At first, it was known as the Charlotte Region Commercial Property Exchange.
A mouthful of a name, it became shortened to CRCPE, still a beast among acronyms.
So everyone just started calling it CPE.
But to the Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors, which owns CPE — a database of commercial properties for sale in the region — that name had to go.
“We weren’t really getting an identity. There’s no identity to it,” Theresa Salmen, executive vice president of the CRCBR, said.
CRCBR thinks it’s solved that problem. This week, the organization launched SiteIndex. It’s the same site, just rebranded.
The new name was announced Monday at the CRCBR’s annual meeting at Myers Park Country Club over a lunch of steak and potatoes and what I think was a mushroom sauce.
What CRCBR has no appetite for, though, is alphabet soup, and it’s hoping that more people, not just commercial real estate agents, might use the site now that it has a new name.
“It’s a wonderful resource for businesses to find commercial brokers as well as look for commercial properties in our region,” Salmen said. “We felt that it was necessary that if our own industry doesn’t understand who CRCPE is, or whatever acronym we’re using, then we need to start with them, make sure we give them a good name or brand.”
The Charlotte Region Commercial Property Exchange was created in February of 2005, she said. Before that, another for-profit group that was not part of the CRCBR provided the service.
A Realtor member pays $440 a year to subscribe to SiteIndex. The database contains listings of commercial properties located in 18 counties in the Charlotte area, including three in South Carolina. But listings from outside the area can also be found on the site, Salmen said.
The site has a portion for listings to be made available to the general public. There’s another side of the site that is a more “property-centric, searchable database” for subscribers to do a broader search for, say, properties that used to be on the market, Salmen said.
A commercial property exchange is like a multiple listing service, the system used by the residential real estate industry, although there are some differences.
“The main difference between an MLS and a commercial property exchange is that an MLS will have compensation for the broker, and ours does not,” Salmen said. “There is some legal responsibilities on an MLS when you do have those compensations in there, and we just chose that we didn’t want to take that on.”
Just like Realtor organizations have MLSs, Salmen said, there’s a trend for commercial real estate organizations “to have a lot more sharing (of listings) and then have it broker-managed.”
Today, SiteIndex is not the only place to find Charlotte commercial property listings, thanks to sites like LoopNet.
Before SiteIndex was conceived, CRCBR sought the help of a marketing company, Trotland Group, to figure out what to do about the rebranding of CPE.
The board, Salmen said, wanted to make sure that “we can have an identified place in the marketplace, that we can be identified as the key source for commercial properties that are available in the region.
“There’s been ongoing confusion in the marketplace. You have individuals that are subscribers that don’t really know what is CPE. ‘Hey, I pay this fee and I get access to a database but I don’t know the difference between CRCBR or CRCPE or CPE.’ It’s just too many acronyms.”
You know, SI has a nice ring to it.
Roberts can be reached at [email protected].