PREA 2016: Sustainability Tour of Wharf DC

PREA 2016 Real Estate Conference held this year in Washington, DC exceeded expectations with keynote speaker Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz, opening the 2-day conference by offering two juxtaposed global economic scenarios. The optimistic scenario drew upon the promise of innovation and technological advancement, with a glide path for sustained steady growth (albeit slow)." data-share-imageurl="">
Sunday, October 30, 2016

The annual PREA 2016 Real Estate Conference held this year in Washington, DC exceeded expectations with keynote speaker Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz, opening the 2-day conference by offering two juxtaposed global economic scenarios. The optimistic scenario drew upon the promise of innovation and technological advancement, with a glide path for sustained steady growth (albeit slow). The more dire scenario was predicated on economic impacts of political dysfunction, economic stagnation, negative interest rates and the inability to take bold steps to tackle social inequity and environmental degradation.

With nearly 1,000 private equity fund managers, institutional investors and consultants on hand, the former co-CIO of PIMCO spoke at length of possible economic disruptive events and potential short-term market impacts. Although his talk ended on a hopeful note, the audience exhibited a subdued response given the extended length of the current bull market.

Market disrupters were on display -- follow-on panels discussed Airbnb’s impact on both the lodging and multi-family markets. Gadi Kaufmann, CEO of RCLCO Real Estate Advisors led a spirited conversation into technologies and trends impacting real estate investors. Bob Faith, CEO of Greystar outlined his firm’s embrace of disruptive market forces for daily/weekly rentals to drive new opportunities for increased revenue in their vast multifamily portfolio.

The PREA Sustainability and Technology Affinity Group convened over lunch where the group heard from Cliff Majersik, Executive Director of IMT regarding the policy landscape on energy benchmarking and property valuation, along with a timely update on the release of Tenant Star, the  US EPA’s new program to recognize energy efficiency in tenant build-outs.

The Sustainability and Technology Affinity Group is headed-up by Robert Jones of GE Pension Trust alongside Nils Kok of GRESB. The group was treated to an off-site tour of Wharf DC, a $2.1 billion waterfront redevelopment project spanning 24 acres. This mixed-use, multi-phase project brings together PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette as the master development partners with the district opportunity to transform DC’s waterfront into a world-class destination.

Jon McAvoy, PN Hoffman’s Director of Finance, met the PREA group in the project’s leasing center that showcases the $450,000 architectural model [pictured] effectively bringing the development vision to life. The development plan targets LEED-ND Gold, and boasts a wide range of sustainability programs including green roofs and floating wetlands for stormwater retention; a co-generation plant to augment onsite solar renewable energy generation; and electric vehicle charging stations throughout.

The group left the project recharged by witnessing first-hand the sustainability efforts being implemented in the largest project in the nation’s capital city. Regular PREA attendees interested in joining the Sustainability and Technology Group are welcome - the PREA 2017 calendar reveals events in New York and Chicago present opportunities to learn from practitioners leading the real estate market. Click here for more information including how to contact the PREA Affinity Group of interest to you.