Sean McCourt: CoreNet Global Recruits Commercial Property Owners

In May 2002, two trade groups — the International Development Research Council (IDRC) and The National Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives (NACORE) — joined forces to become CoreNet Global. The new organization now boasts 7,500 members throughout the industry, ranging from end users to service providers. CoreNet chairman Sean McCourt is also chairman of Ford Motor Land Development Corp. (Ford Land), the real estate arm and wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Co.

One of McCourt's priorities as chairman will be spearheading the CRE 2010 campaign, a new research program designed to help its members respond to the changing corporate real estate business. The program assesses what the workplace will be like in six years. He recently spoke with NREI about CoreNet's mission and growing membership base.

NREI: What's your biggest challenge at CoreNet?

McCourt: To me the biggest challenge is to reduce a company's occupancy cost. There are a variety of ways to do that — whether it's a facility management aspect, reducing lease rates or consolidating activities. The goal is to achieve a lower cost per square foot.

NREI: What's your main charge now?

McCourt: We really want to focus on research and learning for our members. To me that's the value-add for our members. In general, it's about educating our members on what the best practices are out there in the marketplace. We've started doing some intensified research too, and we plan to publish some of the materials.

NREI: We've seen more REITs joining CoreNet recently. Why?

McCourt: As we've done research, we've found that maybe it's a public REIT that wasn't part of our marketplace 10 years ago. Now we're making sure that we include their position as we move forward. We're reaching out to make sure that the players in the private and public REITs along with other landlords are members of our organization, and we've been successful at that. To date, nearly 20 REIT executives have joined.

NREI: What have you learned about the corporate real estate business by broadening your membership drive like this?

McCourt: We've learned that as we focus on increasing that membership we find that the service providers — be it landlords or people in construction or architects — will want to be members of our organization. CoreNet is not only serving the end user; a huge part of our membership is the economic development groups both throughout Europe and the United States.

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