--> Gill Blog: May 2003

Gill Blog

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Tracking Lower Manhattan Tenants

The movement of displaced tenants in and around Manhattan has influenced the planning strategies of corporations globally. M. Myers Mermel, the CEO of TenantWise, a New York-based real estate advisory firm has meticulously tracked the movements of firms from lower Manhattan over the past two years and presented a series of reports that we believe have strongly impacted corporate real estate policy in large urban centers. Mr. Mermel's efforts have been noted in the press

SARS Effect on Real Estate Facilities in China

Despite the best efforts of health care workers in Toronto, SARS has resurfaced this week in a big way. The following article, appearing in Tuesday's Globe and Mail focuses on the impact this disease is having on facilities across China. The common strand among all the cases, is that 1 or 2 infected employees can shut down and entire operation. Pretty scary stuff.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

The White Paper That Got the Ball Rolling

The study of organizational decentralization in a post-September 11 environment began with a handful of white papers from the academic community. One of the first, was a study written by Dr. John Baen from the University of North Texas. His paper, The Implications of September 11, 2001 and Terrorism on International Urban Form and Various Classes of Real Estate, will continue to have a profound impact on the strategies employed by real estate planners globally. It is certainly worth a read.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

The Value of Videoconferencing

When an organization decides to implement a decentralized facilities strategy, the way in which that organization conducts business will likely change. One challenge for managers is to identify available tools that will best help recreate an environment where everyone works together. Videoconferencing is becoming one of the more important tools, as discussed in this article from Silicon Valley.

Monday, May 05, 2003

The Impact of SARS on Business

It will be a while before governments around the world are able to quantify the economic costs of the SARS epidemic. This article,recently published in Australia's News Interactive, was one of the first that attempted to project the costs of the outbreak. Another article, published recently by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, begins to identify the quantifiable components of the outbreak, and thus provides a starting point for measuring issues such as lost days of work or decreases in productivity.

The costs of such epidemics will be paid for either by taxpayers or companies in the private sector. Given our own experiences in Toronto, how might new real estate planning initiatives mitigate some of the risks associated with unexpected events such as SARS? These issues provide the basis for a discussion that ultimately moves toward an organization's locational strategy.

The optimistic nature of CEOs is reflected in the following survey that was reported in today's National Post. The estimated cost of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington have been conservatively estimated to be in the range of $35-$55 billion: the preliminary estimates of the SARS epidemic on Toronto is about $1 billion, over 50% of which is attributable to lost tourism revenues. Isn't it just too early to measure the total costs and the real impact on business?

The total impact might be an interesting statistic, but aren't the real costs to individual businesses what concerns executives more? Costs might vary from company to company, depending on how executives prepare for their own business continuity in the face of the unexpected.

Please join the discussion about the impact of SARS on business.