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April 2, 2014
Last Night with Laura Bush
Who will be honored at the Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Association (CREBA) awards dinner on April 9? Join us! RSVP here.
Last night, real estate ditched the development deals and negotiations and put on its black-tie best as the National Building Museum held its annual Honor Award Gala. (It's like the Oscars, except it's not too long and it matters.) And former First Lady Laura Bush was among the honorees.
A trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, she follows in Lady Bird Johnson's footsteps as First Ladies to win the Museum's Honor Award, which she was given for her longtime work as a historic preservation advocate. While still living in the White House, she started Preserve America, a program designed to preserve the heritage of historic communities.
We also snapped Building Museum CEO Chase Rynd with Danish ambassador Peter Taskoe-Jensen and wife Gitte. (We whipped out our Google Translate to say "Rart at møde dig," but we may have mixed up the pronunciation.) Chase tells us he was thrilled to welcome Laura and 500 other guests to the museum for the 28th edition of the Honor Award Gala.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (and CEO Stephanie Meeks, whom we snapped with husband Rob) was also honored for its work in identifying, restoring, and saving some of America's great historic properties and landmarks. (Maybe some day they'll be preserving some of the developments you're working on now.)
Folks from all walks of real estate were on hand, including ForestCity's Jason Bonnet and Ari Blumenthal and Shalom Baranes Associates' Mark Gilliand. Mark tells us he's busy working on designs for Burnham Place at Union Station, as well as Boston Properties/Steuart Investment's 501 K St in Mount Vernon Triangle.
CoStar is a long supporter of the Building Museum (CEO Andy Florance is on the board), and we snapped CIO Frank Simuro, VP of research Dean Violagis, EVP Frank Carchedi, and CFO Brian Radecki.
Taking a break from working on Capitol Crossing: PGP's Grace Burke, Kate Mercogliano, Sarah Weaver, and Tamika Jackson.
Women and Wine IX
Last night, we also gathered with 400 top local businesswomen at the Four Seasons for the 9th Annual Women and Wine event benefiting Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. While roaming the massive selection of silent auction items, guests enjoyed great wine, cocktails, and delicious hors d'oeuvres, including grilled shrimp and spring rolls. (We made sure to be very thorough in how we researched those selections.) Here's JLL's Kelly McBride, event co-chair and Brandywine Realty Trust's Janet Davis, First Guarantee Mortgage's Valerie Fugit, and JLL's Mia Eglinton.
The reception was followed by more wine, dinner, and door prizes. Brookfield's Katie Malone, Davis Construction's Louise Boulton-Lear, CBRE's Natasha Stancill, and First American Title's Susan Goldstein.
How Early Do Tenants Start Looking?
It's still a tenant's market in the DC area. And firms on the hunt for new space are starting the search earlier and earlier, according to West, Lane & Schlager's Andrew Genova (with colleague Matt Levin). Whereas real estate decisions for many tenants used to often take less than a year, some groups are starting the search two and even three years before a current lease expires, Andrew says. And since there's no clear-cut tenant base filling up the area's vacancies, landlords are still willing to dole out big concessions to woo tenants, including lease buyouts, he tells us. (Who says romance is dead?)
Andrew's seen the lease buyout trend firsthand with a deal he and colleague Rich Lane recently brokered for PSI Services and Administrative Services (ASI/PSI) in its new 21k SF Landover space at 8301 Professional Pl. The affiliated groups had 18 months left on a lease in Bethesda, but Andrew and Rich were able to negotiate a buyout valued at half of ASI/PSI's remaining lease, which the new landlord paid. It's been a busy few months for Andrew, who's also closed an additional 32k SF of deals on behalf of tenants including: International Franchise Association and Solidaris with colleague Eric West, Pediatric Nursing Certification Board with Cresa's Mindy Saffer, and The Ocean Foundation with colleague Ganon Rich.
555 12th's New Team
555 12th St doesn't just have a new owner (Metlife), but a new leasing team in Cushman & Wakefield. Here are three of the team members, snapped this morning: Scott Russi, Dave Dochter, and Mark Wooters. Scott, Mark, and colleagues Brian Raher and Michael Katcher will handle the office space, including the block vacated by Arnold & Porter next year, while Dave and colleague Matt Alexander will handle retail, including the largest block of vacant retail space (formerly the ESPN Zone) in DC on the ground floor.
Our Creative Office Survey Says...
Creative office space isn't too far behind the How I Met Your Mother finale on the buzzometer. And just like the TV show, not everyone is happy about it. We surveyed 563Bisnow readers and found a surprising number of office traditionalists. "The distractions of being in an open environment are killing my productivity," lamented one respondent. (We'd feel guilty for pulling him away from work to take a survey, but it seems he was already inattentive.) Noise, lack of privacy, and reduced concentration were the chief complaints. But it's important to satisfy the needs of a new generation, others replied, so a mix of both collaborative and traditional space is a must. "Traditional office space can be stifling and dated, especially to those 35 and under," wrote another reader. To satisfy both, a former architect tells us the best design is offices around the core and work stations in the open perimeter.