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Tuesday, Feb 7, 2023
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Relocation Co. Sees Surge in Business

An El Cajon construction company that specializes in relocation projects has seen a surge in business over the past year as companies rethink their need for office space.

CBSI has seen a 60% increase in relocation projects so far this year following about a 25% uptick in 2020, said Sarah Suter, vice president of the family-owned company.

“The market is starting to come back up,” Suter said.

Going into 2021, relocations accounted for about 25% of the company’s business, Suter said.

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“More and more people are going to come in and start to reduce their square footage,” she said. “Industries are getting more confident and making decisions in how they’re planning.”

The uptick in the relocations is a dramatic change from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago.

“It felt like a lot of companies just froze,” Suter said. “At the end of 2020, strategic planning started happening again.”

The Market

As companies reevaluate their need for space, the commercial brokerage firm JLL in its fourth quarter report for 2020 noted that the office market fell into negative numbers for the first time since the financial crisis, with more companies moving out than moving in to office buildings.

Overall annual leasing activity was down 46% from the 10-year average, according to JLL. Still, JLL predicted that the San Diego office market is poised for recovery in 2021.

CBSI President David Suter said it took a while for companies to reset their needs for space following the early days of the pandemic when businesses shut down and people started working from home.

“They realized once they sent everybody home, they could still be efficient with people working from home,” David Suter said. “We were all forced to rethink how our business runs and get to a smaller space that makes sense.”

Having a year’s experience behind them, companies are adjusting.

“We call it right-sizing instead of down-sizing,” Sarah Suter said. “COVID has changed everything for business.”

She said one client went from about 100,000 square feet of office space to about 45,000 square feet.

“They’re having to redesign their entire business model,” she said.

Medical Offices

CBSI’s clients have included SUNDT, Medimpact, San Diego International Airport, Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District, and Southwestern College, according to the company’s website.

“We are managing the relocation for Southwestern College Performing Arts Center,” Sarah Suter said.

In addition to companies that used conventional office space, Sarah Suter said medical practices have reevaluated their need for space as a result of COVID and changing methods of delivering medical services.

“Where it used to be you would go meet with the surgical coordinator when you walked out of the doctor’s office, now they’re doing all that online,” she said.

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