providers.

In barely seven months, Roselene’s efforts have literally transformed the shopping center from a tired, ailing property totally lacking in curb appeal to a stunning showpiece that’s energizing tenants and attracting new customers (view the Before & After Slideshow). Moreover, two of the five vacancies have been filled, negotiations are nearly complete with a credit tenant (Daiso Japan, Asian Market), and prospective tenants are circling in pursuit of the remaining spaces.

CBM-Initiated Repairs & Upgrades
  • Irrigation System & Landscaping  
    Repaired or replaced broker underground water lines, replaced parking lot planter irrigation with new drip-irrigation system, and installed new higher coverage sprinklers heads. A trained arborist (certified tree care specialist) evaluated and tended to mistreated and poorly maintained trees; created a three-year tree maintenance plan. Replanting grass and planter boxes is scheduled, but project is pending.
  • Parking Lot & ADA Compliance  
    Repaired numerous potholes and replaced sections of decaying asphalt. Installed ADA compliant ramps transitioning from parking lot to shopping center and city sidewalks.
  • Façade  
    Painted the entire six building complex exterior, employing a fresh, vibrant, contemporary pallet. Replaced all awnings.
  • Exterior Lighting  
    Replaced all faulty exterior lights. In the process installing additional exterior lights to bring lighting array up to code according to current standards.
  • Roof & Rain Gutters  
    Cleaned the roof, removing dirt and debris (which had accumulated to the extent small trees had actually taken root on the roof surface). Installed new rain gutters. Determined the two year old roof had been improperly installed, and so scheduled new roofing vendor to remove faulty layer and properly install a new layer (project pending).
CBM-Negotiated Vendor Changes
New Rubbish Removal Vendor

Expanded service options, $12,000 savings per year

New Landscaping Vendor

Significantly expanded services (the previous vendor only cut grass and watered landscaping) at a competitive price

New Pest Control Vendor

Expanded service options, 50% savings per year

New Roofing Vendor

Identified the previous vendor's faulty work + bid the repair at a competitive price

New Grease Removal & Onsite Equipment Maintenance Vendor

Currently under negotiation. Will compensate the landlord at cost for grease removal and onsite equipment maintenance


CASE STUDY #2

Attention, Care & Concern Set CBM Property Managers Apart

CBM property managers consider every client an A-list client — and demand vendors treat each CBM account as such. It's a standard that sets us apart from other property management firms. Property manager Andrew Bowen, our Orange County Regional Manager, recently sent the below tactful reminder to a vendor who was failing to treat our client's property with our requisite level of attention, care and concern.

Thank you for your email. However, it’s too little, too late. I visited the site (along with several others) yesterday with landlord, and all items you’ve pointed out have already been noted. (Just so you’re aware, the landlord and I visit and evaluate the property together on a regular basis.)

Just as CBM is one of your A-list clients, the owner of this property, as with Wilmington, South Gate and Glendora, is one of my A-list clients. They demand a lot of me, and I rely on my vendors (especially those who visit properties daily) to update me regarding items that may need attention and or repair. That is one of your duties. Your email is a perfect example of what I expect. However, it was sent too late…

Highland Park and Wilmington are both heavily trafficked properties. They demand a vendor’s undivided attention. Missing even the smallest detail can have a huge impact. The owner of each of these properties visits them on a regular basis in addition to visits we make together. If there are issues, you should be aware of them and advise me. The worst case scenario is for the owner to discover them and catch us all unaware. That makes us ALL look bad.

Respectfully I insist that you stay on top of employees and ensure they’re doing their jobs — not merely doing their jobs, but doing them to the best of their abilities. This is what you’re being paid for. I don’t appreciate being surprised with issues each time I visit these properties. Especially with problems that could have been reported to me in advance and possibly even corrected.

Why do vendors take so many clients for granted?

Too often, vendors work hard during the courting period to land a contract, but then, after a brief honeymoon period, begin treating accounts like cattle, one of many to be pushed through the daily To Do chute.

Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence in the shopping center property management industry. It’s a big part of why there’s more account turnover than you’d expect. If you consider all the time and effort that goes into setting up a new property management account, landlords have every incentive to stay with an existing management company. Yet Landlords are hiring and firing management companies all the time. It seems to be the nature of the beast. But it doesn’t have to be.

Attention, Care & Concern

It all comes down to three priciples: Attention, care, and concern. CBM certainly isn’t the only shopping center property management firm in the Southern California. Our competitors offer the same BASIC services, however we emphasize "basic" because basic isn't enough. Basic doesn’t equate to attention, care and concern, which is what sets CBM apart from other property management firms: CBM’s property managers dedicated personalized care and attention to every property managed and treat each property as if it were our very own. Each landlord's concerns are the CBM property manager's concerns — times 10: CBM property managers live and breathe caring for client assets, day in and day out.


CASE STUDY #3

Reducing Vendor Expenses

A quality property manager monitors, among other things, vendor fees and services, investigating and correcting imbalances when they arise. For example, CBM property manager Vanessa Aguilar recognized that one of her clients may have been paying too much for waste and recycling collection. She investigated further then …
  1. renegotiated with the existing vendor,
  2. bid out the services to new vendors, and
  3. found potentionally applicable discounts and special offers.
Vanessa secured a better contract for her client. Here's a quick overview:
The Property

A 5,000 square foot shopping center at Lake and Orange Grove in Pasadena. The property, a strip center, has four tenants.

Current Trash Vendor’s Fees

The current waste and recycling collection vendor, Consolidated, was charging $564 monthly for regular collection services.

Completing Vendor’s Offer

Vanessa looked around and found another vendor, Waste Management, offering a $500 discount to any new clients who signed up for services in the first month of the year.

Pro-Rated Discount

Vanessa contacted Waste Management with the suggestion of prorating the discount over a 12 month period (the first year of the contract). Waste Management agreed. The result: a waste collection of only $180 per month (for the first year).

Lower The Monthly Charge

More significantly, Waste Management’s annual fee — even after the first year’s discount expired) was lower than Consolidated. Consolidated was willing to negotiate to retain the account. But they couldn’t match the discount proration, and Waste Management won the contract.

Professional Property Management Can Help Reduce Vendor Expenes

This case study is merely one example of an experienced property manager helping the client optimize operations. An experienced, professional property manager evaluates vendor fee-service balance both in light of the particular property and relative to deals achieved at other properties managed. When the manager determines, say, that a particular vendor's charges seem high, the manager investigates and, if appropriate, works to get a better deal.

For instance…

  • Why is the fee so high?
  • Does the service justify the fee?
  • Can a reduction be negotiated with the current vendor?
  • Is it time to cancel the vendor and move on?

The property manager presents the findings to the client, offers an informed opinion as to the optimal course of action, then, whatever the client's decision, executes the client's wishes. Specifically, at least at CBM, your manager will…

  • Evaluate an assess a current vendor’s services
  • Reach out to that vendor and request a price reduction
  • Cancel the current vendor and obtain multiple bids for replacement vendors
  • Take advantage discounts and special offers, as applicable

And this is all in an effort to save you money and improve your property’s profitability.