Andrew Wallace - Trammell Crow Company

Andrew shares how he has used Giraffe on major projects in LA, building speed & clarity to his pursuits as well as storytelling and problem solving complex deals long after the feasibility stage.

Transcribed from the Giraffe Creator Summit - January 17th, 2023

Andrew Wallace:
Yeah. Perfect. So we're going to go very macro to very micro. And really my personal experience with Giraffe over the last year and a half. So today i'm going to touch on 2 areas of our local Los Angeles business that have been impacted by draft. The first is early stage pursuits and feasibility studies.

So before Giraffe the way we developed the feasibility study was pretty fragmented and included Google Earth local zoning databases, excel bluebeam and even hand sketches, not to mention calling in a lot of favors from our overburdened consultants.

Complex pursuits often require assessing half a dozen potential scenarios to reach a site's highest of best use.

Continually needing to pull all of this information from different sources with very time consuming draft has really allowed us to consolidate these activities under one user friendly program and get to a decision sooner with greater clarity. So how do we get the decision sooner?

I've added local zoning data to my draft layers to quickly assess allowable uses and max development footprint for any site.

I've also added conceptual cost data from recent projects. So by the time I have a concept. I already have an idea of overall project cost that I can then take and work with our financial analysts, or simply export it into excel so that they can integrate it into the wider performer model.

We've been able to make early, go no go or no go decisions without meeting as heavily on consultants, which oftentimes really it took more time or money than we had available at the time.

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And then greater clarity. So, as i'm sure a lot of you have experienced 2D concepts Leave a lot to the imagination. So Giraffe has helped us gain early understanding of the next. What i'll call the next layer of feasibility. So items that would include parking constraints, topography views, utilities, solar exposure, adjacent development things that don't really get as much attention, but from your developer's perspective are really key to, you know, making a deal work.

So before Giraffe we would like, we would rely, you know, pretty heavily on consultants for this information as well. I will say there's only so much design risk that we're willing to take on as developers.

So after we've developed an initial concept. It's now easier than ever for us to be able to take that draft model and use it as a brief, to be able to give to an architect and a contractor just to take to that next level

The other area, I'll say that Giraffe has really impacted. Our business is what I've called ‘storytelling and problem solving’. So it's really the stage after a pursuit when we're working through the pre-development period.

So as many of you know urban and fill development can be pretty tricky.

There are often multiple stakeholders with competing objectives and protracted timelines.

Some projects are home run, but most sites come with baggage and have a narrow path to success.

So there's a perception that developers call the shots. But really this isn't the case.

You can imagine. I'm going to give a specific example. Can you imagine teaming up with a development partner to negotiate a ground lease with a government agency to build a spec office space on an existing university campus.

Right? That's a recent example that we actually went through. So getting all these parties on the same page and acting with conviction is really the difference between success and failure in situations like this, where we've been able to use giraffe beyond the pursuit phase, to work through items such as campus, circulation, parking planning, construction phasing, and overall timelines, with visual clarity and concise data.

So Giraffe hasn't replaced our trusted consultants, but it's allowed us to act more nimbly and react to changing circumstances.

And then the last thing i'll note is, I am really by no means a draft superuser assessing sites is actually a pretty small fraction of my job at Trammell Crow Company. So I was able to learn the program with relative ease and gain value really quickly. I know people throughout the company, regardless of their background, that have had a similar experience, and I think that's been the differentiator for me. 

We have a lot of people try, and, you know, trying to approach us to use different programs. But the adoption for Giraffe was really just so easy that it kind of organically took off within the company. So that's my personal experience, and also I'm happy to answer any questions.

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