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February 8, 2008

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You'd think the real estate crowd was full of intellectuals the way 1200 sat still last night for the 45-minute slide presentation at Transwestern's 11th annual Trendlines Conference at the Reagan Center. Maybe everyone was just so delighted that speaker Greg Leisch, CEO of research firm Delta Associates, pronounced the commercial real estate market "still sturdy."  He said-we're not making this up-it's almost time to go buy condos again.


Local Transwestern head Tom Nordlinger, second from left, opened the program saying it was hard to believe that last year the question on everyone's mind was how high could sales prices go.  Special Trendsetter of the Year award was presented to Carr Properties'  Oliver Carr III, center, who said he hoped it would put him on par in his kids' eyes with Eli Manning. On hand to celebrate were the rest of the storied Carr Clan:  brothers Bob and Tom at left and right, and ever-young family patriarch Oliver, Jr.


Delta CEO Greg Leisch, here with Transwestern's Ken Marks, said capital's still available for investment sales, but just more expensive and complicated, and "oh, that issue of recourse."  But he pointed out some silver linings:  The credit crunch is bringing out all-cash buyers (50% in Q4 compared to 15% in Q1); a weak US dollar generates more investment by foreigners (5% of sales in Q1, now 20%); and higher inflation rates could be good news for real estate since it's regarded as an inflation hedge.


In from Houston headquarters for the occasion was Transwestern CEO Larry Heard, center, here with Midwest Region president Rob Bagguley from Chicago and CFO Steve Harding.  Larry is in his 25th year at the firm and 6th as head, and is a lifelong Houstonian.  He comes to DC at least four times a year, most recently a week ago for a Real Estate Roundtable meeting with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.


Here's a story we like.  Brookfield's Jim Hedges (with Booz Allen global real estate manager Pierce DeGross)  tells us that a couple weeks ago he spoke at a Maryland NAIOP event about what's in and out for the New Year, and that one category he depicted was "pictures in Bisnow."  He predicted that "out" will be "spec developers eating at fancy restaurants," and "in" will be "asset managers  and leasing agents working at their desks or pitching product."  We'll try to comply.


Developer Jair Lynch tells us he was just up in New York to see the "New Museum of Contemporary Art" in the Bowery.  With him, Matt McCombs of GSA's Asset Management central office.


Bob Atkinson of Davis Carter Scott, second from left, says he was amazed at the emails he was flooded with after an appearance on these pages a couple weeks ago, so we thought we'd ask you all to bombard him again. And send 'em also to: Clark Construction sales chief Keith Barker, Project Solution's Elizabeth Tuico, and Clark's Cameron Chesnik.


We snapped this on Wednesday at lunch at Clyde's in Chevy Chase with Transwestern marketing queen Christine Masney, whose calm look belies the fact she masterminded the Trendlines event and it was only 24 hours away.  With her, Transwestern's David Popp and Glen Fernald.

Reznick Group
McGuire Woods
Fraser Forbes
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