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Yesterday at ULI

Washington, D.C.
Yesterday at ULI

ULI held its 16th annual Washington Real Estate Trends conference yesterday at the Reagan Building, a cheerful reminder of how many distinct, active areas actually comprise our "DC region."


Hines' Chuck Watters and Macerich's Tim Steffans updated the crowd on their firms' ambitious Tysons Tower project. (You know Chuck's a maverick since he doesn't have a blue speaker ribbon, yet still verbalized his thoughts.) Chuck tells us construction has progressed to the second level of the 524k SF building and that work is on schedule. After inking Intelsat to an 188k SF anchor lease in December, Tim says they're "very close" to announcements on other office tenants.


We also trotted over to a discussion of the White Flint sector plan, featuring Montgomery County permitting services director Diane Schwartz Jones, LCOR's Bill Hard, Lerner's Francine Waters, and Federal Realty's Don Briggs. Don says advancing the plan required a paradigm shift of both financing (adopting a special tax district for White Flint) and development (forming creative infrastructure solutions). Bill, whose firm is developing North Bethesda Center, says competing projects like Federal Realty's Pike & Rose actually add credibility to other developments.


We also heard from Zipcar founder Robin Chase, who urged owners of real estate to find alternative uses for idle assets, such as allowing more pop-up spaces in huge, vacant retail locations. Robin says it doesn't make sense to leave these spaces open for years on end: "Why are you afraid of having someone in there for short periods of time?" she says. ('Tis better to have leased and lost than to never have leased at all.)


We snapped Lockton Insurance Brokers' John Racunas (in from LA), Combined Properties'Debra Goldstein, andChevy Chase Land Co's Miti Figueredo and Lucy Fraser.Lucy says the company is eager to have the Chevy Chase Lake sector plan approved, while Debra says her firm is finishing construction on its Turnpike Shopping Center, which will deliver later this year.


Coalition for Smarter Growth's Stewart Schwartz, Davis Carter Scott's Garick Malcolm, and Vornado's Toby Millman.