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Tech Edition News Roundup

Tech Edition News Roundup

Online information service LoopNet Inc. observed a significant milestone last month when it officially exceeded 1.5 million registered members on Aug. 13. LoopNet hit one million members last October.

This makes the most visited commercial real estate web site, too: According to comScore Media Matrix, an Internet consulting firm, more than 900,000 unique visitors visited LoopNet in June.

By the end of that month, incidentally, the LoopNet site featured more than $335 billion of properties for sale and 2.9 billion sq. ft. of space for lease. NREI spoke with LoopNet president and CEO Richard Boyle last month about the company’s strong growth trajectory…

Speaking of booming web listings sites, US Condo Exchange , the so-called “eBay of the condo market”, drew more than 100,000 unique visitors to its Web site during July. The Miami-based multimedia publisher allows condo buyers, sellers, developers and financiers to publish and access data on the market. Founder and CEO James Haft, says that the company is launching a high-tech, aerial view program in coming weeks. Haft is also building zoning, permits and local economic data into the listings so that potential buyers can get a complete picture of each individual property and its market. NREI couldn’t resist asking him if condo units — which have been sprouting up like mold in many markets — are really starting to pile up throughout the nation: “Yes, the inventory is growing and that’s largely because sellers haven’t lowered prices far enough yet,” says Haft…

If the notion of buying a new condo unit gives you sweaty palms, why not try virtual real estate? Investors and speculators will soon be able to buy publicly traded commercial real estate futures and options contracts. On Sept. 6, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Global Real Analytics > announced plans to launch a high-tech exchange based on the GRA Commercial Real Estate Indexes (CREX). Investors will be able to protect or gain exposure to the $5.3 trillion U.S. commercial real estate market beginning in early 2007. Earlier this year, CME unveiled a futures and options exchange based on U.S. residential markets in 10 cities. GRA’s chief operating officer Jim Sempere says that this new CREX index will track transaction-based price changes throughout all four core property classes and U.S. regions…


Last Monday marked five years since the 9-11 attacks, and the threat of repeat attacks is believed to be high. One Colorado-based technology company, Isonics Corp., recently designed a handheld and panel mounted chemical detection unit that could help commercial landlords detect trace amounts of nerve gas and homemade explosives in their buildings. These units, which are currently used at Dept. of Homeland Security offices, effectively “sniff” out these substances by constantly taking in a small sample of air and quickly analyzing it if one of 60 chemical threats is detected. “Air intake valves on many commercial office buildings are often at street-level, so terrorists can use them to contaminate buildings with chemical agents,” says Dennis Koehler of Isonics. He expects the next generation of Isonics devices, which will be released as early as next year, to detect trace amounts of biological agents such as Anthrax.

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