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Owner shares security ideas.

The executives at Park Tower Realty pride themselves on their sophisticated approach to security and they are often asked by others to share their secrets.

That's why the owner/manager and developer of more than 5 million square feet of commercial space in New York and Washington, D. C. has formed Park Tower Security Corp. The new company will advise on and help implement security solutions for other commercial building owners and corporate tenants.

"I think we've made a commitment to take that tenant-first outlook out there," said Kate Coburn, director of marketing at Park Tower Realty.

More and more, Coburn said, people are asking for guidance before they begin a significant rehab or make a major relocation.

The new company operates in New York and Washington, D. C. and will soon be licensed in New Jersey. Mickey Schwartz, a former New York City assistant chief of police and a former commanding officer of the Manhattan South Borough, has been named chief operating officer.

Security Philosophy

Schwartz met George Klein, chairman of the Park Tower Group, in 1983 and, he joined his company, he said, because the two men found they had a similar philosophy on security.

"We agreed that security should just not be spoken of," Schwartz said. "It must be acted on."

At Park Tower, Schwartz said, they take a "holistic" approach and meld security provisions with the designer's conception of the building before construction. And when tenants are building their individual space, Park Tower recommends certain security measures and where they should be placed. For Park Tower tenants that have their own security, like IBM, the owner works with the company to integrate the two systems.

"We have major interest in the security of our tenants and buildings," said Neil C. Klarfeld, executive vice president at Park Tower and president of Park Tower Security.

Some of the security elements in Park Tower Building include unarmed and "discreetly" armed guards with law enforcement backgrounds, camera-recorded elevators and lobbies, and tenant-operated alarms in the bathrooms.

The owner offers tenants, especially foreign banks and executives, individualized services, such as extra guard protection or investigative work. During the Persian Gulf Crisis, this was particularly useful, Schwartz said.

Park Tower-sponsored safety seminars for tenants provide tips and warn against any new dangers in the area like con games. One thing they tell all tenants, Schwartz said, is not to let any stranger to the company use the bathroom.

Klarfield added, "It's a frame of mind you have to convey to people."

Sometenants, Schwartz said, may even feel too comfortable in Park Tower's buildings. Recently a tenant shared plans with the owner that contained no front door. The tenant said he was so confident in the security that he wanted to enter his space from the elevator. Schwartz and Klarfield managed to change the tenant's mind.

"Sometimes you're a victim of your own success," Schwartz said.

Klarfield said the company has, indeed, managed to make their building's secure without giving the feeling that tenants and guests are entering a fortress.

"The whole idea is you don't want to turn people off," Schwartz said.

Park Tower Security can provide owners and tenants with security consulting and evaluation, on-premises security personnel, asset and property protection, special consulate and government office protection capabilities, VIP/executive protection programs, specialized technical equipment. And, Schwartz said, they have the capability of reaching any security organization or expert. There are even private companies, Schwartz said, that provide bomb-sniffing dogs.

The company's senior executives and armed personnel are former law enforcement officers.

"Any type of skill that's needed we can serve and we can do it in the middle of the night," he said.

Security and Leasing

The executives believe there is an increased demand for security for owners because it has become such an important criteria for tenants in their space selection process.

"They may put security number one before HVAC," Coburn said.

Schwartz added, "If you're an employer and you don't give safe and secure atmosphere, you may be liable."

And security, Schwartz said, is intrinsically linked to a building's image.

"One serious crime in a building could really put a black mark on that building that people will never forget," he said.

In whatever service they provide to outside clients, the executives say they will try to pass on their pro-active view of security.

"The whole key to our security philosophy is preventing anything untoward from happening," Schwartz said.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:executives at Park Tower Realty Corp.
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 5, 1992
Words:741
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