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9/11 Remembered

Dallas-Ft. Worth
9/11 Remembered
Duke Realty regional EVP Jeff Turner
We all remember where we were on 9/11. For Duke Realty regional EVP Jeff Turner, he recalls it as a surreal day. In this business, the terrorist attacks were a huge setback, he tells us. Business instantly went on hold. Long-lasting effects are still felt, he says, in projects like the administrative office complex Duke is developing for the DOD in its Mark Center in Alexandria, Va. Security for the $1B 1.7M SF government project is like nothing you've ever seen before, Jeff says. With property in the Inland EmpireSavannah, and across Florida, the terrorist attacks were a wake-up call to security at the ports, too. “We realized how vulnerable America was on our coasts and at our ports," he says. "There was a lot to be done to make them safer when it comes to logistics and items coming in from out of the country. We've made strides to make it safer since then.”
Muncsh Hardt Kopf & Harr shareholder Kitty O'Connell Henry
Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr shareholder Kitty O'Connell Henry says 9/11 started out as just another Tuesday at her house. When she returned to her office overlooking Love Field, she realized that she had no conscious awareness of the planes that had crossed her view each day. “I clearly remember the eerie silence  and the empty skies during the initial days after 9/11 when the planes were grounded,” Kitty tells us. The terrorist attacks put an immediate halt to all pending real estate transactions. Clients who closed their deals before 9/11 breathed a huge sign of relief; almost everyone else saw their deals die—or at least get postponed indefinitely. One of Kitty's largest clients, an NY-based pension fund, redistributed personnel from its Manhattan HQ to three offices across the US as a hedge against a future attack. Leasing lawyers and risk managers nationwide began revising  lease forms to address the risk of terrorist activity by adding waivers of damages arising from terrorist acts and requirements for terrorist insurance, she says.
 
Annandale Real Estate's Sue Hageman
Annandale Real Estate's Sue Hageman was getting ready for work when she heard the news on the Today Show. “I felt a debilitating sense of sadness and fear; sadness for what was happening right in front of our eyes and fear of what was yet to come. I called my family and friends to tell them that I loved them,” she tells us. At the time, Sue was doing retail leasing for Plaza of the Americas  and Renaissance Tower. High-rises in major cities were on alert with extra security guards, she recalls. “I remember it was very difficult to have appointments in those buildings for a long time. People were fearful of visiting the buildings and taking the elevators. I couldn't overcome that objection; that was something that just had to subside with time,” she says.
 
The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services chairman/CEO Herb Weitzman
The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services chairman/CEO Herb Weitzman, too, was watching the morning news when he heard the reports and as the “horrific details” came to light, his concerns turned to protecting his staff as word came out that more attacks were planned—including one in Dallas. In the immediate aftermath, Herb says he reviewed safety plans for all of their offices meeting with employees and associates to do what was necessary to bring a sense of normalcy back. “It was important that we kept going on with our lives and our work so that the terrorist tactics did not succeed,” he adds. For the property management group, the biggest issue was to make sure that insurance policies  were updated for terrorist activity. “Day-to-day, things have returned to normal, but I don't think anyone will ever again be able to pretend that the United States is immune to terrorism or that it cannot happen again.”