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December 10, 2009

‘Game changers’ show what’s ahead for commercial real estate

By TRICIA DEERING
CBA

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Deering

Commercial Real Estate Insights is co-hosted by the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Foster Pepper PLLC, the Washington State Commercial Association of Realtors and Old Republic Title. Insights presents industry experts who share their perspectives on the near- and mid-term business outlook.

After observing past difficult economic times, it is clear that, historically, recessions and depressions have recovered due to both public and private influence. Leadership emerges in challenging times that results in redirection and/or growth. Current economic challenges are no different.

James Surowiecki, in a recent New Yorker article, recalled bold, strategic moves that repositioned companies and redefined industries during periods of turmoil. For example, cereal giant Kellogg doubled its advertising budget during the Depression to promote its then-new Rice Krispies cereal, resulting in Kellogg becoming the industry’s dominant player; Texas Instruments introduced the revolutionary transistor radio during the recession in 1954; and Apple launched the wildly successful iPod six weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

This year’s Insights speakers are “game changers” — those involved in activities and ventures that have the potential to lead the real estate industry out of difficult times.

Chris Pratley, general manager of Microsoft Office Labs, is at the helm of innovation where the work of his team is setting the course of future technologies in the area of productivity. Pratley has been at Microsoft since 1994. Prior to this role, he co-founded the Microsoft OneNote team back in early 2001 and has been part of its success and innovation ever since. For Office 2007, he managed the teams that designed Word, Publisher and OneNote.

Dean Allen, president and CEO of McKinstry Co., has more than 30 years of experience in the design, construction and real estate industries of the Pacific Northwest. Through his vision, McKinstry has grown from a mechanical contractor into a comprehensive design, build, operate and maintain enterprise with more than $350 million in yearly revenues and more than 1,600 employees. Allen serves the community in a variety of industry and philanthropic roles. He is on the boards of the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Global Partnerships, PATH, and Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center. He also serves on the Washington Roundtable and the Partnership for Learning.

Bill Pollard, co-founder and partner of Talon Private Capital, left commercial real estate brokerage at the top of his game to start a private investment firm. Talon’s plan is to acquire assets while competition is moderate and capital is scarce. Pollard, along with his business partner, James Neal, have each invested, managed and brokered billions of dollars in transactions over the past years. With their success and experience, Talon will have early access to high-quality, distressed assets.

Formed by the commercial real estate brokerage community in 1977 to create a vehicle for member brokers to share information about available commercial properties with each other, CBA is celebrating its 32nd year in business in 2009. With more than 4,000 members and a staff that researches nearly 18,000 properties that are for sale or have space for lease, CBA provides the most comprehensive database of information on commercial real estate in the Pacific Northwest.

With access to information on available properties, recent sales and market performance statistics, CBA members are able to provide their customers and clients with complete and accurate information about the commercial real estate marketplace.



 


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