Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

March 27, 2014

Chamber pursues portal

TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce wants to make it easier for relocating businesses to find commercial property in the Grand Traverse region.

Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Luciani said Chamber officials plan to place a portal on their website that would allow relocating or expanding companies to browse commercial properties for sale in the region. The portal also would offer a list of commercial real estate agents who are Chamber members and potentially link commercial brokers in Traverse City with economic development leaders.

“What we want to have is a privately labeled and branded ... site that’s monitored and administered by a commercial (real estate agent) and broker,” Luciani said. “It’s just for commercial, not residential.”

Luciani said commercial real estate inquiries made to the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation traditionally are made by phone, and those inquiries usually are handed off to real estate brokers without any adequate follow-up to measure outcomes and results. That means there’s no way to measure Internet-based inquiries looking for commercial real estate or site selection.

The portal would cure that problem by linking the parties involved while giving relocating businesses a complete list of available commercial properties.

“Whatever their commercial need is for real estate, it would give them the ability to find it and simplify the process,” Luciani said.

Kim Pontius, executive director of the Traverse Area Association of Realtors, said the portal would not compete with TAAR’s online database. He said the Chamber is turning to local real estate professionals to help them link economic development leaders with real estate agents and expanding businesses.

“A single source or point for commercial,” Pontius said. “I’ve described it as (the Chamber) hiring an attorney or accountant. You need to find a trusted professional you can work with when it comes to the complexities of a commercial real estate deal.”

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