- The Washington Times - Monday, October 15, 2001

PROPERTY LINES

The federal government has picked five real estate brokerages in Washington that it will do business with, part of a program that could generate as much as $75 million for the companies over five years.

The General Services Administration, the agency that handles government real estate, said last week it will dole its work out to more private brokerages.

The administration awarded contracts to three firms: Trammell Crow, a Dallas-based company; Capitol Creag, a small firm in the District; and Equis Corp., a Chicago-based company.

In addition, the administration gave new contracts to two firms it has been doing business with since 1997: Crown Partnership, which is based in New York; and Spaulding & Slye Colliers, a firm with offices in Washington and Boston.

Each firm gets a one-year contract, with an option to renew the deal annually for four additional years. The administration says it could order as much as $3 million from each company during each year of the contract.

The work will involve negotiating new leases and lease renewals and determining the future real estate needs of federal agencies. All of the work will be done in the Washington area.

The firms that got the contracts say they are thrilled to be able to do business with one of the biggest real estate customers in the country.

Between October 1999 and October 2000, Crown and Spaulding did about $1.4 million in government-related business in the Washington area, up from $314,000 in 1997, the administration says.

"This deal has a lot of potential for our company," says Arthur Russell, one of three founding partners of Capitol Creag. The firm opened in 1999 and has about 30 employees. Its target revenue this year is $3 million, Mr. Russell says.

Scott Leachman, a senior vice president for Trammell Crow, says sharing the government's work with other brokerages makes the deal unique. "We usually compete with these companies. Now we're going to be working together to get the best deals for the government," he says.

The administration began using private brokers about five years ago. The program is being expanded because it has been so successful, according to Anthony Costa, assistant regional administrator for GSA's public buildings service.

"Although we knew this approach had great potential, we did not know that it would work as well as it did," Mr. Costa says.

What's opera, doc?

The Washington Opera has opened its new rehearsal hall in Takoma Park. At a ribbon cutting ceremony this month, Placido Domingo, the opera company's artistic director, cut the ribbon with a sword.

The company renovated a warehouse with about 50,000 square feet at 6925 Willow St., near the Takoma Park Metrorail station. The space will be used to hold rehearsals, store costumes and a community outreach program.

Washington architects Hickok Warner Fox designed the space, which was developed by Doug Jemal.

In other news

• LaSalle Investment Management has tapped Trammell Crow to manage and handle leasing for the Edward F. Carlough Building, a 123,000-square-foot office building at 601 North Fairfax St. in Alexandria.

• Chesapeake Appraisal and Settlement Services, part of New York consumer lending group CitiFinancial, will lease 65,000 square feet at 7090 Samuel Morse Drive in Columbia. Baltimore-area brokerage MacKenzie/Oncor helped arrange the lease.

• American Distributors, an air-conditioning distributor, will lease 23,532 square feet at 14801 Willard Road, a Chantilly building owned by Peter Lawrence Co. Brokerage Transwestern arranged the deal.

• Chris Baker can be reached at 202/636-3139 or [email protected]

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