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September 15, 2008
 
       
 
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WALL STREET CRISIS

Hollywood comes to Crystal CityRainn Wilson (aka "Dwight") from NBC's The Office will be emceeing Tahirih Justice Center's Annual "Voices for Justice" event at the Marriott Crystal Gateway on Sept. 27th, and Debra Winger is one of the event co-Chairs. We'll see you there!  Ticket information


 

We all woke up this morning to the nightmare news about Lehman, Merrill, and AIG. But how does it play out for Washington commercial real estate? We searched for experts who weren't drowning their sorrows on the golf course.

 

Transwestern investment sales guru Gerry Trainor, in his office this morning at 17th and K, says the crisis in New York is an opportunity inside the Beltway. We assume he knows what he's talking about with all those crystal awards behind him (although it's possible they're just flower vases his wife wanted out of the house). "We're expecting more failures," he told us, but "people have been reluctant to realize the situation and hopefully this brings it to the forefront so we can put it behind us." Back from a visit to Manhattan, Gerry says the pendulum is beginning to swing to the point where people become over-pessimistic, creating buying ops.

 
Crystal City
 

Gerry thinks the gap between bid and ask will begin to close as prices come back to earth. "The sooner we can bring buyers and sellers together, the better off for everyone." Transwestern, he says, is actively looking for opportunities. He says "this is the time to be out there when everyone else is running. It's the opportune time and the smart people will be out there picking off some good deals."

 

Calkain founder Jonathan Hipp, signing our wall this morning (that's one of our bikes in the back; he arrives more fashionably), agrees that turmoil brings opportunity. The king of net leases, Jonathan says: "Since we sell investments that are bond-like with predictable income streams to credit tenants, we've seen a number of investors who continue to find real estate very attractive in today's market."

 

You'd think it was the Declaration of Independence we're having them sign, we treat it so seriously. No, it's just our wall, because we're too cheap for decorations. Anyway, Seyfarth Shaw's Stan Jutkowitz also stopped in this morning and says he's been doing a lot of workouts and it's not the kind at Sport & Health. He's talking about renegotiations and bankruptcies, folks. He saw Hamlet II over the weekend and reports the first half dragged, but the second half made it worth sitting through. We are hoping the same will apply to the next 12 months. 

 

While some of our friends are predicting a big retrenchment in consumer spending and even leaner times for developers, Greg Leisch of Delta Associates says he thinks the sting will go away soon enough. "There's some short-term pain and short term dislocation," he told us this morning, but it will be a good thing in the medium and long-term to wring out an over-loaded pipeline of financing projects. "We're going to look back six to 12 months from now, and we won't even know the difference."


HAIL TO THE REAL ESTATE CROWD
 

Cushman and Wakefield's Geoff Kreiss, CB's Joe Coleman, and Cassidy's Jonathan "JJ"  Wellborn, were among a group of 20 or so young brokers that Andy Eichberg and Tishman Speyer took to the Skins game yesterday. These three fans all work on downtown leasing: Jonathan on 77 K in NOMA, and Joe (with Randy Harrell and Kevin Howard) on a bunch of deals like 1501 M and 805 15th.


NO WINE FOR LUNCH?
 

No, this is not the Old White Guys Club. These are the ex-chairmen of Washington's greatest wine event of the year, already planning last week at Morton's  for next May 7-9. Legendary wine critic Robert Parker will host the tasting, and dinner will include the wines of storied Chateau Latour plus a wine auction led by Sotheby's Jamie Ritchie. Best, proceeds go to the Heart Association. From left, CitiGroup EVP and head of government affairs Nick Calio; your humble publisher Mark Bisnow (who invoked his freedom of the press rights in not wearing a tie); Kane Companies CEO John Kane; Wachovia Washington area president Sam Schreiber; former AOL EVP and General Counsel George Vradenberg; and Computech CEO and former Tech Council of Maryland Chair JD Murphy. But where was the wine? Oh, right, saving profits for the Heart Association. It really is a great cause and event: www.HeartsDelightWineAuction.org.

More on the Washington fallout of the Wall Street crisis:

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