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Manatee-Sarasota
Business Observer Friday, May 26, 2017 1 year ago

See the wizard

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Land O' Lakes firm hopes its new algorithm will provide easily accessible valuations for commercial building owners.
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

Rick Narkiewicz hopes the new algorithm he and partners at his Land O' Lakes-based real estate technology firm have developed someday will be referred to as “the Kelly Blue Book of commercial real estate.”

Space Shifter LLC's new Property Wizard, a free online platform that provides building valuations, doesn't yet possess the street credibility that the automobile valuation service does.

But Narkiewicz says the service, which launched in early April and covers industrial properties in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Manatee counties, will become an “ecosystem” for real estate professionals and participants from throughout the industry.

“The very first question I am always asked by a landlord who wants to sell their building is, what's it worth?” says Narkiewicz, who created Space Shifter in 2013.

“So for users, we've created a frictionless experience to provide an opinion of value. It's free. We don't ask for your name, your address, your phone number. There's no URL collection, either.

“We think people will appreciate that we're not bugging them, and when they're ready to sell, they'll call us,” he adds.

Property Wizard interfaces with Google maps to provide building locations and pictures. Drone videos Narkiewicz and site designer Sourcetoad have imbedded provide additional views.

The site works like Kelly Blue Book: Users type in their address, the type of property, size, clear ceiling height, loading type and configuration and other pertinent data.

Property Wizard then calculates a valuation range based on the criteria entered and public records data.

“It's a statistical model that we built,” Narkiewicz says. “That's our secret sauce.”

Property Wizard marks the latest in a series of efforts to cauterize commercial real estate information with advancing technology and online mathematical algorithms in the way travel companies and other internet platforms have over the past decade.

Earlier this month, commercial real estate brokerage SVN Florida launched CRE Capital & Funding, a platform that uses data to connect potential real estate borrowers with more than 150 lenders nationwide.

Information from more than two dozen variables is sorted and filtered, and clients receive the names and contact information for the top three lenders that might best provide a loan.

“Think of it as the Priceline of commercial lending. I see this as a real game changer in the industry,” says Jerry Anderson, SVN Florida's executive managing director.

Property Wizard is quick to point out that its service is no substitute for an appraisal, which provides a more exact valuation of a property's worth by professionals who are specifically trained in that area.

Nor does Narkiewicz believe the site could ever supplant a broker.

“You're always going to need that human element in real estate,” he says. “Every building, every situation is different.”

For now, the site focuses exclusively on industrial buildings from 20,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet, which account for the majority of the market in the six counties covered.

By the end of the year, however, Narkiewicz hopes to expand the site to include retail and office properties as well, and hone the site criteria to include power capacity and designate value by zip code. He's considering seeking a building's net operating income, as well, to help calculate the capitalization rate a property might generate in a sale.

“There's no reason why we couldn't eventually do the entire country,” Narkiewicz says.

For now, though, he's hoping to persuade a major trade organization, such as the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, the Building Owners and Managers Association or the National Association of Office and Industrial Parks to include Property Wizard on its website and help promote it to its members.

And he's lining up local backers through test drives on the Property Wizard site.

“I would use it,” says John Jenkins, a CBRE Inc. veteran who now runs Jenkins Property Advisors Inc., a Tampa commercial real estate brokerage firm. “The software they've developed helps bring valuable information closer to the end user. It's a great idea, and it works.”

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