Different Cities, Different Security for Buildings

The 50-story Trammell Crow Center in downtown Dallas, where the giant real estate company of the same name has its headquarters, is known for its glass pyramid top and its plaza with bronze works by Rodin and other French sculptors.

But a visitor may also notice something that the Trammell Crow Center does not have, at least not most of the time: tight security. Visitors can walk into the building and use an elevator without showing identification to a guard.

Most tenants in Dallas offices do not want to bother with identification, unless, say, a bomb threat is reported in a nearby building or the federal government issues a terrorism warning, said Steve Castor, national security director for Trammell Crow, which manages six other office buildings in the central business district of Dallas.

Nearly two years after the World Trade Center was destroyed, ID checks by security guards have become routine at office buildings in New York, and many buildings have installed high-tech equipment to keep out unwanted visitors.

Elsewhere not only in Dallas but in Washington, Los Angeles and most cities in between so-called closed buildings are rare. Tenants and their visitors are free to come and go.

"The tighter the security," Mr. Castor said, "the more inconvenient it is for the people working in your building. Unlike in New York, the threat is not perceived of as great in Dallas or other cities, and tenants don't want that much inconvenience every day when they come to work."

Other property managers and consultants say that many tenants object to heightened security more because of the cost than the inconvenience.

"In a multitenanted building," said Mark R. Costello, a managing partner of Ernst & Young's real estate advisory services, "these costs are passed on to tenants. If the tenant doesn't feel vulnerable, or feels that the costs outweigh the benefits, you're going to get push-back."

Buildings with single tenants, particularly financial companies and law firms, are more likely to have controlled access, property managers said.

But the fact that controlled access seems to be more prevalent in New York does not mean that building owners and managers in other cities are not concerned about security, said John P. Kelly, the chairman of the Building Owners and Managers Association International, or BOMA, which has about 18,900 members in North America. "Everybody's taking it seriously," he said.

According to preliminary data from a survey of 1,959 buildings that Mr. Kelly's group plans to release on Aug. 1, security costs increased 14.3 percent from 2001 to 2002.

In 2001, some 2,300 private commercial buildings reported spending an average of 49 cents a square foot on security each year, most of it for guards, according to a survey by BOMA. Data for 2002 showed that security costs had climbed to 56 cents a square foot. Under the terms of most leases, these costs are considered common charges and are absorbed by the tenants, said Dora Blacknall, a research manager for BOMA.

Stanley E. Roualdes, the executive vice president in charge of property management and construction at the Shorenstein Company, which owns and manages 25 million square feet of office space around the country, said that security measures vary considerably from city to city and sometimes even within a city.

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