In 2016, Hines was selected by Trinity Church Wall Street and Norges Bank Real Estate Management as the operating partner for their 11 building, 4.9 million square foot, Hudson Square portfolio in New York. A major objective was to focus on revitalizing and adding value to the portfolio with Hines taking on the lead role managing several hundred capital projects throughout the portfolio.
"Our initial engagement with Hudson Square served as a critical catalyst for us to find a better way to track our capital project spend."
Frank Saphire, VP of Property Management at Hines, recognized the mass of the assignment provided an excellent opportunity to leverage new project management technologies. The industry’s traditional reliance on spreadsheets and GL reports to track budgets, progress, and outcomes of projects would not adequately support the team’s project management needs.
With so much innovation happening in CRE tech, Saphire went searching for a more efficient process.
In concert with Hines’ corporate team, the New York property management leadership group has always pushed to stay ahead of the curve with market trends and technology. The New York team also meets quarterly to discuss recent innovations, technologies, and potential ways to improve their business. When Saphire heard about Honest Buildings, he immediately recognized that it might be the tool his team had been looking for to standardize and streamline their project management.
After implementing Honest Buildings at three buildings in the Hudson Square portfolio, the immediate and objective improvement in the bidding and leveling process became apparent. Saphire also saw that managing multiple projects in one platform helped to standardize and facilitate project execution and reporting, which led him to implement Honest Buildings in the remaining eight buildings in the portfolio.
"Hines has always been an entrepreneurial company, so when we saw an opportunity to be more efficient, standardize inputs and outputs, and communicate project status on a real-time basis, we signed up to try out Honest Buildings."
The success of Honest Buildings with the Hines New York team sparked Hines teams in the East, Midwest, and West regions to implement the platform as well. Overall, Hines has been using Honest Buildings to manage projects for over a year. The team’s instant access to information creates a dramatic increase in the speed and accuracy of project forecasting and reporting, which reduces time spent compiling and cross-checking data.
"We're able to better understand what our project outcomes will be because of the accuracy, the consistency, and the live insights provided by Honest Buildings."
Saphire thinks about project delivery in three phases – procurement, execution, and close out. Having all three of those phases run through Honest Buildings gives him and his team more control of their projects. As soon as the bids close, for example, the managers can turn around the leveling in a few hours, rather than a day or two. Having a more efficient process for budgeting, bid leveling and cost tracking allow the construction managers to oversee more projects and allows senior management efficient oversight on all projects.
Founded in 1957, Hines is one of the largest and most respected real estate organizations in the world. As of 2017, Hines is in 201 cities through 24 countries and has $111 billion of assets under management. Frank Saphire is Vice President of Property Management, based in New York City. He has been with Hines since 1995.