NAIOP DC: Marketing and Leasing Green Buildings

Dan Winters

Leasing brokers crowded the room at the Marketing and Leasing Green Buildings event hosted by the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks chapter in Washington DC. This event, sponsored by MetLife at their soon-to-be-renovated 555 12th Street in the heart of the CBD, featured DC’s most experienced tenant and landlord brokers when it comes to negotiating leases for green buildings.

Attendees gained significant perspective into the District’s green building marketplace which recently topped 100 million square feet of LEED certified space. Building upon the DC Green Building Act and the GSA’s sustainable design policy to prefer LEED certified buildings, competition among private market developers has made LEED Gold the market standard in the nation’s capital.

Jim Landau of MetLife brought together a panel of experts to focus attention on green building activity in the District of Columbia and Adam Sledd of the Institute for Market Transformation hosted the evening with an overview of the DC’s energy benchmarking efforts. My role was to kick-off our panel by providing context into the DC green building market drivers and signaling dynamics while emphasizing the importance of people in the real estate occupancy cost equation (see presentation here).

Next up was Laurie McMahon, DC’s leading green building landlord representative at Cassidy Turley, who reflected on a decade of market progress from her time leasing the National Association of Relators headquarters at 500 New Jersey Avenue [DC’s first LEED Gold building]. Her remarks centered on how market differentiation in Washington DC is more challenging due to the proliferation of LEED buildings, emphasized how owners can parse the LEED scorecard to highlight tenant health and productivity benefits, and provided lessons on green lease language to align economic incentives.

Sally Wilson, Executive Managing Director of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, has extensive experience representing tenants seeking green buildings. With clients including elite DC law firms such as Arnold and Porter (currently moving to a new 375,000 SF office targeting LEED Gold at 601 Massachusetts Avenue), Sally draws on a long history of tenant representation in green office buildings throughout North America. She observed how large and sophisticated landlords have raised the level of knowledge on sustainability topics, serving to help her clients achieve greater progress toward sustainability goals.

Closing the session was Jeff Lesk, Managing Partner at Nixon Peabody, whose law firm recently completed a new office lease with Brookfield Properties at 799 Ninth Street. Jeff provided insight into Nixon Peabody’s objectives for their new location including attributes aligned with health and wellness that played a significant factor into their building selection.

As the largest association of real estate developers, NAIOP serves the real estate development industry with educational events on critical topics. NAIOP recognizes leading development firms through the NAIOP Sustainable Development Award given annually to a member company that exemplifies innovation, efficiency, and quality in sustainable development.   You can access NAIOP’s green building case studies, awards, and other resources here.


Dan Winters
Dan Winters is GRESB's Head of North America

Related resources and references

Workspaces That Move People  HBR