Spotlight On: Gregg Najarian, Vice Chairman, Savills

Spotlight On: Gregg Najarian, Vice Chairman, Savills

2023-04-07T11:41:59-04:00March 30th, 2023|Economy, North & Central Jersey, Spotlight On|

3 min read March 2023 — Invest: caught up with Gregg Najarian, vice chairman of Savills, to discuss how innovation in the sector has influenced their business strategy, while noting the importance of engaging the community. “We are very data driven as a company, analyzing internal data from our clients’ portfolio and external market factors to assist our clients make informed and strategic decisions,” he said.

What have been your key takeaways for Savills over the past year?

Demand has shifted away from traditional transactions where a client hired a broker, gave them an outline of what they wanted and went out to find a solution. We need to continue innovating our services, so we are spending most of our time with existing clients and on new pursuits in our three service lines: labor analytics, workplace strategies and studies, and technology. As a company, we are very data driven, analyzing internal data from our clients’ portfolios and external market factors to assist them make informed and strategic decisions.

The life sciences sector has taken the lead with a variety of clients needing space for manufacturing, research and development, as well as administrative offices and regional headquarters. The second would be financial services, and fintech especially has been active.

How is technology influencing your business strategy?

We have a proprietary application we’ve developed called Knowledge Cubed, which is a data visualization platform that sits on top of our clients’ lease administration systems. Additionally, we have various modules where the data we study resides, giving our teams access to information so they can guide clients through the complexities of the real estate decision making process. Finance people have different needs than HR or C-suite, so if you have one place where everyone can look up the same data sets, it can integrate information so that we can deliver the highest level of service.

A major client concern continues to be retaining and attracting talent, so there has been more focus on studies about intermarket and intramarket labor analytics, like the demographic difference between North and South Jersey, for example. We can get very granular with this data based on what clients are looking for, the challenges they’ve had, and why the move would be advisable, particularly based on potential retention and recruitment factors.

What are the economic trends you’re following right now?

With the widespread concern about talent retention, employers are focusing on buildings that are more than just places to work. They are looking for recreational and residential amenities within proximity to the physical office because they tend to be the most successful at keeping employees content and thriving. Suburban office complexes have been suffering for a long time, and the interest rate climate has only cooled that asset class further. What we’re seeing more of with these vacant office buildings is converting them into residential and more often industrial, where distribution centers are becoming far more prominent. 

 What are some Savills initiatives you are most proud of? 

From a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective, we launched Savills award winning Junior Broker Development Program three years ago to introduce people of different backgrounds to commercial real estate. The 15- to 18-month, paid program allows us to provide recent graduates, a majority of them women and people of color, with pathways for successful careers in commercial real estate . 

This program is 90% diverse across the board and has expanded to Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago and, after launching in New York and Washington D.C. Several of the young professionals who took the course now in full-time positions.  

We also support the Commercial Real Estate Women Network (CREW), an organization focused on advancing women in commercial real estate.

More than ever, employees are keen on what employers are doing with respect to ESG, and we are absolutely focused on that as a company. We help our clients through that evaluation and implementation, which is a broad topic but very much in focus. 

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