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Business news, 16.02.2007 17:49

Consultants Join Forces To Unify the Standard

real_estate By Yekaterina Dranitsyna

Staff Writer

Three of Russia’s largest real estate consultancies announced, Tuesday, the creation of the St. Petersburg Research Forum, an attempt to unify standards for real estate assessment in the city.

Consultants at Colliers International, Jones Lang LaSalle and Knight Frank will join forces to develop a classification applicable to the city’s commercial real estate as well as to explain approaches to local market research approved by all major consultancies.

“We hope that these new standards will stimulate property owners to develop projects more professionally. That would improve the quality of construction and property development in St. Petersburg,” said Boris Yushenkov, general director of Colliers International in St. Petersburg.

A unified standard has become necessary because of the huge number of construction projects, including warehouses, office centers and shopping centers, that are due for completion in 2007 and 2008, the experts said.

According to Colliers, this year around 330,000 square meters of office space will be completed (A and B class), around 350,000 square meters of warehouses and around 700,000 square meters of shopping areas.

At the moment consultancies use various standards for property assessment. Just as Russian hotels might legitimately lay claim to any number of stars, property owners manipulate prices and rent rates, benefiting from disputes between consultancies over how a particular business center should be classified.

A significant number of local business centers do not meet international standards associated with their particular class. Office centers will be the first segment to be addressed. Warehouses and shopping centers will follow.

“Specialists from different spheres of real estate will take part in developing this new way of classifying St. Petersburg office centers,” said Yekaterina Vovk, consultant of strategic consulting and market research department at Jones Lang LaSalle.

A similar project has been undertaken by the Moscow Research Forum, an association founded last year by the “big five” consultancies (Knight Frank, Colliers, Jones Lang LaSalle, Noble Gibbons and Cushman & Wakefield & Stiles & Ryabokobylko).

Members of the Moscow Research Forum benefit from the exchange of information and, as a result, produce more detailed market reports.

Member companies meet quarterly to discuss the volume of new office space on offer, the amount rented and their classification.

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