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December 9, 2008
 
       
 
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ADVICE!

Big shout-out to great sponsor Trammell Crow Company. Their Patriots Plaza will be completed 3rd quarter of '09, offering 701k SF of high-security class A office space. Please see ad to the right for more details on this great property. 


 

Yes, advice, that's what we could all use at a time like this. So we've been going around asking experts what we should be doing with our increasingly available time, since the golf courses are as frozen as, well, the credit markets.

 

Arent Fox's Ellen McCarthy, former Planning Director under DC Mayor Tony Williams: "What I'm seeing are smart developers using this time to get new projects entitled." One of Ellen's last official acts as was to get a new Comprehensive Plan adopted, providing an outline for areas where change is expected. She says things are still on track. Look for Columbia Heights to swell with residents but remain attractive because traffic will not be horrendous thanks to Metro and Zipcar. Good potential also runs the entire Michigan Ave corridor from Columbia Height to Brookland. And Ward 7 (Minnesota Ave/Benning Rd NE) is slated to be a "regional center as vital as Friendship Heights."

 
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David Popp, Transwestern: "We're probably not as bearish as some others out there. We were entering a cyclical downturn over a year ago as the region's supply expanded and started to outpace demand.  The credit meltdown and its after-effects have just exacerbated the extent of the contraction." David says we'll continue to see a shift where management, leasing, and operations matter much more than ability to flip a property. "We're focused on blocking and tackling: controlling expenses, renewing tenants, and fighting to land every organization looking at space." Of course, DC is insulated compared to NY and London, and those who stay close to TARP and GSA will benefit as agencies like Treasury, FDIC, and the SEC grow to administer the bailout. Overall, David says, DC has gained 35,700 jobs for the 12 months ending in October, compared to 1.3M lost nationwide.

 
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We snapped this at Congressional Country Club of Calkain Companies CEO Jon Hipp, center, with colleague Jeff Bogart, left, and  Coakley Realty CEO Rory Coakley. Together with Wachovia 1031 guru James Brennan, Jon hosted a seminar there on the net lease market and investment tax strategies to take advantage of an expected spike in capital gains rates. They want to let it be known  you can still defer indefinitely through 1031s, and that the 1031 intermediary market is alive and will resurge in popularity in the next 12 months. By the way, contractor Coakley Williams, run by Rory's brother, is doing the $20M expansion of Congressional—so we're glad to see your greens fees at work for the industry.

 

We took this of Scott DeCain in our office this morning, pointing out where he would sign the wall. This summer with former Charles E. Smith colleagues Paul Larner, Dave Sittler, and Mike Crehan, they started Bald Eagle Partners to do advisory services for lenders needing valuation and restructuring of challenged assets, and investing for their own account (eg, recently buying a B note with Alex Brown at 60% discount that a bank had to unload even though it was still performing). Scott sees coming bad news for developers (running out of interest reserves and ballooning CMBS debts) as good news for brokers and investors: increasing pressure in '09 through '12 to narrow the spread of bid and ask. Which is a polite way of saying that developers will have much more of an incentive, he says, to sell as "debt maturities stare them in the face."  (The name Bald Eagle comes from the fact Scott went to both Gonzaga and Boston College where that's the mascot. At least that's the story.) 


RECYCLING!
 

Our friends at Calvert Jones (green building services and technologies) will be once again holding one of the quarterly recycling days they've done the last couple year, on January 21. The event allows computer users to dispose of obsolete computers and related equipment, and even cell phones and used fluorescent light bulbs, in an environmentally safe way. We snapped this the other day at their Alexandria HQ of Calvert-Jones president Stan Peregoy. [Poke Stan for further info—or just to thank him for this great initiative.]

 
 
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