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By Zach Gorn ’18
After a particularly cold and dreary day in New York City, 16 members of the Real Estate Association (REA) headed south to Washington, DC for what promised to be unseasonably warm weather and an enlightening visit with some of the major players in the DC real estate market. The group arrived on Thursday evening April 20th for a networking reception just two blocks from the White House, where current students mingled with DC area alums as well as incoming class of 2019 students.
The following day, we started our trek bright and early with a visit to Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). John Sikaitis, Managing Director in the firm’s Research group, gave us an overview of current trends in the local office market. Carl Caputo, Senior Research Analyst and Michael Hartnett, Corporate Strategy Manager then led a more detailed discussion of the DC and Northern Virginia office markets, reviewing vacancy rates, concession packages, and rent trends in the Class A and Class B markets.
Our next visit was to Georgetown, where we met David Cohen, Director of Development with Thor Equities for a site tour of their exciting redevelopment of the Latham Hotel. As we walked around the site of the former landmark hotel, David described Thor’s plan to reposition the asset. We ended the site tour with a visit to the roof of the old hotel, which boasts panoramic views of Georgetown and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The group then ventured north to Chevy Chase, Maryland to visit the offices of Federal Capital Partners, where we were greeted by Wade Casstevens ’03, Senior Vice President of Residential Acquisitions. Wade and his colleagues reviewed a series of case studies of significant mixed-use projects the firm has worked on over the last several years in DC proper, Northern Virginia, and Raleigh, North Carolina.
After a quick stop for lunch to refuel after a busy morning, the group headed to the site of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where Hines is working on one of the most substantial redevelopment projects in the DC area. We met Katie Wiacek, Managing Director, at Hines’ on-site property management office, which was formerly an Army Officer Housing building. The site is home to over 4 million square feet of existing space which used to be occupied by the U.S. Army. Hines was awarded the rights to be the master plan developer of the site. As the sun started to swelter on this early summer day, the students ditched their jackets and went on a walking tour of the property, where Phase I of the redevelopment is scheduled to begin in the fall.
The last stop of the trek was in DC proper at the offices of Akridge, where we met with CBS alumni Mike Gill ’03 and Adam Gooch ’05, both Senior Vice Presidents at the firm. Adam discussed in detail the incredible story of Akridge’s development of 100 V Street, a transformative project in the Buzzard Point neighborhood of Southwest DC. We were regaled by the tale of perseverance associated with 100 V Street, which is anticipated to be 2.4 million square feet, including the development of DC United’s brand new soccer stadium.
We would like to thank the Paul Milstein Center, especially Administrative Director Kristin Svenningsen who accompanied us in DC, our generous alumni and company hosts, as well as our REA organizers for putting together this wonderful trek.
View the photo slideshow:
Zach Gorn ’18 graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, where he was a double major in Economics and Psychology. He then worked for 2 years at Analysis Group, a national economic consulting firm, before joining his family’s real estate development business in Baltimore, MD, where he worked for 3 years before coming to Columbia Business School. Zach is focused on real estate development and investment at Columbia.