Iconic Real Estate Developer Builds a Solid Foundation for its Worldwide Communications
Jamestown is a design-focused real estate investment and management company with a 35+ year track record. The company, which employs 450 people worldwide, has offices in Amsterdam, Bogotá, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. As of December 2019, the company had assets under management of $12.0 billion.
In the commercial real estate industry, few companies can claim to own a building that nearly everyone in the world has seen. But Jamestown Properties is on that short list.
Jamestown Properties designs, develops, owns, and manages some of the world’s most iconic commercial spaces. If you’ve ever watched the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City, then you’re familiar with one of Jamestown’s most famous buildings: One Times Square.
That’s just one of the company’s many widely recognized projects. Jamestown is responsible for New York City’s Chelsea Market, Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, and the million-square-foot Innovation and Design Building in Boston. The company also owns dozens of residential, office, and retail spaces throughout the US, Europe, and Latin America.
Jamestown operates according to a bold mission: to transform spaces into innovation hubs. Given the enormous successes of its projects like Atlanta’s Ponce City Market and Levi’s Plaza in San Francisco—among the most successful innovation hubs and community centers developed in recent years—Jamestown is succeeding at its mission.
But with the quickening pace of commercial real estate transactions, and Jamestown’s worldwide expansion, the company needed a more capable, unified communications solution.
“Now that we can hop on a video, share screens, review documents, and talk through the deal points—rather than waiting for a response to email—we’re able to be much faster on the draw.”
Senior Support Engineer
“My directive was: Get rid of our telephony systems, and the conferencing and instant-messaging apps too. Find us something that actually works.”
Senior Support Engineer
When technology can’t keep pace with operations
As Jamestown grew—both geographically and in terms of its development portfolio—the phone systems and other communication tools that served the company in its earlier days became an obstacle to progress.
The phones were first to create problems, particularly as the company expanded its footprint and each office—in Los Angeles, Boston, the Netherlands, Colombia, etc.—set up their own phone systems. “We were all just calling each other long distance like the old days,” recalls Dean Rogers, Jamestown’s Senior Support Engineer. “And sometimes things wouldn’t work at all, so we needed lots of patches and workarounds just to keep our company connected.”
Video conferencing created a similar challenge. Jamestown’s Atlanta headquarters subscribed to one video solution, Boston had a different one, and New York used another. As Dean explains: “If an Atlanta employee visited our New York office and scheduled a video meeting there, he’d have to bring the New York IT team into the conference room to get the call up and going.”
Yet another challenge was the instant messaging platform that came with Jamestown’s phone system. Because the staff was distributed and Jamestown’s employees often needed to communicate in real time, a chat app promised to be a valuable communication tool. But that didn’t work well, either. “Getting instant messaging up and running with the old system was a 50-step exercise for each person,” Dean says.
Unified cloud communications: bringing it all together
As successful as Jamestown is, it must compete with other firms for every deal worth closing. That means being able to collaborate, analyze, and make decisions quickly—even when some members of the decision-making team are on different continents. But thanks to their new cloud-based unified communications solution from RingCentral, Jamestown is well positioned to be the nimble, fast-moving company that closes the deal.
Now when they’re in the office—any Jamestown office in the world—employees can easily host or join a video call in any available conference room. “I was able to set up RingCentral Rooms identically in every conference room across the whole corporation,” says Dean.
Employees can walk into a meeting room, open the RingCentral app on their computer, and start the video call. “It makes for a much more meaningful meeting when you can all see each other, as opposed to a conference call where everyone in the room is just staring at the hockey puck on the table.
And when they’re not in the office, Jamestown’s staff can just as easily use any of their cloud communication tools—business phone, video conferencing, team messaging, file sharing—from the RingCentral app on their laptops and smartphones.
As Dean puts it: “Having the desktop app and all the collaboration tools on our phones, our computers, wherever we are in the world… that’s been amazing for our business.”