Jonathan Resnick of Jack Resnick & Sons Talks About The #1 Tech Problem for Landlords

Since 1928, New York-based Jack Resnick & Sons has built, owned, and managed some of the most prominent commercial and residential properties in Manhattan. Today, the company’s portfolio contains more than 6 million square feet of commercial space, including an impressive list of 11 Wired Certified properties. Though unlike many other major landlords, all of Jack Resnick & Sons’ leasing and management is done in-house – just as it has been for nearly 90 years.

But just over a year ago, the firm came to the realization that many of the buildings in the company’s portfolio had something in common, something that has become commonplace across New York City’s commercial real estate landscape: the telecommunications infrastructure was outdated, having been essentially managed by the various in-building telecom providers for many years.

“Like a lot of office buildings in New York, ours had lots of basement cages with equipment racks and a lot of electronics and gear, much of which wasn't working and was never activated,” Jack Resnick & Sons President Jonathan Resnick told us recently.

In the late-1990’s, the internet was completely redefining not only communications, but the way in which business was conducted as well. With a huge market for broadband internet access, companies like Onsite Access and Winstar were in a proverbial land rush to install infrastructure in office buildings all over the city.

A few years later, during the collapse of the dot-com bubble, these same telecommunications companies – some who had been valued in the billions of dollars just months before – were in serious trouble. It wasn’t long before many of the firms who had filled New York City buildings with their equipment were out of business, either through consolidation or outright bankruptcy, leaving behind a mess of inactive equipment and cabling.

Understanding just how important reliable high-speed connectivity is in today’s business environment, Resnick decided to team up with telecom consulting firm EVERISER to do something about his tech infrastructure problem.

“Everyone relies on technology and connectivity, and it's not just [the TAMI sector]. It's all the professional services firms and the financial firms. Everyone has got a big technology component, and that technology component requires choice, connectivity, bandwidth, and redundancy,” said Mr. Resnick.

Through their partnership with EVERISER, Jack Resnick & Sons reached out to their active broadband service providers to update the tech infrastructure in all of their commercial office buildings.

“As far as we're concerned, no one building is more important than another,” Resnick added.   “What's good for one is good for all. I think any tenant, be it a large Fortune 500 company or a small 800-square-foot medical office, needs connectivity. They need redundancy and they need reliability. It doesn't matter the size of the tenant or the type of building - we wanted to be able to deliver as much as we can, regardless of their size or stature.”

And to help ensure that they were bringing their infrastructure up to a level that would satisfy their tenants’ needs, Jack Resnick & Sons also reached out to WiredScore.

But simply meeting the minimum Wired Certification requirements wasn’t enough for Resnick – he wanted to make sure that his buildings stood out from the competition and offered the best service possible to their tenants. Not only does Jack Resnick & Sons now have 11 properties that are Wired Certified, but they’re all rated at the Silver-level or better - including three which have obtained the coveted Wired Certified Platinum designation. “We have our Wired Certification plaques proudly mounted on each of our lobby desks for all tenants and visitors to see,” says Resnick.

So far, Jack Resnick & Sons’ efforts have already paid off. Already at 100% occupancy, the buildings have more provider choice and robust connectivity than ever before.  The icing on the cake for Jack Resnick & Sons, however, is that all of these infrastructure improvements were made without any capital outlay – everything was paid for by the service providers.

“They have provided the resources. They have provided the engineering. They have provided the manpower,” noted Resnick. “Per the agreements, they have gotten rid of a lot of stuff that wasn't working, that was obsolete, that was dead, that was never connected. We've come a long way in terms of getting rid of a lot of equipment, verifying a lot of equipment, re-engaging with providers and signing up new providers, and amending our agreements.”

But even though Jack Resnick & Sons has already greatly improved connectivity for their tenants, they aren’t done yet. “We're going to continue to work until we have the best providers and the best infrastructure that we can in the buildings,” he added.

When asked what recommendations he had for other landlords facing the same issue of antiquated equipment wasting space in their buildings, Jonathan emphasized the importance of understanding precisely what they’re dealing with and what their options are. “Landlords should be aware of what they have in the risers and in their telecom closets and in the basements. I think they should also know exactly what the providers can deliver to their tenants and lead the times for service for new tenants.”

And with reliable connectivity high on the priority list among tenants searching for new office space, it’s no doubt that we’re going to see many more property owners following in Resnick’s footsteps.

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