Broker Banter – Questions & Answers (The Portland Chapter)

We’re the first to admit we don’t always have all the answers when it comes to the fine details of leasing and all the questions that come with it. That’s when we turn to our commercial comrades to aid with the broadening of our knowledge base.  This week we’ve gone straight to the source to speak with Portland, OR broker Kristi Ricker.

We connected with Kristi to talk shop, and in fact, where to set up shop.

OfficeSpace: What do you think is the most important question a tenant should be asking, that they never seem to ask when looking for space?

Kristi: Zoning, tenants need to learn more out about zoning. There are so many issues in this area and if you’re not aware of this in the beginning it could hurt your chances of securing your ideal space. It’s something you should ask your broker about as they’ll be able to determine how to move forward in narrowing down your search. It’s just not something that’s on the top of your mind when you’re looking for a space and it definitely should be.

OfficeSpace: What is the best tip in negotiating a lease you think all tenants should consider? 

Kristi: The longer the lease, the better you’re going to be able to negotiate, especially if you are going to need anything done to your space. People are nervous with the idea of securing a 5 year lease, they think “What if something happens?” – but they can always put a clause in allowing them to sublease (A lease of a property by a tenant to a subtenant.).

OfficeSpace: What do tenants focus on, that perhaps they shouldn’t when searching for space?

Kristi: Recently, I’ve had clients who have looked at a space and were concerned the buildings around it were being worked on or unfinished. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always paint a pretty picture of the neighborhood, especially when it’s an up and coming urban area. I recommend looking at the bigger finished picture and inquiring about what’s being developed in the area.

OfficeSpace: What area of town would you recommend to a Start-Up in Portland?

Kristi: The inner Southeast, Northeast and North Portland are very hot right now. They were predominantly industrial areas and now they’ve turned into these very creative pockets with great opportunities for startups, restaurants, retail and more.

OfficeSpace: What are you starting to see more of in Portland?

Kristi: Tons of startups, restaurants, breweries, delis – there’s a great food scene here.

OfficeSpace: And lastly, what makes Portland great?

Kristi: Portland‘s so diverse, we have a little bit of everything for everyone. Everything goes here – that’s what I love about it. I see all these new ideas here and they seem to work. If you have a crazy, fun new idea, there’s a great support network for that here. It just seems out of the ordinary things work here more than other places. Nothing is guaranteed but your chances of making it a go seems to have better odds in Portland.

Kristi has over 15 years of real estate experience in the greater Portland area and has recently started her own company.

Need Office, Retail or Industrial Space in Portland? Visit us here –

Looking Forward, The Price of Uncertainty…


On this day every year we can’t help but stop and think about what happened, we get lost in thought – where we were, and how we felt. We remember the tragedy and remain curious about the details of the final memorial space. Eleven years later it seems there’s may be some closure on the status of the 16 acre site or is there? 

Announced on the eve of the anniversary, funding support was finally sorted for the memorial museum although no completion date has been set, progress none the less. And, there seems to be cautious optimism on the leasing front as at least 1/2 the skyscrapers are expected to be filled over the next 5 to 8 years. Douglas Durst, chairman of the Durst Organization, which is co-developing One World Trade Center and handling its leasing for the Port Authority, has outlined a very positive attitude “We’re very optimistic that we’ll have the building fully rented by the date of 2017, 2018,”. A considerable percentage of the 3 million square feet of office space has already been reserved by publishing giant Conde Nast, who is rumored to be taking 25 floors. Said to be “like a stamp of approval” by Dan Fasulo, managing director for Real Capital Analytics, a commercial real estate research firm, Conde Nast’s presence will definitely be an asset in attracting other businesses.Image

Despite huge costs associated with effectively running the former WTC site, it’s museum and the memorial, it seems those involved feel the rise in commercial real estate, visitors to the site (4.5 million since last year’s 10th anniversary), government support and donations will aid in offsetting the financial responsibilities. After the 1993 truck bombing it was next to impossible to find businesses to secure space at the site. However, the neighborhood has changed, there’s much more happening in lower Manhattan than there was 20 years ago so it’s difficult to predict whether this optimism is on the mark.

Do you think this is a fair estimation of time considering some of the towers have not yet begun construction? Would you consider leasing in the former WTC space? Do you think the 60 million a year operating budget can be responsibly maintained without further borrowing and debt being accumulated?


(photo credit: Associated Press) Launches New Service in Portland, Oregon Launches New Free Service That Provides Businesses in Portland, Oregon With a Better Way to Find and Lease Office Space

Also offers landlords and brokers free listing capabilities, real-time tour booking and social media integration


SEATTLE, Washington – January 24, 2012 – today unveiled a new service designed to arm tenants with the information needed to help them make better real estate decisions for their businesses. Launching first in the Portland, Oregon metro area, the new site provides businesses with a free and powerful search functionality to help them find available office space that meets their search criteria. also helps tenants-to-be, obtain in-depth information about properties, book tours and ultimately provides the ability to close their lease transaction online.

In addition to providing time-saving tools and resources to tenants, also offers landlords and brokers the ability to post their listings for free on the site, and the ability to set their availability for tours using a real-time calendar where they can even provide tours to multiple tenants simultaneously. will be providing a valuable service, connecting tenants to landlords and brokers. also makes Social media integration with Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ easy for both landlords and tenants. For example, tenants can read reviews of other tenants in the building and share comments with each other on the spaces that they have toured in order to help keep organized. Landlords can leverage social media integration by sending out new properties to their networks from with one click of their mouse.

“We understand that entrepreneurs and business owners are busy people and they want to start their research online, in their limited spare time, before committing to taking the next step, ” said Susie Algard,’s CEO. “With, tenants can access more information instantly and for free.”

While all size businesses can benefit from leveraging, tenants of smaller spaces can benefit disproportionately as most commercial real estate brokers avoid working with these folks altogether. is focused on disrupting the current business model in commercial real estate so that tenants of all sizes do not need to depend on brokers for all of their office space needs. The new service launches today in the Portland Oregon metro area and plans on serving several additional cities within the coming year.


Experienced Internet entrepreneurs Susie Algard and Alex Algard purchased in late 2010.  Frustrated by some of the trials and tribulations of their own experiences trying to find office space for companies that they were involved in, they decided that it was time to make a change in the commercial real estate space. Susie, CEO of, was previously a senior executive and founding member at, a top 30 Internet property.  Alex is the founder and chairman of CarDomain Network as well as founder and CEO of also operates one of the leading commercial real estate marketing and analytics services in Seattle, Spokane, Denver, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus.

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