Money & Business

Friday Buzz: Analyzing the Real-Estate Market

By / Jul 24, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Looking for a new office in DC? A recent report on the city’s real-estate market could offer a good starting point for your search. Also: The ups and downs of certifications at events.

You may look at stories like this one and wonder to yourself whether your organization can afford to make a real estate move of its own.

If you suddenly feel a desire to start crunching the numbers, a new report from the real estate services firm Savills Studley [PDF] could prove a fascinating starting point. The report, focused on the Washington, DC region, highlights the neighborhoods where you’ll be able to find office space, and at what price.

The study finds that the Washington area’s real estate space in general sells for around $49.79 per square foot, a bit above the U.S. average of $31.81 per square foot. (It varies by the neighborhood; Capitol Hill space costs a lot more than what you’ll find in Northern Virginia.) But with landlords working to keep tenants happy, associations stand to benefit by agreeing to early renewals or restructuring their lease agreements. That might lead some to move: The report notes, in fact, that associations and nonprofits have leased around 1.1 million square feet during the first six months of the year—the highest level since 2011.

Groups such as the New America Foundation and the Edison Electric Institute are among those taking advantage of the real estate market in finding larger new spaces.

“Demand for space remains sluggish as organizations across the board are getting more efficient and taking less space,” the firm’s Tom Fulcher noted in a statement to Associations Now. “This is creating opportunities for nonprofits and association tenants to reduce real estate costs. Because landlords aren’t seeing this ending anytime soon, they are more willing than ever to have early restructure discussions to keep their buildings leased over the long term rather than hoping to renew tenants later at rates that might not be higher than they are now.”

A Certification Conversation

Are certifications at events really worth it? It’s a debate that’s heating up among meetings-world bloggers.

On Thursday, Velvet Chainsaw Consulting’s Jeff Hurt ponders whether relying on certification systems might be hurting education offerings at events:

Much of our conference education programming is built upon proliferating a similar elitist system—industry designations and certification. By default, we deny industry professionals access to certified-approved courses unless they are willing to pay. We then encourage the collection of continuing education units to meet standards, all for a fee of course. Next, we require payment for the attendees to take a stringent knowledge-based test, regardless if they pass it or not. Finally, we make them pay a fee every two to five years to keep that certification. We’ve created elitist customers, an exclusive clique, instead of trying to help the entire industry progress.

MeetingsNet‘s Sue Pelletier, riffing off of Hurt, has some thoughts of her own on the matter, analyzing both the pros and cons of the setup.

“I understand why the system is the way it is—after all, it costs money to set up, maintain, and administrate these programs,” she writes. “And while they may be big money-makers for some organizations, many I’ve spoken with about it over the years say it’s break-even at best. So why do we do it?”

Check out Pelletier’s thoughts on the matter, which will definitely get you looking big-picture at a sacred cow of the events industry.

Other Links of Note

Noticing a big change in your search queries these days? Blame Google. The company just launched a change to its search engine algorithms that’s affecting traffic on a number of sites.

If you’re sick of hearing about millennials, join the club. CMS Wire‘s Noreen Seebacher is a founding member .

Here’s an email tool for the paranoid: Dmail, a Chrome extension for Gmail, lets you make self-destructing emails. No, really.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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