We currently are not an UrbanSim user, but we've held a subscription to CoStar for several years now and have found it helpful for numerous applications at CMAP. It's a useful input to our development monitoring database because it can identify proposed developments that our other sources might not have picked up. It reports Rentable Building Area which can help in estimating potential employment, as well as current vacancy info. It's fairly easy to query and export records for internal use, but they do impose a 500 record-per-export limit. After explaining our need for performing regional analyses outside of their interface, they were kind enough to raise our limit to 2,000 records, but that still requires multiple, mutually-exclusive queries to download (for example) records for all retail properties in Cook County. I'd be happy to share the CMAP experience with CoStar in greater detail...you can contact me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can set up a call with some of our staff that work with it on a regular basis.
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)