- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2006

At the Washington offices of Staubach Co. and Jones Lang LaSalle, employees say they are learning a new way of doing business in real estate after assuming the contract to take over leasing operations of the U.S. General Services Administration last year.

“There’s a different value structure for the government,” said David W. Kollmorgen, managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle’s 250-employee Washington office. “Profit and loss is not part of their vernacular.”

Instead, the real estate firm is learning the language of government rules, policies and procedures for the contract valued at about $30 million over five years.

About 40 percent of the work is being done in the Washington area. The rest is spread throughout the other 1,800 buildings the GSA owns and 6,500 it leases nationwide.

Staubach, with Trammell Crow Co. and Studley Inc., received contracts of equal value.

For the first time in GSA history, the agency that acts as the federal government’s landlord contracted out its real estate brokerage service on a national basis. Previously, 11 regional GSA offices brokered the leasing deals, sometimes with 11 interpretations of how it should be done and duplication of efforts.

The government should save money with “one way of doing business, one set of contracts,” said Mr. Kollmorgen, who spoke yesterday at a meeting of the Washington branch of Commercial Real Estate Women.

Meanwhile, the contracts are providing a stable source of business for the real estate firms that won them.

“We see this as a big chunk of Staubach work going forward,” said Robert A. Peck, senior vice president of the 90-employee Washington office of Staubach.

In other news …

Real estate developer Tower Cos. announced this week that it plans to begin work within weeks on the new headquarters in Rockville it will share with business partner Lerner Enterprises.

The new headquarters, at 2000 Tower Oaks Blvd., is being designed as a showcase of environmentally friendly development, which is Tower’s specialty. The company is currently headquartered in North Bethesda.

“You have to achieve certain environmental standards, including recycled materials, reduced energy and daylight views for the tenants,” said David Borchardt, senior project manager at Tower.

The 194,000-square-foot, $50 million building is being designed to achieve the gold standard under the U.S. Green Building Council’s four-tier rating system. Gold is the second-highest rating.

Only in the past six years have environmentally friendly buildings that meet the highest standards become a practical expenditure rather than an expensive statement of style.

Companies such as Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, IBM and Toyota are making “green buildings” a mainstream phenomenon as environmentally friendly construction materials drop in price and their performance ratings improve.

Charles Lockwood, a California real estate consultant on environmental design, said the effect of green buildings on commercial real estate is likely to rival the invention of central air conditioning in the 1950s or elevators in the 19th century as the cost savings from green buildings make more conventional designs obsolete.

Property Lines runs on Thursdays. Call Tom Ramstack at 202/636-3180 or e-mail [email protected] times.com.

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