In a move that reflects the changing nature of the role of service providers to today's owners of commercial real estate, Cushman & Wakefield, New York, is retooling its Asset Services Group.

Value Enhancement is the ultimate goal of institutional owners these days, and they continue to rely on third-party, full-service providers like C&W to deliver. Even though C&W is most well known for its brokerage services, it actually is the nation's largest third-party non-owner property management firm. Recently, it has decided to attack the opportunity to provide an expanded scope of services through an aggressive reengineering program of recruiting MBAs, CPAs, architects and engineers for positions within its Asset Services Group.

Already the firm has tapped Leonard Helbig as the group's executive managing director. Helbig was national director of C&W's Financial Services Group, which is involved in the sale and financing of income-producing real estate for a variety of domestic and international owners and investors. He began his career at C&W in 1980 by helping to create and develop the firm's Appraisal Division as its national director.

The C&W group offers property management, facilities management, project management and agency leasing services, and presently oversees a portfolio of office, industrial and retail properties totaling about 120 million sq. ft.

The Asset Services Group includes some 300 professionals, supervising the efforts of more than 2,500 on-site employees working in 400 properties in 20 states across the country. C&W has been providing property management services since 1917, and its facilities management expertise is strong when you consider that about 35% of its management portfolio is owner occupied. The continued trend in corporate outsourcing of management and even administrative services has further increased C&W's business in recent months.

Cushman & Wakefield also has an in-house team of architects, engineers and strategic programmers which has already provided services for the construction of some 80 million sq. ft. of commercial space, including high-rise office buildings, institutional headquarters, high technology facilities and industrial sites, including the Sears Tower in Chicago and the Bank of America Center in San Francisco.

In addition to its push to diversified services, C&W still is best known as a leading brokerage firm, thanks to its 6,000 or so annual lease transactions, valued in excess of $5 billion in over 170 million sq. ft.

C&W also has established strong ties to the international markets thanks to its global partners in Mexico, South America, Europe and the Pacific Rim.