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October 15, 2008
1/4 FULL!

Reminder-the biggest party of the season is TONIGHT-and it's free: Bisnow's Democrats v. Republicans Hip Happy Hour. 1,500 people from all Washington industries. The great Park at Fourteenth. Oct 15, 6-8 PM, stay and watch the debate. No charge, but you must sign up!


We're optimists here at Bisnow, so present circumstances require that we coin a new phrase: "The glass is one quarter full." (We're also optimistic we don't need to hire a lawyer to copyright that.) We're just back from lunch today with 200 of you for NAIOP Maryland/DC's annual financial review at the Marriott Bethesda North, and we will choose (at least in the first couple paragraphs) to focus on the positive from the panel: Washington commercial real estate is doing a lot better than anywhere else.  


Capital market experts: PNC's Marc McAndrew, Hines' Michael Allen, JBG's Matt Kelly, ING Clarion's Marc DeLuca, and moderator Miles Spencer of Eastdil Secured. One of our fellow optimists, Michael Klein of Akridge (see picture below), reminded us of the well-known economic law that when all first names on a panel begin with "M," the bottom has been reached and it can only be up from there. But the panelists also presented concrete reasoning: Allen said DC will be the greatest single beneficiary of the government's massive new financial regulatory apparatus; DeLuca recalled that the RTC in the early 90s needed 585k SF, and this time DC will need more space for TARP, the SEC, the DoJ, Treasury, and all the new lobbying and lawyering that (despite campaign promises to the contrary) everyone's expecting to boom.   

Reznick Group

On the other side of the ledger, panelists noted that CMBS activity, which had enjoyed a five-fold increase from '03 to '07 has come to a "screeching halt" in '08, and that banks and life insurance companies are unlikely to absorb upcoming maturities; indeed, as the stock market drops, they will be increasingly overexposed in their allocation to real estate.  Panelists said that a couple years ago if you wanted to raise debt, you sent out 15 faxes and within minutes got back 15 offers; today, they said, not only are the offers many fewer but financiers are asking "real questions" about the underlying real estate and track record of sponsors. Still, they said debt is flowing more than in '90 to '91, and unless sellers are in distress this can just be a time to show patience.


Attentive audience members included Akridge's Matt Konrad, HFF's Jim Meisel, Equity Office's Tom Bakke, and FOX Architects Mark Strandquist, with Akridge's Michael Klein standing.  Matt and his wife were in Providence visiting friends last weekend, even though he's from Annapolis and should have been out sailing in this beautiful weather.

Multi-Family Winners

We've been meaning to congratulate winners of Delta's 12th annual Mid-Atlantic Multifamily Awards like JBG's Waterview as best NoVa condo, and Kettler and ING's Gramercy at Metropolitan Park as best high rise, not to mention Best Coverage to Bisnow (we left early but assume it was coming).  Above, Delta Associates CEO Greg Leisch, with EastBanc founder Anthony Lanier and Bozzuto's Toby Bozzuto, seems to be toasting twice (or is that an optical illusion?), perhaps because Bozzuto won overall Sales Volume Leader and Best Mixed Use Apartment Community for Highland Park, developed with Torti Gallas, Gragg & Associates, and Donatelli Development. Toby is used to partying these days: his two month old son loves to get up and play at 3 AM.


Transwestern dynamic duo Al Cissel and Scott Melnick flank JPI's Greg Lamb and Jim Duncan. They were telling us about North Bethesda's Jefferson at Inigo's Crossing, which earned Most Innovative Apartment Design. Jim's favorite Inigo amenity? The exclusive pub complete with plasma screens, pool tables, and shuffle board. Scott's visiting his son at the University of Miami this month and is keeping his eye open for depressed Florida buyers who want to enter the DC market. .


Ross' Michael Schwartzman, M&T's Robert Ryan, Joseph DeCarlo and Sean Timms, Ross' Sam DiFrank, and Transwestern's Todd Weinstein. Robert tells us he was once Tom Jones's bodyguard at the Buffalo Playboy Club back in 1982, and Michael added that, should a club reopen, his father still has a membership key. Meanwhile, we're still trying to figure out how that topic came up based on our question: "Hey guys, what's happening?"


Transwestern's Erika Echelmeyer, Hedi Sandhoo, Jennifer Shupe, Christine Masney and Penny Whitehouse sample the wine before the big crowd broke through the gates.

Big Birthday

Roselyn Traubitz turned 100 recently, and as a tenant for 33 years at The Blairs in Silver Spring, got the Queen for a Day treatment.  Gallery Floral Design donated 100 long stem roses and landlord The Tower Companies (represented by Gary Abramson in the pink striped shirt) gifted 100 days of free rent.  Asked to what she attributes her longevity, Mrs. Traubitz replied, "Being ornery."  We'll try to remember that secret.

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